Voters beware!--a powerful elite controls the media, forces its ugly values into the classroom, and sneers with disdain at the average working American. That's the big Republican meme these days. And who are the "elite" they hope voters will rise up against? (Hint--not the millionaires who run our country.)Voters beware!--a powerful elite controls the media, forces its ugly values into the classroom, and sneers with disdain at the average working American. That's the big Republican meme these days. And who are the "elite" they hope voters will rise up against? (Hint--not the millionaires who run our country.)
We are the evil "elite." Young couples marching for peace with their babies in strollers. People of color sending kids to college. Four-eyed professors who drive rusting Volvos. People who don't get their news from Fox and their values from Rush Limbaugh.
When Democrats said the Bush tax cut was big for billionaires and lousy for most of us, Republicans were outraged. Bush called it "the typical class warfare rhetoric, trying to pit one group of people against another."
But pitting one group of people against another is almost a family value for the Right. Southern Democrats pioneered the trick, holding onto power by keeping blacks from voting and keeping whites afraid of voting by blacks. (Republicans try to be subtler with the white-versus-black trick.) The big thing now is promoting "family values", with the implied threat that if Democrats get elected your baby sister will star in lesbian porno.
When Pennsylvania's Sen. Rick Santorum compared homosexuality to bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery, many people were outraged by his effort to spread--and benefit from--division and hatred. Dean, Kerry, and Lieberman spoke out against it. Republicans saw the liberal outrage as a PR bonanza --"proof" that the left is elitist and anti-family:
Conservative Republicans, including former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, rallied to Santorum's defense. 'I think that while some elites may be upset by those comments, they're pretty much in the mainstream of where most of the country is,' Bauer said.
In the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto gloated the Democrats' reaction could cost them votes:
Many Americans have deeply held religious or moral objections to homosexuality, and it would not be unreasonable for them to take the Democrats' attack on Santorum as an attack on their own values.
So, in conclusion
- It is evil, divisive, unAmerican class warfare for economists to point out that the Bush tax cuts benefit billionaires.
- It is noble and heartfelt to assert that American family life will be destroyed unless the law forbids "bad" sex between consulting adults.
- And the "left-wing intellectuals," the "self-styled experts," the "Hollywood elites" who think homosexuals should be treated like human beings--we will be painted as the real enemy of American voters.