September 15, 2008

Lefty panic makes my morning coffee taste SO good...

By Gary Kamiya, in Salon:

....Palin represents the reappearance of the one part of Bush that never died -- the culture warrior. [What's hilarious is that she doesn't have to be a culture warrior. She hardly mentions "God guns 'n gays. Neither did Bush. And Palin never mentions abortion. She just IS the Culture of Life.] Democrats may have forgotten about the notorious red state-blue state divide, or hoped that the failures of the last eight years had made it go away. But it hasn't. It's been there all along. [And it's coming to your home town!] If Palin catapults McCain to victory, it will be revealed to be the most powerful and enduring force in American politics. And that fact will raise serious questions about the viability of American democracy itself. [Right, it's not a democracy if those stupid voters reject their betters]

The culture war is driven by resentment, on the one hand, and crude identification, on the other. Resentment of "elites," "Washington insiders" and overeducated coastal snobs goes hand in hand with an unreflective, emotional identification with candidates who "are just like me." [Resentment of "proles" goes hand in hand with an unreflective, emotional identification with a metrosexual nihilist "who is just like me"]

Large numbers of Americans voted for Bush because he seemed like a regular guy, someone you'd want to have a beer with. [He IS a regular guy.] As Thomas Frank argued in "What's the Matter With Kansas," ideology also played a role. As hard-line "moral values" exponent and former GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer told the New York Times, "Joe Six-Pack doesn't understand why the world and his culture are changing and why he doesn't have a say in it." [Well, Mr Kamiya, that's a very good question. This is a democracy. Why, EXACTLY, do you think Joe S should NOT have a say?] The GOP appealed to Joe Six-Pack by harping on cultural issues like the "three Gs," gods, guns and gays.... [We don't have to harp. You Lefties keep assaulting the beliefs of ordinary Americans. You do all the heavy lifting. We just have to look like more-or-less like ordinary people, and we get elected.]

....It's terrifying that so many Americans are so driven by resentment that they will vote against more qualified candidates simply because they seem "different" from them. [That's very true. Sarah Palin is clearly the most qualified to be President of the four candidates, yet the resentment of Lefty nihilists because she is "different" won't even let them consider her.]

For what this means is that anyone with expertise, unusual intelligence, mastery, special knowledge, is likely to be rejected by voters who are resentful of "elites." [As an example, mastery of energy issues, expertise in working across the aisle in the Senate, or special knowledge of the nuts and bolts of state and local government. Or the unusual intelligence needed to rise quickly in politics without riding anyones coat-tails, or having an Ivy League education.] This constitutes a rejection of the very idea that it matters if someone is better at something than someone else. [It's a shocking thing. I see it daily here in SF.]

The peculiar thing is that this only applies to politics: Voters who would not dream of taking their car to an incompetent mechanic or their body to an unlicensed physician have no problem electing totally unqualified candidates to perform the most difficult and important job in the world, simply because they identify with them. [The Obama strategy in a nutshell.]

Posted by John Weidner at September 15, 2008 9:17 AM
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