Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas reminds me of my youth when I was involved with the Rose Bird reconfirmation election. That election was all about the death penalty, and eventually she was removed from office because she had never voted to uphold a death penalty case. This was not, of course, the reason that the power behind the campaign was against her. The Bird court was consistently on the side of individuals and small businesses going up against large corporations. In the end, the little people (the powerless) were manipulated to gleefully vote against their own self-interest in the name of an irrelevant issue. Because the governor at the time was Republican, California got an extremely conservative (pro-business, anti-individual) court.
What’s the matter with Kansas is the same thing that is the matter everywhere: people get confused about what their own interests are. And there is no end in sight. That’s why What’s the Matter with Kansas? is such a depressing read. However, Frank is very amusing as he paints this extended picture of humanity’s decline. Again and again, he writes variations of this sentence that sums up the whole book, “For decades Americans have experienced a populist uprising that only benefits the people it is supposed to be targeting.”
He is never so good as in the last chapter of the book:
What’s the Matter with Kansas? is an excellent book. But I can’t recommend it. It tells us what we already know in far more detail than we ever wanted.
 Two other justices were removed at the same time: Cruz Reynoso and Joseph Grodin.