14 April 2008

Who Wants to be an Elitist; or, What's the Matter With Clinton?

The most despicable thing about Senator Clinton's current crusade against Senator Obama's "bitter" remarks is that she's playing by the Republican rulebook. She's practicing the faux-populism perfected by the GOP over the past quarter-century and anticipated by the George Wallace campaigns of the 60s and 70s. Wallace pitted himself against "pointy-headed intellectuals" who dared pass judgement on the customs of the common folk, including segregation. Hoping to inherit Wallace's base, Republicans evolved the so-called "Southern Strategy," part of which was to rail against "elites" who were oppressing ordinary people. These "elites" were invariably intellectuals, Ivy Leaguers, people who were portrayed as looking down their noses contemptuously at blue-collar America, who dared tell other people "how to live." Somehow the GOP convinced large numbers of voters that this "elite" was the problem with America at the exact time when the economy began its long slide from postwar prosperity to the current crisis. And while the multinationals stripped away the country's manufacturing base and began to outsource our vaunted service sector, Republicans and their talk-radio mouthpieces continued warning folks against the pseudo-elite as if freethinking and alternative lifestyles lost us our jobs. The fact is, any talk about a "cultural elite" or "intellectual elite" oppressing ordinary Americans that identifies the alleged offenders as "elitists" serves only to confirm the fake worldview, the big lie that Republicans have been pushing for decades. The other fact is, that's what Senator Clinton is doing in all her robotic hypocrisy. It proves Obama right, of course; Hillary represents the politics of the past -- the Republican past.

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