If anyone should feel vindicated by the apparent collapse of market conservatism into a morass of corruption, indictment and general skulduggery, you'd think it'd be Thomas Frank. With the 2005 publication of What's the Matter With Kansas?, the highly praised author, newly minted Wall Street Journal columnist and Kansas-bred populist became a household name in conversations about the right's exploitation of faux cultural wars. In his new book, The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule, Frank moves beyond the theme of blue-collar workers ignoring their economic interests and explores how the cult of market privatization ruined decades of government progress.Hear Frank discuss his new book and the general political scene tonight at 7 at Unity Temple on the Plaza (707 West 47th Street). Frank tells The Pitch that he expects the culture wars to erupt again before this fall's election. "Look at the situation we're in now: What do the Republicans have to brag about? Nothing," he says. "The culture wars have lost some of their power because of economic concerns, but they'll be back."Frank says the right's most comically strange claim now is that true conservatism hasn't been given a chance. "They say Bush was an impostor and traitor to the movement. Like all puritanical movements, they'll keep saying that they've never been given a 100 percent chance," Frank says. "Even [ousted House Majority Leader] Tom DeLay says true conservatism hasn't been tried. That's pretty strange, since the guy had government at his feet." What's really needed, Frank says, is another Rooseveltian importation of "sharp and patriotic people" to Washington to rebuild government and boot out Bush-era incompetence and privatization. To see Frank, buy a copy of his new book from Rainy Day Books (2706 West 53rd Street in Fairway, 913-384-3126).
Fri., Aug. 22, 7 p.m., 2008