Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tucker and Stonewall

Jackson, that is. The rough soldier from Tennessee had a hard time gaining the respect of the Washington elite. Or one should say, he never did gain it and was never going to gain it. He outraged the upper crust by opening the doors of the White House for the first time; local gossips had his "hillbillies" standing on the chairs and wiping their hands on the drapes.
The more things change, etc. Let's see now: John McCain's father was admiral of the Pacific Fleet; Mitt Romney's father was CEO of General Motors and governor of Michigan; Al Gore's father was a senior Democratic senator; remember that picture of John Kerry as a boy spending the day on a yacht with JFK?; and George Bush's family you will recall.
All of this reflecting on MSNBC host Tucker Carlson's intense dislike of the Clintons. The Clintons, it seems, are self-promoting, money-grubbing hacks, phonies who would be nowhere if their luck had gone just a little bit differently. Yesterday he pointed out poll numbers that indicated that the poorer and less-educated a woman was, the more likely she was to support Clinton over Obama, whereas with better-educated women, the two candidates were neck and neck. (He didn't find it remarkable that there were over twice as many women in the first category as in the second.) I was struck by Carlson's interpretation of these data. He didn't conclude that Clinton's support among black voters was better than Obama's, although these data suggest just that. From his point of view, the evidence suggests that the Clintons are a trashy lot of rabble, and that the smart shoppers are going for Obama.
The more general observation is that the upper-class of philosophical conservatives have assumed since the Reagan years that they have a tacit claim on populist allegiances. They don't appreciate the effect they create when they sneer at non-rich people for being self-promoting, or for having spotty tastes, or dubious associations, or a million other things that self-made people have had to make do with since ancient times. Tucker Carlson, who is ably diplomatic on any number of other topics, thinks nothing of slamming the Congressional Black Caucus, for example, as a particularly villianous nest of grifters and frauds. Ridiculous on the face of it, but to Tucker just an obvious fact.

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