Sunday Bookchat

July 12, 2008

Thomas Frank’s 2004 book What’s the Matter With Kansas? was an expert demolition of the notion that the GOP is “the party of the people,” and a scathing examination of how conservatives have exploited stereotypes and distortions to get working-class people to vote against their own interests. Frank’s new book, The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule, due out next month, carries this argument forward by showing that the damage wrought by conservative doctrine is not a matter of incompetence, but the logical, predictable outcome of conservative doctrines.

Shakesville has some spicy-hot excerpts, like this:

Fantastic misgovernment is not an accident; nor is it the work of a few bad individuals. It is the consequence of triumph by a particular philosophy of government, by a movement that understands the liberal state as a perversion and considers the market the ideal nexus of human society. […] Its leaders laugh off the idea of the public interest as airy-fairy nonsense; they caution against bringing top-notch talent into government service; they declare war on public workers. […] The ruination they have wrought has been thorough; it has been a professional job.

In many ways, The Wrecking Crew sounds like a complementary work to Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, just out in a new paperback edition. One of Klein’s themes is the penchant of conservatives to use disasters like the flooding of New Orleans to force their pet nostrums on the victimized populace. In this video clip, Klein shows this approach at work in the way wingers have used rising oil prices as an excuse to push for drilling in ecologically sensitive areas:

Klein will appear on Crooks & Liars this Wednesday, July 16, for a live chat.

* * * * *

One of this year’s publishing success stories has been Vincent Bugliosi’s The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, which has been on the lower reaches of the NYT bestseller list despite a notable reluctance among mainstream venues to review or even take notice of it. The secret has been an under the radar promotion campaign using the Internet and extensive radio interviews. That and the fact that the book’s message — that Bush lied America into an unnecessary war and should be prosecuted for the damage he’s done to ths country — is howlingly obvious.

* * * * *

Right up there with Vogon poetry, it’s the verse of Mao Zedong! How does it compare with the romance novels of Saddam Hussein? Or the love poetry of Josef Stalin? Or the hot bestiality of Lewis “Scooter” Libby? Or the sizzling falafel action of Bill O’Reilly? Do we have the makings of a readers’ circle here, or what?

* * * * *

The New York Sun, a money-losing neocon rag, employs a jailbird to write a book review! Not only that — the jailbird is one of the paper’s backers! What will we tell the children?

* * * * *

Bidding farewell to writer Thomas M. Disch.


2 Responses to “Sunday Bookchat”

  1. matt Says:

    Pat Buchanan’s new book makes some great points but falls apart when he spins he tries to spin his antisemitism in to something he thinks people can digest. He poises him self in a position where you have to agree with him, but then drops a bomb in your lap. Nice tactics, but none the less futile. I suggest reading this book review on his new book.

  2. the daily plummet Says:

    nice selection. I’m long in awe of Thomas Frank, one of the best journalists we have. (By the way, it is encouraging to read his column in the otherwise neo-con movement soapbox WSJ editorial page.)

    thanks for sharing these clips.


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