Tuesday, April 15, 2008

You Say Elite Like It’s A Bad Thing

Last night Jon Stewart took on the slam “liberal elite,” expressing what I’ve felt for years (and which my friend Mack articulated so well in this post).

That the GOP is able to selectively label liberals “elite” or else “dirty fucking tree hugging hippies who should get a job” has always amazed me. Conservatives throw these contradictory labels out as if they were interchangeable: we’re either driving our Volvos listening to NPR or we’re pot-smoking Grateful Dead holdovers who haven’t held a real job in decades. I’m so confused I feel like I might accidentally smoke my latte.

Every election the conservative blowhards label Democratic candidates “elite” -- it’s as sure as the sun rising in the East. John Kerry windsurfed and spoke French, for God’s sake! Al Gore lives in a big house in Belle Meade! Quelle horreur! (That’s elitist for “holy shit you gotta be kidding me!”) The irony that the folks leveling these charges are themselves multimillionaire “elites” seems lost on television audiences.

This drive to be labeled a populist makes candidates do and say stupid things. Even worse, it results in stupid photos that never do what they’re supposed to: Hillary Clinton with her shot glass, Barack Obama trying to bowl. Seriously, who bought John Kerry dressed in camo on his Ohio hunting trip 12 days before the election?

Pandering is stupid. Just quit doing it. If you’re elite, own it. We’ve had nearly eight years of a frat-boy, C-student president, himself the son of a political dynasty but elite only by association. Look where it’s gotten us.

I want elite. I want the president to be smarter, better educated, more experienced and more widely traveled than me. Speak a foreign language? Great! Why is that a bad thing? Attended the best schools America has to offer? Even better! Don't have "populist" hobbies? Fine, you won't have time for them anyway. I don’t want a president who bowls or mountain bikes, I hope he or she is going to be too busy leading the country for all that nonsense. I don’t want Average Joe for president. This is not a job that anyone can do.

Pollsters and the media have pushed this false “average person” meme on us with their ridiculous "who would you rather have a beer with” polling. I got news for you people: the president isn’t going to have a beer with any of you losers. He or she is going to be too busy, okay? So take your sixpack of Bud Lite and go home.

For those with a little time, here’s The Daily Show clip that started this rant (the best part comes at the end, IMHO):