"I can't believe that the Republicans could select a small-town hick like that as candidate for vice-President !"I try to avoid politics with Susan's family, but I rose to it and pointed out with some force that not so very long ago, the Left used to have something of a bias in favour of ordinary people. What happened to it ?
Via Harry's Place via David Duff, this from Clive Crook at the FT :
It's an old theme (excellent linked piece despite the left perspective) - that metropolitan liberal Democrats are increasingly unable to connect with blue-collar America - but the good news for the Republicans is that, even with the economy heading South and the population of Mexico heading North (something John McCain is quite easy about), with GW Bush so unpopular that the Republicans are effectively campaigning without him - even with all these things, Democrats are unable to conceal their distaste for the US electorate on whose votes they depend. As Crook says :
Democrats speak up for the less prosperous; they have well-intentioned policies to help them; they are disturbed by inequality, and want to do something about it. Their concern is real and admirable. The trouble is, they lack respect for the objects of their solicitude. Their sympathy comes mixed with disdain, and even contempt.
Democrats regard their policies as self-evidently in the interests of the US working and middle classes. Yet those wide segments of US society keep helping to elect Republican presidents. How is one to account for this? Are those people idiots? Frankly, yes – or so many liberals are driven to conclude. Either that or bigots, clinging to guns, God and white supremacy; or else pathetic dupes, ever at the disposal of Republican strategists. If they only had the brains to vote in their interests, Democrats think, the party would never be out of power. But again and again, the Republicans tell their lies, and those stupid damned voters buy it.
It is an attitude that a good part of the US media share. The country has conservative media (Fox News, talk radio) as well as liberal media (most of the rest). Curiously, whereas the conservative media know they are conservative, much of the liberal media believe themselves to be neutral.
Their constant support for Democratic views has nothing to do with bias, in their minds, but reflects the fact that Democrats just happen to be right about everything. The result is the same: for much of the media, the fact that Republicans keep winning can only be due to the backwardness of much of the country.Because it was so unexpected, Sarah Palin’s nomination for the vice-presidency jolted these attitudes to the surface. Ms Palin is a small-town American. It is said that she has only recently acquired a passport. Her husband is a fisherman and production worker. She represents a great slice of the country that the Democrats say they care about – yet her selection induced an apoplectic fit.
For days, the derision poured down from Democratic party talking heads and much of the media too. The idea that “this woman” might be vice-president or even president was literally incomprehensible. The popular liberal comedian Bill Maher, whose act is an endless sneer at the Republican party, noted that John McCain’s case for the presidency was that only he was capable of standing between the US and its enemies, but that should he die he had chosen “this stewardess” to take over. This joke was not – or not only – a complaint about lack of experience. It was also an expression of class disgust. I give Mr Maher credit for daring to say what many Democrats would only insinuate.
The problem in my view is less Mr Obama and more the attitudes of the claque of official and unofficial supporters that surrounds him. The prevailing liberal mindset is what makes the criticisms of Mr Obama’s distance from working Americans stick.I don't think they can do it. I honestly don't (I don't think Nick Cohen does either - another great piece). When Bush won in 2004 there was an explosion of 'how could they be so stupid' stories in the liberal media on both sides of the Atlantic, but at least they could blame Osama bin Laden for playing General Galtieri to Bush's Thatcher. If McCain wins expect the gnashing of teeth to be heard around the globe.
If only the Democrats could contain their sense of entitlement to govern in a rational world, and their consequent distaste for wide swathes of the US electorate, they might gain the unshakeable grip on power they feel they deserve. Winning elections would certainly be easier – and Republicans would have to address themselves more seriously to economic insecurity. But the fathomless cultural complacency of the metropolitan liberal rules this out.
The attitude that expressed itself in response to the Palin nomination is the best weapon in the Republican armoury. Rely on the Democrats to keep it primed. You just have to laugh.
The Palin nomination could still misfire for Mr McCain, but the liberal reaction has made it a huge success so far. To avoid endlessly repeating this mistake, Democrats need to learn some respect.
It will be hard. They will have to develop some regard for the values that the middle of the country expresses when it votes Republican. Religion. Unembarrassed flag-waving patriotism. Freedom to succeed or fail through one’s own efforts. Refusal to be pitied, bossed around or talked down to. And all those other laughable redneck notions that made the United States what it is.