Elite pundits think Americans are morons
There’s a lot of head-scratching going on right now in Pundit Land. How, these Great Oracles of the print and broadcast media wonder, could the American public have failed to fall head over heels in love with Sarah Palin in the vice presidential debate? After all, she managed to get through an entire 90 minute debate without once saying — “duhhh!” And by definition, this makes her brilliant, right?
Yet, standing in the way of this obvious wisdom are all of those annoying snap polls and focus groups that pretty clearly prove most Americans believe that it was Joe Biden, not Palin, who won the debate.
But surely (the pundits wail) this can’t be right: viewers must have noticed that Palin only seemed hopelessly confused a few times: She was magnificent!
And how about that folksy manner and all of the talk about small town life. Surely that must have been a big winner out there, well, you know, in all those flyover states.
And if you harbor any doubt about this, well then, think again, because that ultimate populist/man of the people himself, David Brooks, is here to set you straight. As Brooks says in today’s column in The New York Times:
On Thursday night, Palin took her inexperience and made a mansion out of it. From her first “Nice to meet you. May I call you Joe?” she made it abundantly, unstoppably and relentlessly clear that she was not of Washington, did not admire Washington and knew little about Washington. She ran not only against Washington, but the whole East Coast, just to be safe.
To many ears, her accent, her colloquialisms and her constant invocations of the accoutrements of everyday life will seem cloying. But in the casual parts of the country, I suspect, it went down fine. In any case, that’s who Palin is.
So, does ya all hear that? As Brooks explains, we quaint country folk — here in the “casual parts of the country” — think Palin’s often artificial sounding folksiness is as cool as the ice on the back of a coon in December. You see, we’re not too bright and don’t get a lot of book learnin’ out her in the sticks — even if much of the sticks is actually made up of major cities and filled with topflight universities, bookstores and even the occasional coffee shop. Hey, we can even get on the Internet.
But what with us not being all that bright, it naturally follows that Sarah Palin must be our kind of girl. Ya see, as Brooks makes clear, we simple folk just can’t relate to all those big words and complicated policy stuff that that fancy-pants Joe Biden kept bringing up. Besides, Sarah’s the kind of girl folks here in the sticks would like to have a beer — I mean, a jug of white lightning — with.
And what more than that could simple people like us want in a potential president?
This isn’t, by the way, the first time David Brooks has made a fool of himself by trying to climb intellectually into the shoes of his cultural “lessers.” On June 2, 2008, for example, he said this on MSNBC:
“Obama’s problem is he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who can go into an Applebee’s salad bar and people think he fits in naturally there.”
As was quickly and repeatedly pointed out across the web, Applebee’s doesn’t even have a salad bar. Props to Eugene Robinson who said: “I tend to take this sociology a little more seriously when it’s delivered by people who actually eat at Applebee’s more than once in a decade.”
The bottom line here, of course, is that big media pundits (especially the ones in the political right wing who rail against the Eastern elite that they themselves so enjoy being part of) tend to think that average Americans are morons. So it shocks them to discover that many such Americans are, in fact, perfectly capable of putting substance over form, of understanding difficult issues and of making wise judgments.
Here’s what actually happened last evening: the vast majority of Americans concluded that Joe Biden won the debate. They did so because Joe Biden did win the debate. It’s that simple. And if the elite media has trouble understanding it, exactly who’s problem is that?
October 3rd, 2008 at 7:08 pm
Speaking of Palin, I was listening to NPR this morning & they were doing some fact checking on the statements made during the debate & it seems that Palin was most often wrong, and Biden wasn’t.
On the other side, I was reading that her husband hadn’t gone to college & her daddy was a successful fisherman. Why is that bad? And besides that, going after her daughter, the one that had the out of wedlock baby, is trash talk. She is good looking gal, & if I were a 20 year old in that small town I sure would have wanted to get into her pants. Why they didn’t use a safety is another matter. But hormones rage.
October 4th, 2008 at 1:20 am
Chuck, there isnt anything wrong with her husband not going to college, per se, though if his parents had money and could have helped him attend college, I would question why he doesnt value higher education. My grandparents were farm folks. My grandfather was only able to attend grade school. My grandmother went as far as junior high. But, they helped all three of their children attend college. My father, and my two aunts had graduate degrees. They were from humble circumstances, but they valued education. Some people cannot attend college because of economic circumstances. This was not the case with Palin’s husband. What I object to is Palin using the working class as some kind of schtick for her campaign. McCain and Palin espouse policies that hurt the working class. Many are in low-paying jobs with no benefits. Yet, McCain and Palin offer a healthcare plan that is an insult and would cause real harm.They want to give more tax cuts to the wealthy and cause even more economic harm to hard-working folks. The honest Americans, who work in factories, in stores, in repair shops, in construction, deserve better than being used by the McCains and Palins as a pretense for phony concern about those who labor long hours for inadequate wages, that cant keep up with inflaltion.
As for the daughter, I feel very sorry for this youngster. Her mother threw this child into the public glare, by chasing after her own ambition. Sarah Palin just had a special needs child. She has a teenage daughter who needs her mother’s support and attention. Yet, this woman, who is already very busy as Governor of Alaska, put her familie’s needs to the side to take on a job for which she is clearly not qualified. I repeat, ambition is one thing. Knowing your limitations is another. The wise person seeks balance.
October 4th, 2008 at 1:36 am
David Brooks is one of those men who thinks he is God’s gift to the intelligensia. In other words, he is an ass. For the first time in 8 years, I am beginning to hope that the American people are waking up from their stupor, and starting to question rather than take everything the pundits, the corporate-owned media, and the politicians say, at face value. If David Brooks cant spot a phony, put-on act, then more fool he. Perhaps, he isnt quite as astute as he thinks he is. I would have to offer him this advice:
“David, dont flatter yourself quite so much. In this case, it makes you look like a silly fool.
Palin said her spiel over and over. She sounded like a parrot. There was no depth to her answers. It was patently rehearsed. She did a good job of putting on a show. I was born and raised in central Indiana. That doesnt make me a fool. It doesnt make me gullible. I may be from “the casual part of the country”, but at least I have sense enough not to be taken in by fake folksiness and a pretty face. “You, Mr. Brooks, sound like you have a case of the ‘Hots.’ Control yourself. Your supposed superiority is slipping; and your partisanship is showing. Go have lunch at a trendy restaurant and cool down.”