April 7, 2016

When is a Campaign Book Not a Campaign Book?: Thomas Frank's "Listen Liberal"

The cover is still blurbing Frank for “What’s the matter with Kansas,” as if he hasn’t written other books since then, but I bet that is the one that keeps funding his lavish liberal lifestyle – wait, not liberal but something more than that. Lefter than that.


This was interesting for me to read since it is basically an anti-Hillary book, but it doesn’t mention the guy she’s running against for her party’s nomination. I just looked, and that guy (whatever his name is) isn’t even listed in the index. I’m not sure how conscious of a choice that was, but if she doesn’t win, this thing will be dated by mid-November of 2016. I have also been reading the complete works of the cartoonist Tom Tomorrow, and when I was reading this, I was reading his primary sources on the Clinton years. Which seems to be the springboard for her national exposure –as odd as that is. Seriously, New York elected her Senator when she’s owned a house there for six months. That’s democracy in action. Glad this meritocracy works. But the Tom Tomorrow cartoons really reminded me of the deficiencies of the Clinton years from a liberal perspective. I was in high school. I kept up on the news, but it was local papers, Time, and Newsweek, so there wasn’t much lefter-than-thou criticism that I was able to see. That’s rural boyhood for you.

I think the book does make the case against her, but for me I wasn’t ever really for her to begin with, more indifferent. I guess if the state is close and she’s the nominee I’ll vote for her, but it doesn’t excite me. I just hope someone captures the enthusiasm that has been generated by the campaign of the other guy (and makes all sorts of electoral reforms so we’re not hoping the Democratic Party will be the authors of our salvation.