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Monday, May 5, 2008

Elitism: I Do Not Think It Means What We Think It Means.

Why is it seemingly so easy for Democrats to be branded "elitist" by the corporate media? I mean, after all, George W. Bush famously said that the elite were his base while cameras were on. And it's very well-known, after almost eight years of the Worst President Ever, that Republican policies benefit no one but the rich and the very rich.

So why is KKKarl Rove laughing at us as the Democratic Party bigwigs seem to be on the verge of nominating Senator Barack Obama, a man who is already fitting into the elitist suit as if it's been personally tailored?

Well, here's one big problem. We Democrats don't seem to understand that elitism is not about money; it's about class and, to some extent, geographic location.

Every time one of our guys gets sucker-punched with this line of attack, we all whine about how the Republics are rich, too. Of course they are - they're usually far, far richer than the Democrat they're running against. (George W. Bush is from one of the wealthiest families in the country, for example. Al Gore was not even in the same universe in 2000.)

But here's what we don't get (and Bill and Hillary Clinton do). Republics know how to fake it. Why else do we think that George W. Bush, a Connecticut native, put on a Texas drawl and bought a ranch before running for President? He is afraid of horses, you know. Why else did Fred Thompson cruise around in a red pickup truck when running for Senate? Why did John McCain call his bus the "Straight Talk Express"?

Well, as a result of 30 years of right-wing propaganda, northeastern intellectual types are not wanted for President any more. They are elitist. They don't care about ordinary Americans. And it's not whether you are a northeastern intellectual type that matters (George W. Bush went to Yale and Harvard Business School). It's whether you can pretend that you're not. Republics do it by pretending they're dumb hicks. Bill Clinton does it by framing his ideas clearly, concisely and without unnecessary syllabification. And in my opinion, Hillary does it even better than Bill. That's why she is so deadly in a debate against Obama, who uses a lot of high-flown words to say...not a heck of a lot.

Like it or not, our Democratic Presidential nominees have not been good at ditching the elitist label since Bill Clinton was elected. Look at poor Al Gore. He was from Tennessee and far from monetarily endowed, yet he was successfully branded an elitist because couldn't make his arguments in a simple and concise manner. He didn't even win his home state! (Yes, believe me, I know he won the popular vote, but Big Al should have been able to beat the brain-damaged chimp with one frontal lobe tied behind his back. It should not have been close enough for a few thousand votes to matter.)

Unfortunately, Barack Obama is being branded an elitist, too. And it's working. Why else do you think Hillary is getting all those white working-class voters? No, it's not ignorance or racism. It's that he doesn't seem to care about the ordinary American. He has actually stated that Democrats in Ohio and Pennsylvania aren't voting for him because they're bitter and clinging to guns, religion, xenophobia and racism. He can't bowl. He belongs to the church of God D**n America. Are you kidding me with this guy?

Even worse, his campaign seems to be completely and utterly unprepared for any setbacks against them. They seem to expect a coronation (yes, that's elitist) rather than a tough primary fight. (Is this how they'll handle themselves in the GE? How incredibly unimpressive.) The explosive Reverend Wright issue has hurt Obama significantly, and the campaign hasn't defused it despite multiple attempts to do so. Meanwhile, Obama's enablers in Blogistan and the media world were screaming and whining for Hillary to quit before Pennsylvania, rather than trying to fix what was wrong with THEIR approach. (IACF, you know.) It didn't work, and now they're back on their heels, scrambling to make their case.

Meanwhile, Hillary looks tough, smart and approachable. As my hairdresser said to me, "I think it would be good to have a woman President. Hillary is a mother. A mother knows how to take care of her children." We will see how things go in Indiana and North Carolina tomorrow, but it appears that Obama's days of easy victories are gone.

Yes, the elitist label is deadly for Democrats. If Obama doesn't understand this soon (and his latest gaffe appears to show that he still doesn't), and the superdelegates pick him for the nomination, then we are looking at John McCain the Straight Talker versus the elitist Northeastern intellectual.

I'm not optimistic about that matchup. Are you?

1 comment:

sister of ye said...

I didn't see Al Gore in person in 2000. But I still subscribed to a couple of national magazines then and recall an article about Al Gore's personal appearances. According to those interviewed, Gore was personable and funny, not the wooden caricature the media portrayed. Included was the stop with the infamous "my mom sang me to sleep with Look For the Union Label" quote. The union guys got the joke, thought if funny and laughed.

Yet to this day on the "progressive" blogs you hear Gore ripped for his "bad campaign," even on the ones that focus on media distortion and should know better.

Al Gore, the guy who was incredibly funny on SNL. Who does Futurama movies. Who made a science lecture incredibly popular. Wooden and humorless? Yeah, like Hillary Clinton is a dragon lady. In other words - NOT.