The Brawler realizes he's buried the lead in some previous entries encouraging his 2.4 readers to see Tom Frank tonight at 7 at Schwartz's on Downer, where he'll be reading from his latest, The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule.
One last tidbit from the book, which captures the challenges ahead in cleaning up the mess the Republicans have made of the country over the past decade.
Throwing the rascals out is no longer enough. The problem is structural; it is inscribed on the map; it glows from the illuminated logos on the contractors' office buildings; it is built into the systems of governance themselves. A friend of mine summarized this concisely as we were lunching together in one of those restaurants where the suits and the soldiers get together. Sweeping his band so as to take on the fellow diners and all the contractors' offices beyond, he said, "So, you think all of this is just going to go away if Obama gets in?" This whole industry, this whole economy, all these profits.
He's right, of course; maybe even righter than he realized. A century ago, in the classic period of business government, an epidemic of public theft persisted despite a long string of reformers in the White House. Republicans and Democrats, each one promising to clean the palce up. Nothing worked, and for this simple reason: democracy cannot work when wealth is distributed as lopsidedly as theirs was -- and as ours is. The inevitable consquence of plutocracy, then and now, is bought government. As Justice Louis Brandeis said at the time, "We can have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of the few, but we can't have both." It is a bitter lesson that we will have to re-learn all over again.
The price of admission is buying a copy of the book (retail $25). The Brawler believes it's worth it -- but if that's too rich for your blood (if your portfolio took a beaing today!) -- go in with a friend as you get two admissions with one book purchase.