sticking it to those damn Liberal "coastal elites".
In the past, such was the Big Magic to be found in bashing the Liberal coastal elites that it could simultaneously make the Scintilla from Wasilla wealthy and give David Brooks something to tsk-tsk Centristly over:
From the grandest of Conservative enterprises (reanimating the corpse of Richard Nixon's dead career or providing the cemtral pillar for entire American Conservative movement) to the smallest dab of Centrist editorial spackle (giving Mark Halperin something to gush about between trips down to the Piggly Wiggly to buy peppermint foot lotion for John McCain) --...
But over the past few decades, the Republican Party has driven away people who live in cities, in highly educated regions and on the coasts. This expulsion has had many causes. But the big one is this: Republican political tacticians decided to mobilize their coalition with a form of social class warfare. Democrats kept nominating coastal pointy-heads like Michael Dukakis so Republicans attacked coastal pointy-heads.
Over the past 15 years, the same argument has been heard from a thousand politicians and a hundred television and talk-radio jocks. The nation is divided between the wholesome Joe Sixpacks in the heartland and the oversophisticated, overeducated, oversecularized denizens of the coasts.
What had been a disdain for liberal intellectuals slipped into a disdain for the educated class as a whole. The liberals had coastal condescension, so the conservatives developed their own anti-elitism, with mirror-image categories and mirror-image resentments, but with the same corrosive effect.
This year could have changed things. The G.O.P. had three urbane presidential candidates. But the class-warfare clichés took control. Rudy Giuliani disdained cosmopolitans at the Republican convention. Mitt Romney gave a speech attacking “eastern elites.” (Mitt Romney!) John McCain picked Sarah Palin.Palin is smart, politically skilled, courageous and likable. Her convention and debate performances were impressive. But no American politician plays the class-warfare card as constantly as Palin. Nobody so relentlessly divides the world between the “normal Joe Sixpack American” and the coastal elite.
FROM: Mark Halperin
TO: Coastal Elites, the Media and Establishment Politicians of Both Parties
RE: Sarah Heath Palin
-- the mob-whipping potency of screeds against Liberal coastal elites is undeniable.Don't underestimate Sarah Palin. Yes, she is hyper-polarizing: she sends her fans into rapture and drives her detractors stark raving mad. But she can dominate the news cycle with a single tweet and generate three days of coverage with a single speech (as she did this past Friday in Iowa). Her name recognition is universal.You are right to complain that she is not offering specific policy proposals and that her inaccessibility to media outlets other than the one that pays her — Fox News — puts her beyond the kind of scrutiny and accountability we have come to expect for our leaders.But the mistake you are making is to assume that Palin needs or wants to play by the standard rules of American politics. Or that it even occurs to her to do so...
It gives the Breitbart Collective something on which to glut itself.
It has given Andrew Sullivan a shot at immortality:One of the lasting legacies of the Tea Party protests is how that movement finally and forever exposed the utter contempt and loathing coastal elites harbor for everyday Americans.
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.And now it is Mr. Greenwald's turn to turn that well-turned phrase:
What Obama has specialized in from the beginning of his presidency is putting pretty packaging on ugly and discredited policies. The cosmopolitan, intellectualized flavor of his advocacy makes coastal elites and blue state progressives instinctively confident in the Goodness of whatever he's selling, much as George W. Bush's swaggering, evangelical cowboy routine did for red state conservatives.
I guess I don't get out enough. Because while Mr. Greenwald lays claim to special insight into the instincts of "coastal elites and blue state progressives", I personally don't know anyone who has said they believe or accept President Obama's speech holus-bolus. Nor do I know anyone (including me) who has not been bitterly disappointed at one point or another -- or frequently -- by some backslide or fuckup or sellout or egregiously stupid, one-sided attempt to "compromise" with one more olive branch extended to a clutch of fanatics who cheerfully use olive branches to torch bridges, immolate budget agreements and otherwise burn any attempt at comity to the fucking ground.
Of course, my knowledge of Liberals is meager, confined as it is to actual people living in the real world. As such, I cannot hope to match Mr, Greenwald's apparently vast and comprehensive Palinite expertise on the subject of the secret motives of unnamed "coastal elites and blue state progressives". So speaking only for myself, I would certainly welcome any post-Obama speech editorial which counselled skepticism and a need for measurable outcomes as wise and appropriate.
But of course limiting an editorial to justifiable skepticism and a demand for tangible verification would also be so boring!
Such a piece of work would in no way help Mr. Greenwald further his corollary goals of shitting on Progressives whenever possible (even if doing so means leaning hard on such pillars of dispassionate credibility as Ross Douthat, who, for the record, doesn't actually manage to conjure up any actual Liberals who accept President Obama's speech in toto on which to hang his critique either) --
Obama may do things you progressives find distasteful, but at least marvel at how thoughtful and torn up he is about it all. The New York Times' Ross Douthat had quite a good column this week about this preening pageantry.and burnishing his "Worse Than Bush" thesis:
But I suppose you go to war with the sniveling Obot caricatures you have now, not the sniveling Obot caricature you might want or wish to have at a later time.No progressive wants to believe that they placed such great trust and adoration in a political figure who is increasingly being depicted as some sort of warped progeny of Richard Nixon and Dick Cheney.
In any event, as Mr. Greenwald works his way though the lexicon of editorial contempt, I can hardly wait until he hauls the word "luxuriating" out of his arsenal.
I wonder if it will read anything like this?
In certain circles, it is not only important what opinion you hold, but how you hold it. It is important to be seen dancing with complexity, sliding among shades of gray. Any poor rube can come to a simple conclusion -- that
President Saddam Hussein is a menace who must be disarmedPresident Barack Obama is a monster who must be brought down -- but the refined ratiocinators want to be seen luxuriating amid the difficulties, donning the jewels of nuance, even to the point of self-paralysis…