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Posted by on Feb 8, 2010 in Politics | 29 comments

To paraphrase Gordon Gekko, elitism is good.

There was one thing that surprised me about this past weekend’s “news coverage” – it’s not that the Tea Party Convention was covered but the fact that it was covered seriously.

I would even go as far as to say that I was shocked …wait that’s too far… mystified to find that reputable news outlets were giving serious discussion and analysis to Tom Tancredo opening speech (and the entire convention for that matter). What I would describe shocking is reputable and respected news outlets describing Tancredo’s speech as anything but racist, dangerous and as American as the Malawian born Englishman writing this article.

Furthermore, what stuck out at me from the overwhelmingly thinly veiled soup of hatred for anything slightly tanned is the loathing of people who have done well for themselves in life. Now I know that this may sound confusing, it confused me for awhile, but the same group of people who profess to be standing up for American values (working hard, providing for your family, making a good honest living, picking yourself up by the bootstraps) hate those very same people who fit that mold if they happen to be non-white, Democrat, pro-choice Republicans or gay…Oh, and Muslim. What’s the code word they use for anyone that falls under any aforementioned categories? Elitist(s).

Well to paraphrase the fictional republican Gordon Gekko (just guessing- he was a banker, shunned banking laws and restrictions and he looked like he hated taxes) – Elitism is good.

If your parents (grandparents or guardians) scraped all the money they had and managed to get you through an Ivy League education and you managed to work yourself up from the gutter politics of Chicago to become the President of the United States, and you are still described as an elitist? Well then, elitism is good.

No? Well what about if you were born into a famous dynastical family from the great red state of Connecticut and every step in your life from your education down to your career as, let’s say, the President of the United States had a monarchical feel to it, are you still described as an elite? No, you’re a Patriot.

The Conservatives are playing a very dangerous short term game, which if demographics are to be believed will not benefit them in the long term. Make no mistake about it, what the media coverage of this convention has made me realize is that this a coup for the heart and soul of the GOP. This is how they are choosing to define themselves in the Obama era, more hate, less inclusive and with no new ideas and funnily enough, the “media” is falling fall it.

It seems like I am living in a parallel universe where everyone has forgotten what happened the 8 years before the scary elitist guy with the name Hussein took the White House from the American people. I thought anti-intellectualism/anti- elitism was rejected in the 2008 elections? Is there anything wrong with having a President who is actually smarter than you? Heck is there anything wrong with having a President who is smarter than most people in the country?

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  • Axel Edgren

    America will be a good reminder to the rest of the world that democracy doesn’t equal meritocracy, and must therefore be limited effectively.

  • dduck12

    Heck is there anything wrong with having a President who is smarter than most people in the country?”

    Smart does not necessarily mean wise. Smart often makes common sense mistakes (see cash for clunkers, trial in NYC, HCR before jobs). Also. dumb, stupid, etc., the insults hurled at B don’t equate to wise either.

  • $1690528

    Nothing wrong with having a President who is smarter than I. Of course, there’s nothing per se right about it either. Leadership and vision are both different than IQ. Not that IQ doesn’t help, it sure does. But I know some very smart people who are bad leaders and some much less intelligent folks who are great leaders.

    My own view is the knock of elitism is well demonstrated in your post. The always implicit and sometimes explicit argument is “people who don’t agree with me are at best ignorant or misinformed, potentially stupid, or perhaps evil.”

    If you call people who disagree with you stupid (either implicitly or explicitly), you are likely to be perceived as an elitist, whether you are one or not.

    • dduck12

      If you call people who disagree with you stupid (either implicitly or explicitly), you are likely to be perceived as an elitist, whether you are one or not.”

      No one does that on TMV.

  • The GOP really has a profound ability to compartmentalize their philosophies to avoid mental tripwires. They imply we are a christian nation, but they are pro death penalty and anti-tax, things Christ was pretty explicit about. We are the most free nation on earth, but they want to slap more restrictions down on how people live and act than anyone other party. Immigrants are the bane of this country, when we are all immigrants and its actually one of our greatest strengths throughout history. The elitist one is one of my favorites. College educated and especially lawyers are demonized by them because when your catering to “real americans” its an easy potshot to take. Even when that potshot is made by an Ivy league lawyer like Ann Coulter about Ivy league lawyers. Educated views are more nuanced and don’t fit into 10 second sound bites, easy to rip apart with simplistic and unsupported views that do fit into 10 second sound bites.

    Just give up trying to make the kind of conservative represented by the Tea Party folks connect the dots. Give them a premise in line with their preconceived ideas and they don’t need any dots.

  • Leonidas

    A President can be more intelligent than most of the population without being elitist. Einstein was no snob. Elitism relates to attitude, not intellect.

    • dduck12

      relates to attitude, not intellect.”

      And Johnson was not touted as a genius, but he sure got things done.
      “A President’s hardest task is not to do what is right, but to know what is right.
      Lyndon B. Johnson.”

      • Axel Edgren

        Well he didn’t know the first thing about conducting the beginning of a war.

        LBJ got mixed results and was very incompetent at certain things. It’s just that in America image and projection is valued over content and substance, which is the main reason your country is so flawed and weakened.

        • dduck12

          which is the main reason your country is so flawed and weakened.”

          I was expecting to catch a whale with that one, but I guess a royalist is just as good. Yes, like many presidents, he had mixed results, but he knew how to accomplish things unlike your hero the Pied Piper of Chicago. I know all of your former leaders were perfect as are you. When are you moving to NZ, I’m sure the Maori will welcome you on their moderate blogs.

        • TheMagicalSkyFather

          Sorry but LBJ is possibly one of the greatest presidents American’s will never know. In short Civil Rights legislation would have never passed under JFK, first he did not have the guts and secondly it was not an issue he was passionate about. LBJ on the other hand was and so the nation finally began to put its money where its mouth was on liberty for all. He sacrificed his presidency on the fallacy of the domino theory of geopolitics and sadly toward the end of his presidency he realized it. He would not be remembered for civil rights, he would not be remembered for medicare/caid, instead burned into his tombstone would only read “hey LBJ how many kids did you kill today.” From my view in the realm of political theater it is one of the greatest tragedies of our country but you are free to disagree. If LBJ was incompetent it was not in moving forward legislation but only in not foreseeing Vietnam before we had our first Vietnam.

          • Schadenfreude_lives

            MagicalSky –

            LBJ is possibly one of the greatest presidents American’s will never know.

            You are correct. I, too, never had a high opinion of LBJ, until I visited his presidential library.

            I have visited a number through the years, and his is the only one that I have seen that is not a shrine to the man, but rather a no-holds barred look at his whole career – warts, failures, ballot stuffing, his fits of depression (he had to be literally dragged out of bed many times in the morning because he refused to get out and face the day), etc.

            And what shines through in the end is his humble beginnings, his true devotion to the poor and underprivileged, his willingness to sacrifice his career over Civil Rights (which likely would have brought him down at the time even without Vietnam), and his incredible skills at political infighting to get what he wanted.

            You don’t have to agree with his politics (I don’t as a whole) to admire who and what he was, and what he accomplished.

            And concerning Vietnam, people forget he wanted to pull out, but between the military lying to him about the situation and his advisers (who were complicit with the military) harping on not being the first President to lose a war, etc., he really felt trapped into the decisions he ultimately made.

            And those decisions, and the weight of the deaths they caused to American soldiers, destroyed him from within after he left office.

      • New Cat

        LBJ, whether you liked him or not, had loads of experience with Congress he knew how to get things done. I don’t mean this in a derogatory way just as a statement of fact. Obama lacks the experience to handle Congress as effectively as LBJ. Just having Rahm Emanuel doesn’t seem to be cutting it.

        • dduck12

          Just having Rahm Emanuel doesn’t seem to be cutting it.”

          Yup.

    • Don Quijote

      Elitism relates to attitude, not intellect.

      Bullsh*t!!!

      Elitism relates to being amongst the best at whatever it is that you do… And Einstein was a member of an elite… The best & smartest physicist of the twentieth century… Employed in an institution that went out of it’s way to hire the best & smartest scientist, engineers and scholars it could find… An ELITE INSTITUTION…

      You can be a member of the elite and an assh**e, it’s not that unusual…

      • Schadenfreude_lives

        Oh, I just can’t resist. 🙂

        You can be a member of the elite and an assh**e

        And as you have amply demonstrated time and again, you can be an assh**e while NOT being a member of the elite!

        • Don Quijote

          True enough…

          BTW fix your tags…

  • Schadenfreude_lives

    I can see you being shocked by the MSM coverage, particularly if you are of a Liberal/Left/Democratic mindset.

    This is the group of people that pretended nothing was going on when hundreds, then thousands, then even tens of thousands of people showed up. Then when they couldn’t ignore it any longer, the narrative became ‘astroturfing’. Now you are saying the new narrative is ‘racism.’

    Disgusting, really.

    And this is the same MSM that if 20 – 25 Code Pink/MoveOn.org people showed up to scream about Bush, would claim it another barometer of total hatred the entire country had for Bush and his policies.

    Well, except for the racists, who are now Tea Partiers.

  • Axel Edgren

    “I can see you being shocked by the MSM coverage, particularly if you are of a Liberal/Left/Democratic mindset.”

    No I’m not. The media never reacts to the hypocrisy, the partisanship or the the audacity of the lies and the childish anti-Obama screaming, which is completely unsurprising to me.

    “This is the group of people that pretended nothing was going on when hundreds, then thousands, then even tens of thousands of people showed up.”

    We reacted appropriately – we jeered at their “We can do civil stuff too!” aesthetic and their “You have to respect and listen to our drooling because we are salt-of-the-earth citissuns!” rationales.

    It doesn’t matter if there are tens of millions of people – consensus only has statistical value. If they desire stupid things, then you just try to find a way to avoid them somehow, or even cut them out of proceedings and ram things down their throat. The country is failing not because these people have been overlooked, but because they dominate society and influence it too much. It’s obvious their history of standing up to authority or demanding fiscal responsibility is pathetic – they are just ferocious anti-democrat bigots.

    They are acting as if Obama is like the pinnacle of some exclusively left-wing push for debt and government expansion that never benefits them. That kind of solipsism and pure greed is usually present in rabid vermin.
    53 % of Americans are so poor of mind that they can think homosexuality is immoral. A majority of Americans supported the invasion of Iraq despite the fact that a child could see it was a poor move. Do you want me to give you my opinion of the vox populi in general and the American vox populi in particular?

    “And this is the same MSM that if 20 – 25 Code Pink/MoveOn.org people showed up to scream about Bush, would claim it another barometer of total hatred the entire country had for Bush and his policies.”

    Actually, they gave less attention to the anti-war protests than the march of the bluehaired. So your martyrdom has an even more infantile basis than usual.

    • $1690528

      Cool Axel,

      I guess I should nominate you for philosopher king then. Particularly when you conclude that anyone who disagrees with you is simply stupid.

      Actually many of them are saying they don’t want the government to spend more even if it benefits them. That seems a not unreasonable point of view.

      I suspect we can infer your opinion of vox populi from your comment. If you think it’s different than the likely inference (people are stupid and should be led by the few of us who know better), please do enlighten us.

      I’m actually torn between thinking you believe what you post and thinking you are a very talented blog troll. I need more data

      • New Cat

        “I’m actually torn between thinking you believe what you post and thinking you are a very talented blog troll. I need more data”

        Maybe psy-ops I’ve wondered myself. Although his comments are amusing.

  • archangel

    Hi there
    Asking commenters to cool it on replying/requoting to those who seem to be wanting to hijack threads to off-topic parts unknown. TMV Admin has been watching the recent highjacking of threads deteriorate further into name-calling, insults and sarcasm that appear sole efforts to ‘try’ to get a rise out of other commenters. Those insults and snide challenges have nothing to do with the topic of the articles. They do not come even close to reciprocal debate or discussion.

    Commenters’ rules: Stay on topic. Trying to insult others is not acceptable. Read Commenter’s rules at top of Home page. Highjacking threads is not allowed.

    Thanks.
    dr.e
    deputy managing editor, TMV

    • Schadenfreude_lives

      Highjacking threads is not allowed.

      You mean like JS and I discussing how hard it is to play Yes songs? 🙂

      • archangel

        OT write a piece on yessongs, and I’ll likely run it. 500 words.

        dr.e

        • Schadenfreude_lives

          OT write a piece on yessongs, and I’ll likely run it. 500 words.

          dr.e

          You are very kind in your offer, but I doubt there is much interest at TMV for the technical intricacies of Yes songs, even if they have perhaps the most inter-weaved layers of complexity and composition, plus the highest overall level of musicianship, of any of the prog-rock bands.

          • archangel

            OT
            I know. That’s what they said about other giants too. But, if you change your mind, let me know. we have talked about accepting submissions of reviews of books, music, remembrances, appreciations.

            dr.e

  • Don Quijote

    We’re Weimar

    Future historians who try to chart the unraveling of the USA’s political tapestry might point to two events of the past week. The obvious first one was the Tea Party convention at Nashville. It was held not accidentally at the ridiculous Opryland Hotel and resort in the city’s outer suburban asteroid belt, right next to the circumferential freeway, and next door to the defunct (1997) Opryland USA theme park, an attraction based on the cute idea that Tennessee rubes were too dumb to spell the word opera — so the symbolism was perfect.
    Behind the incoherent cargo of conflicting complaints that makes up Tea Party doctrine — like “keeping the government’s hands off our medicare!” — stands the more basic dissolution of the Sunbelt’s miracle economy, along with the pain and bewilderment of the southern peckerwood political nexus that rose out of the dust after World War Two to build the suburban nirvana of universal air-conditioning, happy motoring, Jesus tub-thumping, over-eating, and Friday night football that defined Sunbelt culture.

    Of course this Sunbelt political culture has tentacles and outposts all over the USA, wherever a few generations of laboring folk enjoyed debt-fueled parabolic rises in living standards during the cheap oil decades, and now find themselves in foreclosure hell, indentured to the very WalMarts that they welcomed with open arms (and allowed to destroy their local businesses) — and, of course, it’s yet another paradox that these are the same folk who will still defend the big box masters to their deaths. The America they stand for is a weird contradictory mish-mash of Confederate nostalgia, hyper-individualism that really owes allegiance to nothing, racial enmity, religious paranoia, and potemkin patriotism — especially involving anything in the constitution that allows them to wriggle out of obligations to the public interest at the same time that they get to push other groups of people around.
    The Tea Party people are the corn-pone Nazis I have been warning you about.


    This brings me to the second telling event of last week when President Obama said, kind of off-hand, apropos of the US economic situation, “You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (of Nevada) was all over Mr. Obama like a cheap suit for that. I’m sorry that the President didn’t slam back the craven Mr. Reid and pull his upper lip over the top of his head. Fuck Las Vegas and fuck Nevada, and fuck all the casino operators in every pulsating gambling venue around this country. The last thing we need is to continue believing that it is possible to get something for nothing, or an industry based on that false principle. I’d go a lot further and shut down legalized gambling all over the USA, send it back to the margins, to the alleys, to the berm between the WalMart and the Target Store, to the basement boiler rooms, to the public bathrooms, to wherever it will be identified as indecent, shameful, and not healthy.
    Notice, by the way, that the Tea Party people have never made an issue about the disgusting gambling “industry” — not even the Jesus thumpers among them, for all their pretense about decency and propriety. I suppose this is precisely because a cardinal article of Tea Party faith is that it should be possible to get something for nothing. You should be entitled to collect social security even while you inveigh against the intrusion of big government into your life and the horrible prospect that it will get its mitts on your Medicare! And when Jeezus comes to take you home, that place will be just like Opryland USA was in its heyday, with Dolly Parton in every suite and all the pulled pork sandwiches under heaven’s dome….

    Now that’s a quality rant that gets two thumbs up…

    • New Cat

      Man I’m sure glad its only the Tea Partiers who are the haters.

      • Don Quijote

        Man I’m sure glad its only the Tea Partiers who are the haters.

        I don’t hate them, I fear them…

        They are the kind of ignorant jackasses that have been used by every right wing dictator to come to power…

        And I fear the people who are manipulating them even more….

        When’s the last time you have seen a speech to a few hundred activists from any political party other than the Dems and the Repugs being broadcast on FOX, MSNBC & CNN at the same time… Do you think they will do the same for the Greens when they have their convention?

  • DLS

    “I doubt there is much interest at TMV for the technical intricacies of Yes songs”

    Progressive rock — now that’s something “progressive” everyone on a higher plane can appreciate.

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