A Difference Without a Distinction

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Apr 21, 2008 4:59 PM
Thomas Frank, the author of "What's the Matter with Kansas," has a piece today in the Wall Street Journal titled "Obama's Touch of Class."

In it, he essentially argues that "The landmark political fact of our time is the replacement of our middle-class republic by a plutocracy. If some candidate has a scheme to reverse this trend, they've got my vote, whether they prefer Courvoisier or beer bongs spiked with cough syrup." 

In other words, he's not all about supporting elitist intellectuals -- he's about supporting left-wing redistributionists.  Get the distinction (or not!)?

Ultimately, my beef with Frank's theory -- that blue-collar workers are being distracted by the wedge issues purveyed by evil Republicans from voting in their own economic self-interest -- is as follows (as I first noted here):

But even to . . . agree that Barack was simply arguing that small town people aren't voting in their own best interests -- well, isn't that condescending, too?  Doesn't that imply that someone believes these people are too dumb to know what's really good for them?

And isn't it possible -- just possible -- that some Americans hold their social views very dear, and are willing to forgo the opportunity to vote for more government goodies because of their other beliefs?

After all, even if they vote against (what some consider to be) their economic self interest in order to promote their social views, isn't that what rich "tax me" liberals (like Kennedy, Kerry, and the Clintons, for that matter) do routinely? 

Or is it "principled" when rich social liberals do it, and "stupid" when poor social conservatives do?