Friday, September 10, 2010

What's the matter with Kansas, indeed?

Update - Slight error: I called Thomas Frank a UC Berkeley professor, which he actually is not. I was thinking of actual UC Berkeley professor, George Lakoff, a similar author who writes about similar themes. Other than that discrepancy, everything else in the post remains the same. After all, both are still raging leftists; that part I did get right!

Several years ago, a raging leftist UC Berkeley professor named Thomas Frank wrote a book called What's the Matter With Kansas? in which he wondered why the people of Kansas and other "flyover" states would want to vote for those evil conservatives and Republicans, which Frank saw as voting against your own self-interest.

I also want to ask what the matter is with Kansas, but on a different matter. I want to know how the voters of a so-called "red" state like Kansas could have possibly elected a leftist, statist, Democrat like Kathleen Sebelius as their governor. Luckily for the Jayhawker State, and not-so-luckily for the rest of the country, Sebelius was picked by President Obama to be the Secretary for Health and Human Services.

So how much of a statist are we talking here? Check this out:
President Barack Obama's top health official on Thursday warned the insurance industry that the administration won't tolerate blaming premium hikes on the new health overhaul law.

"There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a letter to the insurance lobby.

"Simply stated, we will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections," Sebelius said. She warned that bad actors may be excluded from new health insurance markets that will open in 2014 under the law. They'd lose out on a big pool of customers, as many as 30 million people nationwide....
Wow. Just, wow. Tell me again, what country am I living in?

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

1 comment:

padremambo said...

I don't think Thomas Frank ever taught at Berkeley. He edited a magazine call the Baffler and wrote longer articles for other magazines before writing for the WSJ. One of the reasons Mr. Frank is interesting is his contempt for identity politics and the intellectual class (while he does defend learning, reading, and intelligence).

Frank's view is a little more complex. He notes that the Democrats, the adult wing of the corporate party, don't have much of an interest in challenging corporations and don't provide any kind of plausible economic narrative to the middle class and poorer. He does have a theme that opportunistic politicians who get voted in based on values rarely deliver the goods while harming the economic interests of the people who voted them in.