Mike Elk takes "liberal elitism" to task for not taking the Tea Party people seriously, and that that will lead to the election of Sarah Palin and other such ilk.
To quote our vice president, malarkey.
While I have long argued that there is too much elitism on the left for my tastes, there's a wide gulf between holding your nose in the air for no good reason and dumbing yourself down in order to appeal to the lowest common idiotic denominator. Such is the case with the Tea Party group and their leaders like Palin.
Far from the liberals in the '70s who were clearly not responsive enough to the middle class, leading to the rise of Nixon and resentment politics, today's left has gone to great lengths to be a big tent. So much so that some of our biggest fault lines are internal and don't involve the Republicans at all. But far from the pre-Clinton great society types, today's liberals understand that without blue collar people on our side we don't advance as a movement.
The problem is that the vast majority of the issues brought up by the tea party types and Palin are idiotic. These aren't people with the traditional lower-middle class concerns of Americans (which is my family background) but instead these are people who largely believe the conspiracy du jour, whether that involves secret armies, the president's "true" nationality, or Nancy Pelosi's "death panels" that are set up to pull the plug on Grandma.
While the concerns of many white, middle-class people are worthy causes and should be addressed by liberals (and are), it is not elitism to treat this roving band of conspiracy nuts for the cretins they are or associate with. This would be akin to President Johnson in 1964 undertaking a federal committee to study the mind control powers of fluoridated water. That would be asinine.
Liberals have in the past allowed the ivory tower set to exert too much control over the Democratic party. That resulted in a narrow focus and deserved electoral losses. But the idea that the tea party movement represents any sort of rational discourse deserving of recognition and outreach is absurd. These are, by and large, the same band of stupid people we have always had in this country, whether they were in favor of submission to the British empire, secession from the union, alliance with Hitler, or decrying the president a "half breed Muslim terrorist", we owe them no recognition or inclusion in the important discussion about the direction of American society.
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