Green Room

The Massachusetts Message: Fanfare from the common man

posted at 9:21 am on January 21, 2010 by

One of the reasons Scott Brown plowed over Martha Coakley in his pickup truck on Tuesday is because the signals coming from Washington and the media are all about how Americans are too stupid, too uneducated, too ignorant, or too self-absorbed and childish to understand the matters that concern the political and media elite.

David Brooks‘ column of two weeks ago stated this elitism so clearly that we simply couldn’t miss the tone of contempt from the elite to the rest of us. In his view, apparently, Americans who disagree with his “educated class” are petulant teenagers. The fact that they may have legitimate reasons for disagreement? Pshaw. They aren’t smart enough for that.

The educated class believes in global warming, so public skepticism about global warming is on the rise. The educated class supports abortion rights, so public opinion is shifting against them. The educated class supports gun control, so opposition to gun control is mounting.

The story is the same in foreign affairs. The educated class is internationalist, so isolationist sentiment is now at an all-time high, according to a Pew Research Center survey. The educated class believes in multilateral action, so the number of Americans who believe we should “go our own way” has risen sharply.

The reaction to Brown’s win? More elitism. Here’s what Patrick Kennedy, Teddy’s son, had to say:

“It’s like in Roman times, they’d be trotted out to the coliseum and the lions would be brought out,” Kennedy said Tuesday night. “I mean, they’re wanting blood and they’re not getting it so they want to protest. And, you know, you can’t blame them. But frankly, the fact is we inherited this mess, and it’s becoming ours.”

Get it? Americans don’t want to vote for the politicians they feel respond to their needs. They’re just voting against Coakley because they want heads to roll. It’s a reaction, not an action. The fact that voters might be voting for candidates who are giving them what they want doesn’t seem to have entered this entitled, second-generation, wealthy politician’s mind. Apparently, the only Americans who vote with their heads are the elites. The rest of us? Well, bread and circuses, dontchaknow.

Kennedy typifies the Obama crowd: Elitism and a blame-Bush mentality, all rolled into one. And they don’t understand average Americans. Here’s more from Brooks, making you think he may be starting to think twice about the, ah, “uneducated” class:

Go out and say that maybe it’s not a great idea to pass the most complicated and largest piece of domestic legislation in a generation when the American people don’t like it. Show doubt. Don’t show arrogance. If President Obama comes out swinging, it will be his Katrina moment, the moment when the elitist tag will be permanently hung around his neck.

But then he slips right back into elitist mode:

Sometimes you can get away with running directly against public opinion, but it is a very risky maneuver.

Show humility, Democrats, there is some chance that American voters may not be complete idiots.

He’s joking, you say. He’s being sarcastic. Really? I wouldn’t be so sure. Read the part again about why the Tea Party movement is against government health care legislation. We are petulant children. We are against things because they are for them. It’s our lack of “education,” I presume. Or at least, Brooks’ kind of education, which I’m pretty sure doesn’t count my state college (Montclair State, NJ) education.

And there are still more examples. Here’s Terry McAuliffe on why Massachusetts didn’t seat Martha Coakley:

“We have to keep our focus on job creation. Everything we have to do is related to job creation. We have to do a much better job on the message. People are confused on what this health care bill is going to do.”

Translation: Americans are too stupid to understand the health care bill. And it’s what the Obama administration’s message will be. Let’s hear from David Axelrod:

“We are the party in power, and as such there’s an element of responsibility assigned,” he said. “I think people need to know that their challenges and their concerns are the focus of our work every day.”

It’s not the message. It’s the fact that they haven’t done a good enough job selling the message. That’s what you’ll be hearing for some time, apparently.

Finally, along comes Anthony Weiner, Democratic Representative from New York, who does understand the message of Massachusetts:

“When you have large numbers of citizens in the United States of America who believe this is going in the wrong direction, there’s a limit to which you can keep saying, ‘Okay, they just don’t get it. If we just pass a bill, they’ll get it.’ No, no. I think that maybe we should internalize that we’re not doing things entirely correctly.”

Representative Weiner gets it. Whether or not his fellow politicians do remains to be seen.

As for Congress and the Obama administration: Will they stop belittling the voters that sent them to Washington?

Of course, they can continue mocking politicians who drive a pickup truck. Americans will keep voting for the truck drivers, and the political elite will finally understand the message that we are sending them. The chant that went up in town hall meetings all over the nation last summer didn’t register with most of our politicians then. But I’m pretty sure Congress is hearing it now. Remember it, politicos, because you work for us.

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Perhaps elitism is a cover for inadequacy.

See related article from Inside Higher Ed, “New View of Faculty Liberalism” (bolding mine):

On the question of the education/income gap, Gross and Fosse say that their findings are consistent with the work of Pierre Bourdieu. “For Bourdieu, intellectuals are defined structurally by their possession of high levels of cultural capital and moderate levels of economic capital,” they write. “This structural position, Bourdieu asserts, shapes their politics. . . . Deprived of economic success relative to those in the world of commerce, intellectuals are less likely to be invested in preserving the socioeconomic order, may turn toward redistributionist policies in hopes of reducing perceived status inconsistency, and may embrace unconventional social or political views in order to distinguish themselves culturally from the business classes.”

publiuspen on January 21, 2010 at 9:31 AM

They inherited this mess and it’s becoming theirs. Only now? If you take the reins of a horse, you better be ready to ride or you’ll be in the dirt. Zero and his bunch were in charge from day one. They keep perpetuating this myth about a “mess” and a lot of people still believe it. They love the president and you aren’t going to prove them wrong about him. The dems in congress caused this “mess” and it’s not getting fixed.

Kissmygrits on January 21, 2010 at 10:31 AM

I’ve known many intelligent people without much education and many educated people without much intelligence.

Brooks and his “Educated” friends must learn that a degree in attendance from one of our sacred institutions of “higher learning” aren’t worth much in the real world.

countrybumpkin on January 21, 2010 at 12:16 PM

Massachusetts simply underlined what the polls have shown for months, Obama’s policies are not popular and are causing a great many Americans to get mad at Congress. Dems were in denial since August, but now they have seen some of the truth. Hopefully teabagger will leave the vocabulary from mainstream Democrats.

Has Obama ever showed political nimbleness when confronted with political defeat? No, its a first time for him. He’s always operated in the hothouse of leftist politics. But he does have the great advantage of personal popularity. That is undamaged giving him a springboard to political dominance.

richardb on January 21, 2010 at 12:40 PM

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