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December 01, 2010

Meghan McCain: Sarah Palin Is Anti-Intellectual and Anti-Education For Using The Term "Blue Bloods"
PS: By The Way, I Had To Google The Meaning of "Blue Bloods" Because I Had Never Read This Extremely Common Term Before

Blue bloods = the aristocracy, my poor sweet dumb babboo.

Read on as she Googles the term... and still gets it wrong.

Welcome to the echo chamber! This week's (or possibly month's) latest rhetorical talking point is "blue bloods." And guess what? In the way it has been used I am probably considered one and so is the entire Bush family, not to mention countless others.

"In the way it has been used" she "probably" would be considered one.

In the way it has been used, as opposed to... the way it's otherwise used?

Dearie, it's only used in one way. It means aristocracy. Not new money, old money (and "old money" in America usually means somewhat new money, in comparison to old money in Europe).

And who else would deliver such a catchy media talking point than, yes, Sarah Palin.

Um, anyone who ever heard the term before, which is 98% of us.

The reference to "blue bloods" was made after former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara said in an interview that they thought Mitt Romney was essentially the man to watch in 2012, followed by an extra zinger from the notorious straight talking former first lady Barbara Bush who said she thinks "Sarah Palin should stay in Alaska." Sarah Palin responded on the Laura Ingraham radio show saying "of course they think that, the Bush's are blue bloods." I actually had to Google what the meaning of "blue bloods" was, although I could surmise that it was some kind of knock against education and coming from a family of some success. Yes, in essence that is what this statement meant.

No, that is not "in essence" what this statement meant. It has nothing to do with education (although the rich, of course, do send their kids to Ivy League schools or, lately, since Ivy League schools are harder to get into just based on cash-money background, into expensive private schools like Bennington. But that's an incident of wealth.)

The term means "old money aristocracy," period.

"Blue blood" has a variety of tones to it. Blue bloods think of it as a good term. Often it's used in a purely descriptive, neutral way -- people are objectively "blue bloods." Same as saying they're wealthy. Not really open to much debate.

And sometimes it's used derisively, as in "entitled little beer-empire princesses who supposedly go into Columbia based on nothing but academic potential (wink, wink) and yet never read a single book in which the very common term 'blue blood' was used."

What is that common put-down of Sarah Palin? Oh yes: "She doesn't know what she doesn't know." Meghan McCain obviously doesn't know what she doesn't know, or she'd be too embarrassed to note that she had to Google a term that is not only common, but is part of any educated (or semi-educated) person's active vocabulary.

This isn't some obscure term like, I don't know, petit bourgeoisie. (Which isn't all that obscure, either.) I mean: Come on.

The rap on "blue bloods" is that they rule by happenstance of lucky birth with little objective, personal qualification or merit or accomplishment to recommend them.

Sort of like an entitled beer empire princess who presumes to be a professional writer and political analyst but still has to Google terms from a seventh-grade vocabulary list.

Oh, but she's not done. She's still complaining about this term which she never heard before in her entire life.

Families that work hard and achieve a long line of successful people are "blue bloods" and thus, she implied the opinions of said people are jaded and elitist, even if that family lineage has a long history of public service and leadership within Republican Party.

Yes, Meghan, families that work hard and create a long line of successful wealthy descendants are "blue bloods." Note the distinction here: Your family -- that is, people not you -- worked hard and had success. They were successful, whereas you are merely rich.

But Meghan's not done.

Of course, Sarah Palin is also living the American dream, albeit a different one without the help of any kind of family lineage. She has a successful career that probably most Americans would want by earning millions for her reality show, appearances on Fox, and getting paid to go places and speak her mind. Both of these narratives exemplify why this country is still as Ronald Reagan famously put it "a shining city upon a hill." America is a place where people can create their own success so their children can have more opportunities than they did. Neither the Bush family's success nor Sarah Palin's are relevant to the political conversation regarding who is best suited to be the next GOP leader. Both stories are simply the American dream and taking issue with one kind of path towards success versus another is very dangerous. Lest we forget, Sarah Palin herself is now a multi-millionaire.

In this incoherent passage, this supposedly Columbia-educated paid professional author argues, I think, that "some people earn it themselves through their own sweat and toil, some people have it handed to them as an infant for no better reason than winning the birth lottery, who's to say which is a prouder tradition?"

Um, one doesn't have to be an anti-aristocratic extremist to say the former is better, Meghan. McCain here equates her own "success" and "accomplishment" -- which principally consists of, um, surviving the birthing process -- with Sarah Palin's.

I'm not a particular fan of Sarah Palin's anymore but, you know: F A I L.

Okay, one more thing: Meghan McCain is an idiot, and has had everything handed to her, and is such an idiot she never even realized there was a word for this. So, in other words, she just discovered, within the past week, that there is an entirely new (to her) personal insult that applies to her.

This of course accounts for her hysterical, defensive whining, and attempting to equate the accomplishments of J.P. Morgan with his great-grandson J.P. "Johnny Chugs" Morgan, one man who built a banking empire, and one man who knows all the rules to Mexican.

So this is all very personal to her.

Will she admit that? No, of course not, she has to claim her hysterical ignorance is all in the service of country or something.

I take particular issue with the "blue blood" rhetoric because in case Republicans haven't realized, we are still losing a public relations battle. Instead of sitting around and opining about who is too much of an elitist or a "blue blood" within our own party, our leaders need to start educating this country about the shortcomings of the Obama administration and why smaller government is a fundamentally more effective way of governing.

Right, you're screaming like an infant because you're worried that this exciting neologism "blue blood" may distract from the effort to thwart Obama. Okay.

By the way, for what it's worth: I know playing the "elitist" card (and the "blue blood" variation) is like catnip to some people, and it explains everything (that is, politics is for some less about specific policy outcomes and more about a generalized assertion of primacy over the "elite"), but I'm really tired of it myself, and am especially tired of Sarah Palin's use of it to explain practically everything, and explain away every knock on her.

That is, every knock on her is dismissed as "elitist" impulse, which frankly fails to address the real reasons often offered for doubting her capacity to serve as president. Which is the point. By constantly claiming that all (and I do mean all) criticism of her is essentially illegitimate as it is born of nothing but "elitist" disdain for the common man (or woman), she never actually has to rebut such criticisms.

I'm really not digging what I find to be a crudely reductivist, single-dimensional model of politics that many have seized on (Palin most prominently), that politics currently consists of almost nothing at all but "elitists" vs. the common.

What about ideas? Why is every dispute being turned into a personal one, a dispute in which the power of ideas matter far less than the personal credentials of the person offering the idea?

Do the elite engage in the fallacy of the argument to authority, offering their status as the credentialed elite as a reason to support their ideas? Yes, they do. But what bothers me about this whole damn anti-elitist panic is that it replacing one appeal to authority with another appeal to authority which is nearly as odious, and actually a bit more when you add in the hypocrisy factor.

The old appeal to authority is rotten and horrible, you should not credit anyone who says "listen to me because I hail from the credentialed elite;" that's why we need to replace it with a new appeal to authority: "Listen to me because I hail from the striving low-to-middle class."


I do not see the great benefit of replacing one regime of sneering dismissiveness based on happenstance of birth with an opposite regime of sneering dismissiveness based on happenstance of birth.

Well that's not entirely true-- I do find the latter regime, Palin's preferred regime, preferable to the former. I would rather that regime of sneering dismisiveness to the older one. But I don't much like either.

And another thing I'll just put out there: I rarely post on Sarah Palin anymore because everything with her seems excessively personal. Do we have arguments about ideas when it comes to Sarah Palin? No, we only have arguments about her as a person. It's like high school. Political "coverage" consists largely of hit-trolling by engaging in the never-ending and childish reportage of "This person talked smack about Sarah Palin" and "Sarah Palin dissed this person right back!"

To some limited extent, this isn't Palin's fault, but her critics on the left (and in the nastier corners of the supposedly-"civil" "moderate" wing of the Republican Party, like Frumj and Scarborough) who personalize every attack on Palin.

On the other hand, I have to say that Palin is largely responding in personal terms, which I find less than presidential. It's all this "elitist" sort of stuff -- you call me a name, I'll call you a name -- and there just doesn't seem to be a criticism that Palin can let go unanswered. So while I'd like my presidential nominee to be an expert on one field of government policy or maybe a couple, I am finding that Palin is creating her own personal field of expertise which consists chiefly of defending the good name of Sarah Palin and snarking her critics.

I don't really care about this "expertise." At all. And I am just tired of this never-ending, highly-personal high-school sort of smack-talk and disses.

From both sides, yeah. I've always been pissed off that the left, and Palin's supposedly more conservative critics too, have engaged in this sort of childish personal taunting. But now I've really had as much I can take of it from Team Palin, too.

This isn't the Delgrassi Junior High or even the Godfather. Not everything is about personal status and standing. Politics isn't just about people. When it descends to just being about nothing but people and personalities, it ceases to be politics, and become simply a different form of Extra/TMZ/Perez Hilton celebrity gossip show.

I know Palin didn't start this. But if I, personally, am ever going to be able to support Palin, I need her to stop this, and start addressing policy questions in policy terms -- not personal terms -- and put away her go-to "I Win" cards of "elitist" and the like.

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