Beware Bitterness on the Right
The author and television news reporter Bernard Goldberg is out with a new column headlined "Obama and the Dolts Deserve Each Other" referring to "your typical not-too-bright American," "the typical American who's barely paying attention," and "Bozo America" with their "empty heads" and "thick skulls."
Some of this I take to be attempted humor, but it's a vein that Republican-leaning spokesmen will want to be wary of. I heard quite a bit of it last week at a conference in Manhattan convened by The New Criterion.
Kevin Williamson, an editor at National Review, spoke at the conference of "the American Voter who is kind of a clown and kind of a buffoon."
Andrew Roberts, the eminent historian — a genius, really — gave the keynote address at the conference and spoke of "one moron, sorry, one man, one vote" and declared "on the tombstone of American greatness will be written the words, 'it was the will of the people.'"
I hesitate to name these three because I admire them. They are all passionate about freedom and have really formidable achievements, and I can understand their still-raw disappointment in the outcome of the recent election. Their arguments are more subtle and complex than the quote or two I have reproduced here for the sake of argument.
There is, too, a long tradition of this sort of thing in American political commentary, going back at least to H.L. Mencken.
Maybe I cringe from their assessments because I am being foolishly stubborn and unwilling to confront the possibility that they could be right.
But I do cringe. When I hear this sort of talk I can't help but remember that infamous 1993 Washington Post article describing evangelical Christians as "largely poor, uneducated and easily led." Elitism is not the monopoly of the "mainstream" news media or of left-wing professors. It can be found on the right-of-center as well.
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