Aektare's Reviews > Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right

Pity the Billionaire by Thomas Frank
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's review
Apr 09, 2012

really liked it
Read in April, 2012

This is an enjoyable read full of snark but it's a book set firmly in the Liberal Hand-Wringing genre and therefore unlikely to convince anyone on the Right of anything. I've read enough of these that after a while the thrill starts to wear off. How many times can one pat oneself on the back with smug satisfaction for being smarter than a gaggle of noisy obese halfwits in teabag adorned tri-cornered hats before starting to feel as if one is booing at The Special Olympics?

When Thomas Frank wrote "What's the matter with Kansas?" back in 2004, I was in the front pew with my eyes closed and arms raised skyward, swaying gently to the sweet music along with the rest of the choir. Now I'm in the back row checking my watch. There's nothing new here. According to Frank, the New Right leadership has pulled a switch-a-roo on the American people by appropriating the rhetoric and propaganda methods of the 1930s labor movement to aim their rancor at the one entity which,despite its faults,still has to listen and cater to them because it needs their votes. The ringleaders of this new virulent conservative movement have convinced people to gather en masse at corporate-sponsored rallies, waive their McFillet grease-stained pocket Constitutions and demand a Darwinian winner-takes-all form of pure Capitalism which will finally crush them for good. Egged on by the super-wealthy and fairly wealthy small business owners, the populist fervor in the Tea Party is fueled by the belief that the evil government and its rules are all that stand in the way of the average Joe and his 250K/year plumbing operation.

The fact that hordes of self-styled 'freedom loving patriots' and 'entrepreneurs' spend their weekends demanding raises for their bosses attests to the absolute failure of the Left to provide any context, explanation or philosophical alternative to the reasons behind the economic crisis. Frank is quite lucid when he states that we got Clinton The Sequel, when Obama should have been The Return of FDR: He's Back And This Time He's Pissed!! As a result, our President and his gang of technocrats failed miserably to connect with those most hurt by the recession, who in their bewilderment ran off into the embrace of the likes of Rush Limbaugh/Glenn Beck/Roger Ailes and are now nestling in the warmth of their puffy man tits for comfort and validation.

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