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February 18, 2010

Latest Lefty Meme: Sarah Palin is... an Elitist

This is a common practice of the left. Take the right's complaints about you and argue, ludicrously, that they actually apply more to the right itself.

The left, for example, decided that the right's complaints that they were weak-kneed and a bit squeamish about purposeful, effective violence actually demonstrated that the right was a bunch of panty-twisted pee-stained pussyboys. It became a treasured trope on the left that they, the left, constituted "the brave" because they were courageous enough to not be troubled at all by terrorism. While those on the right called out for their mommies (their mommies being the fighting men and women of the US armed forces).

And now, as Sarah Palin as been riding the anti-elitist horse for a while, it becomes the new stupid meme that it's really Sarah Palin who's the elitist. Google it! Notice they have no problem at all abandoning their previous trope (elitism is good and only an imbecile would argue differently) and sliding into the complete opposite notion (Sarah Palin is the real elistist; the lefties are in fact... I don't know, the Common Man being grinded down under her chic heel).

“I’m never going to pretend like I know more than the next person,” [Sarah Palin] recently told Chris Wallace, which is just as well.

That snide little aside, I remind you, appears in a column arguing that Sarah Palin is the real elitist here.

And she added: “I’m not going to pretend to be an elitist. In fact, I’m going to fight the elitist, because for too often and for too long now, I think the elitists have tried to make people like me and people in the heartland of America feel like we just don’t get it.” At the Tea Party convention in Nashville, Palin made a similar claim for the moral superiority of ordinariness, twangily championing “real people, not politicos, not inside-the-Beltway professionals,” and “everyday Americans,” and finally “the people.” Palin is packaging herself as the perfect image of the American mean. It is an affront to the heartland.


The invocation of “the people” sounds inclusive, but it is a technique of exclusion. (This was also the case in the preamble to the Constitution.)

Just curious -- how so? Where's he getting that? I suppose he may mean "the people" excluded slaves, but the word "people" doesn't actually achieve that. "We the Free Men of the United States,or even "We the Citizens," would have that meaning; "We the People" simply does not.

Certainly the Constitution did differentiate between free men and slaves, but it did not do so with the term "the People," which actually undermines the later distinction made in the 3/5ths compromise.

But I guess we can forgive him his stupidity because he's currently posturing as a Common Man being abused by that wicked elitist Sarah Palin.

It is based upon a particular definition of “the people.” How do Palin and the partiers know who the real Americans are? The mystical certainty of her divisive intuition reminds me of what intellectual historians used to call the “epistemological privilege” of Marx’s proletariat, his reprehensible old idea that access to truth is a feature of class position. Palin, too, is idealizing the proletariat for the uniqueness of its understanding, though her economics is starkly indifferent to its tribulations. And if you throw in Palin’s views on the “social issues,” on the questions by which we measure the decency of our society, then it is clear that this is an anti-elitism that is not an egalitarianism, a common touch without genuine commonality, which is quite an accomplishment.

Um, so far she seems to be saying that "common people" are deserving of respect that the elites do not grant them, and this idiot is confirming all that.

Essentially this guy -- Leon Weisetilier of TNR -- is angry. He and his cronies have repeatedly insisted on the special privileges of what his buddy David Brooks proudly calls The Educated Class; Palin is refusing to extend that privilege to them, and he's whining about it, basically arguing that if he and his buddies are not given their special privilege to rule the plebians then Sarah Palin is being "elitist" by refusing to admit they are entitled to their asserted public-policy psuedo-intellectual droit de seigneur.

Um, like I said, he's posturing as a poor downtrodden member of the Harvard-Yale-Princeton axis, so I guess I'll permit him his stupidity.

There is also the rather immense hypocrisy of Palin and many other populists. Anyone who has run for the vice presidency, and has published a monster bestseller, and appears regularly on television, and will run for the presidency is a member in good standing of the American elite.

Ummmm... no. This is like saying that a nouveau riche arriviste is a member in good standing of the upper class. No, that guy is not, as amply demonstrated by the two slurs the Old Money class has created to put him down, "nouveau riche" and "arriviste."

The whole point is that while such a person would seem to have attained the key thing to afford him entry into that class and make him a "member in good standing" of that class, the old members of it resent his intrusion into it and come up with exclusionary put-downs to hedge him out.

And he's sitting here telling us that Sarah Palin -- Sarah Palin!, of all people -- is supposedly a "member in good standing" of the elite class, even though he, and 98% of the other members of the self-professed elite, have done nothing but belittle and savage her for two years running now.

But she's a member in good standing.

Of course she is, darling.

Is he really trying to pretend he doesn't know that blue-collar kids who make some money aren't routinely excluded and derided by their supposed social betters?

Even lesser attainments of prominence and success confer the same loathed status. The anti-elitists in the Republican caucus in the House and the Senate, and in the conservative commentariat, and in the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute--they are anti-elitists in the elite.

Um, yeah. Well, Andrew Jackson was kind of elite himself, wasn't he?, and yet he is generally considered the last of the truly great populists and anti-elitists.

Look, this is very simple, Leon: Some people are class traitors, and that's what you resent. You see people like Palin and other class traitors, people who should be thanking you allowing them to breathe the same rarefied air you do, instead running you down, and it makes you angry.

Obviously a great many conservative intellectuals have benefited from an elite education. But they do not share the ethos and mores of the Harvard-Yale-Princeton axis, and that's what makes people like this so angry with them. Not only do they resist the blandishments of the Smug Set, they confound the nice simple narrative the Smug Set likes to deploy -- that everyone who disagrees with them is uncultured, uneducated, and unintelligent.

Scott Brown proved that nothing gets you to Washington faster than a pickup truck, but he will have a hideaway now. For years liberals used to be ridiculed for their condescension to “the people.”

And rightly so. Because his expression of how in-touch with "the people" he is consists of...

” (Like every common man I adore the scene in The Deer Hunter when Robert De Niro, John Cazale, Christopher Walken, and the others in the bar sing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” along with the jukebox, but when I saw it a few weeks ago it looked to me like a bunch of guys from Tribeca slumming in a Pennsylvania steel town.)

... watching a movie about "the poeple."

Now conservatives deserve the same ridicule. The comforting fact is that there is no significant ideology and no significant policy agenda that is not represented among the elite.

Represented among the elite, sure. "The elite" always has its share of eccentrics. (As they say, an "eccentric" is just a lunatic who has enough money to keep the agents of the loony bin away.)

But what is the dominant ethos of the self-professed elite? Is he really pretending there is not a very dominant left-liberal-progressive dominant ethos among those he terms "the elite"? (And by the way-- would this guy consider a man who'd attained the rank of Colonel at a young age "elite"? You're goddamned right he wouldn't. He means only people who fucking type for a living.)


There is a distinction between populism and “the people,” though most populists do not want you to know it. The populism that bases its criticisms on a preference for one segment of the populace is merely another special interest, its denunciations of special interests notwithstanding.

When a "special interest" is the around 10-33% of the electorate we generally stop calling it a "special interest." How "special" is an interest shared by 90 million people?

Incidentally, this is another borrowed meme, shabbily lifted from other lefty writers with no attempt at attribution. Robert Wright was just making the stupid case that the Tea Party -- consisting of 33 million people who have actively participated in Tea Parties, and tens of millions more who consider themselves such -- was just another "special interest."


Why not just deem the entirety of the GOP one great big special interest?

(And, to attribute this myself, Mickey Kaus already questioned Wright's curious assertion that a grassroots mass of 90 million people was a "special" interest, as opposed to, say, an "interest," period.)

This does not mean that its criticisms are wrong; but when they are right, it is because their reasons are moral, not sociological.

No one really argued otherwise, idiot. If the populists sound defensive and work hard to establish their wisdom, it's because people like you have denied their wisdom and even their right to speak publicly at all for 50 years; so yeah, when they speak publicly, they do feel the burden -- which you don't -- of first establishing they have the right to be heard at all.

Now, having attempted to call Sarah Palin an "elitist," he resorts to the standard elitist meme...


The anti-politician politicians who seek the favor of angry Americans are deceiving them, because anger is nothing more lasting than a political consultant’s contract. Emotions are stoked by elections and are spent by them. What remains after the great manipulation is the increasingly Sisyphean task of public reason, which is its own kind of insurgency.

It is a cherished trope of the elitists and the left (but I repeat myself) that the uncouth, uneducated subhumans they lord over only act out of dark emotion such as fear and hate and rage, while the elite left of course is thoughtful and reasoned.

What the hell would you call this screed? I call it 800 words of angry, defensive name-calling disguised, as it often is, in that carefully-contrived more-in-sorrow-than-anger pose of the hateful leftist elite always employs when they look down upon their rebellious slaves and shake their heads with practiced sadness. If only the slaves would realize their masters mean the very best for them, and are much better equipped to make decisions for them.

But you know -- Sarah Palin is the elitist.

The left likes to claim that every term the stupid morons use for Obama -- socialist, arrogant, etc. -- is a disguised racial slur. We really mean the n-word, it is always posited.

You tell me -- is this not an 800 word, tarted up manner of calling Sarah Palin an ungrateful, uppity c*nt?

Thanks to DanF.

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posted by Ace at 03:07 PM

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