"Does Thomas Frank Have a Clue?; Who is Wrecking America?
by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Does the liberal-left have a clue? I sometimes think not.
In his book, “What’s the Matter With Kansas?,” Thomas Frank made the excellent point that the Karl Rove Republicans take advantage of ordinary’s people’s frustrations and resentments to lead them into voting against their best interest.
Frank’s new book, “The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule,” lacks the insight that distinguished his previous book. Why does Frank think that conservatives or liberals rule?
Neither rule. America is ruled by organized interest groups with money to elect candidates who serve their interests. Frank’s book does not even mention the Israel Lobby, which bleeds Americans for the sake of Israeli territorial expansion. Check the index. Israel is not there.
Does Frank think that rapture evangelicals are conservative, that Christian Zionists are conservative? If so, where did he learn his theology?
Frank can’t tell the difference between Ronald Reagan and Cheney/Bush. He conflates the collection of opportunists and fanatics that comprise the Bush Party with the Reagan conservatives who ended stagflation and the cold war. The adventurer, Jack Abramoff, is Frank’s epitome of a conservative. Abramoff is the most mentioned person in Frank’s story. In Frank’s view, conservatives are out to ruin everyone except the rich.
But it was the Clinton administration that rigged the Consumer Price Index in order to cheat retired people out of their Social Security cost of living increases.
It was the Clinton administration that vanished discouraged workers from the unemployment rolls.
It was the Clinton administration that wrecked “effective government” by encouraging early civil service retirements in order to make way for quota hires.
Why doesn’t Frank know that the “Reagan deficit” was due to the collapse of inflation below the forecast, thus reducing the flow of inflated revenues into the government’s budget, whereas the Bush deficit is a result of what Nobel Democrat economist Joe Stiglitz has calculated to be a $3 trillion dollar war in the Middle East?
Frank doesn’t want to know. Like so many fighting ideological battles, he just wants to damn “the enemy.”
But who is Frank’s enemy? He calls them “conservatives.” But the Bush regime is a neoconservative regime. Neoconservatives, despite the name, are not conservatives. They have taken over formerly conservative publications, think tanks, and foundations and driven out the conservatives.
Neoconservatives are in the tradition of the French Jacobins of the 18th century. Having had the French Revolution, the revolutionaries thought that they should take it to all of Europe. Napoleon exercised French hegemony over Europe. The American neocons desire American hegemony over the world.
The true American conservative does not believe in foreign wars. In US history, conservatives were derided by liberals as “isolationists.”
There is nothing conservative about launching wars of aggression on the basis of lies and deception in order to control the direction of oil pipelines and to enhance Israeli territorial expansion.
Frank misses all of this.
And what a pity that is. A false conservative-liberal fight distracts attention from the growing police state that is destroying civil liberties for all Americans. It obscures the real motives of policies in behalf of special interests that are leading to nuclear confrontation with Russia and China.
What is wrecking America is not conservatives, but a neoconservative ideology of US hegemony.
What is wrecking America is the “impeachment-is-off-the-table” twins, Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers.
What is wrecking America is the Democratic Party, which was put in control of the House and Senate in the 2006 congressional elections to stop the gratuitous wars and gestapo police, but, instead, has continued to cooperate with the Cheney/Bush regime in behalf of war and police repression, such as we witnessed at the Republican National Convention.
Frank’s book, “The Wrecking Crew” falls into the scapegoat category of blaming the innocent and irrelevant. The Democrat Party could impeach Cheney/Bush and cut off funding for the wars and corrupt military contracts. But they do nothing and get a free pass from Frank.
“The Wrecking Crew” does have one virtue. Frank shows that the Republicans have spawned a new generation of brownshirts that lust to imprison, torture, and kill people. These ignorant bloodthirsty thugs see enemies everywhere and fervently desire to nuke them all. The Republican brownshirts are equally willing to kill American critics of the Bush regime as to kill Taliban and al Qaeda.
The latest “enemy” is Russia. The Bush regime, complicit in its Georgian puppet’s war crimes against South Ossetia, is attempting to hide its responsibility for ethnic cleansing by demonizing Russia. With every threat the Bush regime issues against Russia, the war drums beat louder. Yet, the print and TV media and Democratic Party have jumped on the war wagon.
The rapture evangelicals and the neocons are euphoric at the prospect of nuclear war.
Frank’s misguided barrage at conservatives, who are a brake on war and the police state, hastens end times.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.