Thursday, October 02, 2008

It apparently doesn't matter to Republicans if you're smart or not...

Michael Berube (via Atrios):

I’ve been reading the GOP campaign as being not merely an assault on liberal elites—like I say, that’s old news—but a frontal attack on the very idea of standards of plausibility in argument. To friends and family (and one or two inquiring reporters), I’ve been calling it the National Insult My Intelligence Tour 2008. It’s as if they’re simply trying to see how much amazing shit they can get away with (like this amazing shit!), even though (as many people have noted) this strategy requires them to run against the very constituency McCain had courted for over a decade—the elite Beltway punditocracy, McCain’s base.

And in so doing, they’re laying a fairly obvious trap for actual liberal elitists like me. When I was speaking at the Belmont Humanities Symposium last month, the topic of presidential debates came up—partly because the forum was about debate, check, and partly because Belmont is hosting the second presidential debate. And in response to one student’s question, I said (among other things) that I can’t stand it when liberals go around saying that Obama is going to wipe the floor with McCain in the debates, or that the Biden-Palin debate will turn the lights out on the whole campaign, because too many liberals and progressives continue to think it’s all a matter of being the smartest person in the room. There are plenty of Republican-voting people out there, I said, who are resentful and (guess what) bitter . . . because they truly believe they are being governed by high and mighty muck-a-mucks who sneer at their pastimes and their cherished local traditions, and they don’t see Obama (or Hillary either!) as someone who’ll give them the time of day. If this election gets framed as Ordinary People against Mr. Extra Extra Smart, I thought, the Democrats are going down in flames. Every time a liberal says, “of course our side should win this—we’re so much smarter than they are,” he (or she!) plays right into the right’s cultural-resentment script. And they make themselves sound like nineteen-year-old Objectivists into the bargain.

The financial crisis may have altered these dynamics, insofar as it seems to have alerted millions of Americans to the virtues of having a president who knows what he’s (or she’s) talking about.
Interesting to consider...we will be able to elect the first black president ever all because of George Bush and the neocons. There was a pony in that big shitpile!

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