Friday, May 09, 2008

Elitist Populism

Well dammit, it looks like there's yet more evidence I can't be president: I don't cry enough.

Last time, it was Peggy Noonan who alerted me to the fact that real Americans get "misty-eyed" when they think of Henry Ford; unlike America-haters like me and Obama, who don't. And now? Well apparently, former presidential speechwriters have cornered the market on this, as we now have former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson explaining why Obama's explanation on why he doesn't wear a flag pin is not only elitist (because only professor-types bother explaining themselves), but unpresidential.

As he says:
A president is expected to be a patriotic symbol himself, not the arbiter of patriotic symbols. He is supposed to be the face-painted superfan at every home game; to wear red, white and blue boxers on special marital occasions; to get misty-eyed during the most obscure patriotic hymns.

And again with the misty eyes! I'm not sure why Republicans don't talk more about how much they cry, but perhaps it might help show their softer side. Couldn't be any worse than the corruption and incompetence angle they've been pushing thus far, right? And should we take it as given that Bush wears American flag boxers when he has sex? Not that this is something I want to really think about, but do you think they're made out of real American flags? And do you think he also wears tighty-whities made out of the actual Constitution; or is it enough that he uses it as toilet paper?

Insulting the Rubes

And overall, I'm not sure why folks like Gerson and Clinton still think that anti-intellectualism is a big selling point now that our Idiot President is so extremely unpopular, but I'd really like it if they continue to talk-up Obama's intelligence. This is the political equivalent of trying to market the McTransFat sandwich, now that everyone else is trying to get rid of the stuff. And of course, the big joke is that the guy who treats voters as if they're intelligent enough to understand nuanced points is called an elitist, while the people who think voters are so dumb that they'll hate anyone who bothers explaining themselves pretend to be one of them.

And while there remains a conventional wisdom that says Americans are dumb, I'd like to point out that Bill Clinton was popular throughout most of his presidency, and remains one of the most popular presidents in history; while Bush has been extremely unpopular for much of his presidency, and is now one of the most hated presidents in history. And all despite the fact that the corporate media utterly savaged Clinton and still has a soft spot for Bush, who they once considered to be the second coming of Jesus.

This alone should be enough to make people reevaluate the theory of the stupid American. Call me crazy, but I not only think people will prefer to have a smart president, but one who thinks they're smart too. This election is between a man who respects our intelligence and another who hopes to take advantage of our ignorance, so it's nice to see Republicans like Gerson making the case on Obama's behalf like this; even if he does so unintentionally.

2 comments:

Michael said...

It's good to remember that 50% of the population is smarter than average.

Doctor Biobrain said...

Indeed they are.

But seriously, one thing that makes me feel better is that our average IQ is higher than in previous generations. Some say this is testing error, but I think we're getting smarter.