In Why We’re Liberals, Eric Alterman attacks the conservative claim that liberals are “elitists.” He writes, “While unelite America is wonderful in every way, it’s just not a place where a Laura Ingraham or Rush Limbaugh or Bernard Goldberg or Ann Coulter or John Podhoretz or Newt Gingrich or Peggy Noonan and Andrew Sullivan or Michael Ledeen or David Brooks would ever choose to live.” It’s a great observation because conservatives have no shame about this kind of stuff. The book was written before the rise of Sarah Palin, but in what world would someone consider her just an ordinary American? In what world does an idiot nobody end up on the best seller’s list for any stupid book she “writes”?
But let’s go through and find out what these people have to say about liberal elitism. First: Laura Ingraham. On The View, she said, “People in this audience make this country great—not celebrity elites, not UN elites, not European elites and not business elites.” Ah yes, because we just want to pick some recent college ideologue to go create the Iraq stock exchange. Wait! We already did that! Incompetent governance rocks!
Where do we start with Rush Limbaugh? Maybe when he blamed the Boston Marathon bombing on liberal elite thought. Yep, that’s right! Those hoity-toity colleges in and around Boston do nothing but try to close down young minds and get them to accept fundamentalism. It’s a good thing we have Rush to keep free thinking alive with his army of ditto heads. Closed minded authoritarianism rocks!
Bernard Goldberg is a classic. One of his extremely sloppy books is, Bias, where he takes on the “liberal media.” In the book he writes such gems as, “Everybody to the right of Lenin is a ‘right-winger’ as far as media elites are concerned.” Basically, his complaint with the “liberal media” is that they didn’t treat him very well. He got in a tiff with Jon Stewart, after Stewart caught him saying, “This idea that that whole middle of the country is made up of sort of jerks—that’s a Democrat, that’s a liberal thing.” Afterward, he walked it back to say that he didn’t mean “liberals”; he meant “liberal elites.” The problem with this is that although liberals do take occasional swipes at the middle of the country, it is nothing like the constant conservative attacks on the coasts. Ignorance and stupidity rocks!
Ah, Ann Coulter, or as we like to think of her, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. Most recently she slammed that rich elite Jim Carrey for his Funny Or Die song “Cold Dead Hand.” This is from a woman who said that Clinton “masturbates in the sinks.” And that the backbone of the Democratic party is a “typical fat, implacable welfare recipient.” And “God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.'” And when anyone gets upset, her response is the same, “Liberals have no sense of humor.” But apparently she only has a sense of humor about what she says. Hypocrisy rocks!
As for John Podhoretz, let me just outsource it to Eric Alterman:
John Podhoretz, the son of neoconservatism’s second couple, Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter, who attended elite private schools and the University of Chicago before his father’s connections helped him secure jobs in the media empires of Sun Myung Moon and Rupert Murdoch, also professes to see America through rose-hued glasses. “Bush Red is a simpler place,” he explains, on the basis of a visit to Las Vegas. It’s a land “where people mourn the death of NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt, root lustily for their teams, go to church, and find comfort in old-fashioned verities.”
Do I have to even talk about Newt Gingrich? Here is a politician with a feel for the common man that rivals William F Buckley Jr. Here’s a man with a PhD from Tulane University. A man with a net worth of close to $10 million. He is an elitist on pretty much any scale you can define. Yet he’s always out fighting the liberal elitism. Two years ago he was defending oil company tax breaks from those liberal elites who want everyone to move to the city and ride the bus. Protecting the wealth of the rich in the name of freedom for the poor rocks!
Peggy Noonan went to Fairleigh Dickinson University, which US News and World Report ranks as the 69th best college in America. In other words, it’s an elite institution. She was Ronald Reagan’s speech writer. She’s a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. I don’t know what her net worth is, but I’m sure it’s in the millions. So you can see how closely aligned she is with the American middle class. When Obama was first running for president, this is what Noonan had to say about him and his wife:
Are the Obamas, at bottom, snobs? Do they understand America? Are they of it? Did anyone at their Ivy League universities school them in why one should love America? … Have they been, throughout their adulthood, so pampered and praised–so raised in the liberal cocoon–that they are essentially unaware of what and how normal Americans think?
I don’t know, but I’ll leave it to such a salt of the earth as her to decide. Disingenuousness rocks!
Andrew Sullivan is a hard one because now he is more or less a liberal. Of course, he’s still a bigot. I really don’t understand his popularity. But back in 2001, this Harvard PhD had the gall to write the following:
The middle part of the country—the great red zone that voted for Bush—is clearly ready for war. The decadent Left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead—and may well mount what amounts to a fifth column.
This is from a guest in our country. I think he should have been thrown out of the country. Rudeness rocks!
Michael Ledeen is another regular American with a PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Eric Alterman quotes him as bragging about a road trip “to Indianapolis for a Toby Keith concert, where [they] partied with something like 25,000 happy rednecks.” That was when he was 65 years old. A big partier he! He was so in tune with middle America that he thought that Toby Keith was a Republican. (Of course, Keith is an idiot and is probably a Republican today.) And there’s nothing that middle class Americans like so much as old PhDs calling them rednecks. Cluelessness rocks!
New York City native and University of Chicago graduate David Brooks knows what the folks stand for. And he’s very even handed. He knows that the conservatives dismiss all intellectuals as liberal intellectuals. But the liberals started it! Mostly, he’s just an apologist for all the stupid and creepy conservative policies. Here he is explaining how Bush Jr helped America know how to live, “People who are part of that culture tend to adopt the values of George W. Bush, regardless of the values they had in their old towns. These include order and neatness over disorder and dysfunction; achievement, sports, and competition; and a sense of responsibility and success.” A bunch of tired platitudes rocks!
Those who run our various social institutions are, by definition, elites. But it’s only the conservative movement that wraps itself in the mantle of every man. Both sides have their elites. But at least liberal elites have earned their statuses. Conservative elites have mostly been born into it.