Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Political Suicide?

It’s not smart to insult the people whose votes you need. So what’s going on with Obama and the Democrats?

In a Washington Post column entitled “Obama the Snob,” former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson lands on the same Obama quote I discussed here:
facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time. . . because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared.
Here’s how Gerson reads the President’s words:
Obama views himself as the neocortical leader -- the defender. . . of cognitive reasoning. His critics rely on their lizard brains -- the location of reptilian ritual and aggression. Some, presumably Democrats, rise above their evolutionary hard-wiring in times of social stress; others, sadly, do not.
Gerson concludes, “these are some of the most arrogant words ever uttered by an American president,” adding that Obama is “an intellectual snob.”

What especially bothers Gerson is that Obama’s superior attitude toward those who don’t support him
destroys the possibility of political dialogue. What could Obama possibly learn from voters who are embittered, confused and dominated by subconscious evolutionary fears? They have nothing to teach, nothing to offer to the superior mind.
End of debate.

The old fashioned snobs are on “Masterpiece Theater,” jokes to us because they are so full of themselves with their wealth and superior breeding, caring little what others think, as long as the others know their (inferior) place.

But how does a snob win an election, any election? Of course, British snobs didn’t have to win elections. Yet in a democracy, it’s political suicide to be a snob. Surely the easiest way for Republicans to displace America’s current ruling class is to show voters the elite looks down their collective noses at ordinary people. An easy path to power, if that’s in fact what the elite do. As in fact they do.

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