Mudcat’s Advice And The Persistence of Anti-Elitism

Earlier today I mocked a statement from Karl Rove which suggests that Rove might have lost his touch. Steve Benen had a similar view–as did much of the liberal bloosphere as the fault in Rove’s comments were so obvious. Steve also had an earlier post which showed that bad advice does not only come from the right. He quoted Dave “Mudcat” Saunders from an article for The Weekly Standard:

When I contacted Mudcat, he was in a state of blood-spitting agitation at all the Poindexter reporters trafficking in stereotypes, depicting mountain people as racist mouth-breathers, while explaining Obama’s “Appalachian problem” as if they were anthropologists dropping in on the lip-plated savages of America’s last exotic tribe. […]

[A]s he once told a woman who stood up after a speech he gave to a Democratic audience to say he made compelling points, but they’d be more effective without the swearing, “Lady, there’s nothing I can do about it. Because if you’d seen what I’ve seen from elitist Democrats, you’d swear too.”

He’s speaking of the breed of mostly Northeastern elitist liberal that he encounters even on his own campaigns: condescending, green around the gills from consuming too much arugula, with overdeveloped thumbs from clacking nonstop on their Blackberries, all of whom jealously guard their titles such as “deputy campaign manager of the coffee pot.” He calls them “the Harvards” (a term pinched from LBJ), though in fairness he stipulates that “there’s a lot of jerks that went to other places too.”

I hoped that we had heard the last from Mudcat when Edwards left the race and would see the end of one group of Democrats attacking another as elitists when the Clinton campaign folded. That’s one right wing talking point which the Clinton backers certainly helped to keep alive. I see the tendency for some liberals to see having an education or being successful as something to be defensive about to be comparable to the tendency of some Democrats to be defensive about being called liberal. (Not surprisingly, both the nonsense on elitism and a backtrack on liberalism did come from the same camp.)

Steve responded well to Mudcat:

I see. So Mudcat thinks the problem with the Democratic establishment is that DC-types look at “Bubba” with an anthropologist’s eye. Mudcat looks at the Democratic establishment as over-educated, arugula-eating elitists obsessed with their Blackberries. He went on to argue that Dems should invest less energy in pursuing the “liberal pinko commie” vote.

Remind me, who’s engaging in cheap stereotypes? Who disdains some Americans’ culture? Who’s the anthropologist?

At The Plank, Isaac Chotnier commented:

One wonders whether Mudcat has ever encountered Republican campaign staffers, who also tend to have Blackberries, jealously guard their titles, and even (gasp!) complain about food on the campaign trail.

And this was before Rove’s attack on Obama based upon the assumption that people categorize others based upon the types of people they see standing around at country clubs drinking martinis.

Steve went on to quote further from Mudcat, including a claim that rural voters will only hear the first four words of an argument. Steve responded:

Really? This is Mudcat’s argument? Candidates should respect Bubba’s intelligence, but they should intentionally dumb down their rhetoric because he’ll only listen to the first four words of a five-word phrase?

As Isaac Chotiner noted, “Now just imagine for a moment that Howard Dean had said this. The clear implication is that ‘Bubba’ is, er, not smart enough to understand more than the first four words. Or that ‘Bubba’ does not have the capability to focus on more than four words. Either Saunders is being condescending, or he is revealing something about his beloved ‘Bubba Voter’ that proves the argument he believes elitist Democrats are making.”

After all nonsense on elitism, and now seeing Mudcat’s advice, I prefer to recall Jon Stewart’s take:

You know, I hear what you’re all saying, but doesn’t elite mean GOOD? Is that not something we’re looking for in a candidate anymore?.. I know ‘elite’ is a bad word in politics, and you wanna go bowling and throw back a few beers, but the job you’re applying for, if you get it and it goes well, they might carve your head into a mountain. If you don’t actually think you’re better than us, then what the FUCK do you think you’re doing [running for president]… In fact, not only do I want an elite president, but I want someone who is embarrassingly superior to me. I want somebody who speaks 16 languages…

Perhaps Mudcat and Rove should join together as the new James Carville/Mary Matalin team. In this case they can provide out of touch advice from the left and the right.

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