Somewhere, over the rainbow, a blog is born. A blog for Kansas. A blog for America. A blog by a reporter with a difficult-to-pronounce last name. But most importantly, a blog that is AMERICA'S ONLY PLACE dedicated to the vital intersection of politics and Sunflowers. The Heartland gods nod in wise approval.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Ongoing discussions

Took time off from a story about obesity I'm working on to catch a panel at the Center for American Progress featuring Donna Brazile, E.J. Dionne, Thomas Frank and Will Marshall. It's looking like the Democrats have gotten over their post-election shell shock and can talk about political solutions in measured and reasoned ways.

But not everyone's enamored with Frank's thesis. He and Marshall, who heads the Progressive Policy Institute, got in a little dust-up during the Q&A, with Marshall deriding what he sees as Frank's theories on false-consciousness among Heartland voters (they're being tricked into voting against their interests!) and Frank rejoining that critics who charge him of being guilty of intellectual condescension are "anti-intellectual" themselves.

It's interesting to see Frank interact with a crowd. He provides a lot of red meat for the left, and his focus on economic populism is articulate and easy to understand. He easily got the most applause of the speakers. He also prompted a lot of under-the-breath murmuring. Several people in the audience nodded knowinly when Marshall, the last panelist to speak, noted that none of the previous three speakers even mentioned national security issues. It seems that some on the left are "getting" it, and others aren't. And the continued vigor of American politics is going to depend on which groups gain the upper hand. Too early to tell at this point.