Yesterday, Paul Krugman wrote about why it is that conservatives so hate Acela Express. Of course, it is all about culture. Geoff Nunberg gets it exactly right in the subtitle of his excellent book, Talking Right, “How Conservatives Turned Liberalism into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times-Reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-Loving, Left-Wing Freak Show.” As he discusses in the book, it turns out that conservatives drink more lattes, drive more Volvos, and eat more sushi.
How can the stereotype be so wrong? It’s simple. As I’ve been saying for a long time, while there are many rich people who are liberals, in general, the rich are conservative. It is true that conservatism is more associated with rural areas, but it is still the rich in those areas who dominate the political landscape. It is not the rural poor who make places like Mississippi the political hellscapes they are. But it wouldn’t be fun for Ann Coulter to write a book mocking the rural the poor. So the target is always the urban rich, who interestingly mostly agree with Coulter and her ilk regarding economic issues.
The Real America Myth
Krugman pushes back on this whole business of the Red States being the True America:
It’s interesting that he mentioned Mayberry. The typical conservative view of “real America” doesn’t come from American history. It comes from early 1960s TV series like The Andy Griffith Show and Leave It to Beaver. They somehow whisk away all the discord that America ever was. They’re more than interested in lionizing Thomas Paine, as Glenn Beck has done, without engaging with his ideas or recognizing what a hated figure the man was at his death. Their view of what America has always been is as cartoonish as their views of what liberals are.
We Are All Real America
The same goes for us liberals. We too often portray conservatives as know-nothing red necks. And I understand that this kind of thing can be fun. But in the long run, these people will be our allies. They are workers, after all. They need a living a wage. They can be the basis for new age of unionization. And we have much in common with them if we can just talk to them. Our true adversaries are the bankers. There is no talking to them except when they are on the verge of ruin and they need a bailout from us. Otherwise, they will fight us with everything they have (and that’s a lot) for every extra marginal dollar of profit. It isn’t that they are evil; it is just their nature:
Move Ahead — Together
People who must work for a living need to bind together. It is the only way forward.