Saturday, April 19, 2008

Getting in touch with middle America

New York Times columnists Maureen Dowd and David Brooks can be counted on to bang out something superficial and self-satisfied on a regular basis, but they've outdone themselves this week, both on the topic of Obama's supposed elitism. (I've been clear about my preferring Hillary but this is getting too much even for me.)

First, having NYT columnists bray about elitism is always a bit rich—like Brooks and Dowd are in touch with working-class America, whose opinion about Obama they pretend to channel. They may want to move to Dubuque and file their stories from there; until then, they should stop putting words in the mouths of people they know nothing about and shut their trap about elitism.

Brooks, for instance, wrote "When Obama goes to a church infused with James Cone-style liberation theology, when he makes ill-informed comments about working-class voters, when he bowls a 37 for crying out loud, voters are going to wonder if he’s one of them."

WTF? I'd venture to say that Brooks knows no more, and likely less, than Obama about working-class voters, and bringing up Obama's bowling score is downright insane. America is plunging into a recession, it is embroiled in the Iraqi quagmire—it has legalized torture, for god's sake!—and Brooks tut-tuts about Obama's bowling score?!? I for one am glad Obama has better things to do than worry about gutter balls. There's a good chance Bush is better at bowling, and look where it got us.

As for Dowd, she just dropped a few doozies in her latest column. Referring to Obama: "There’s no doubt the cat is cool. [Jeezus, Maureen, this is an election, not Saturday night at Blue Note] It’s easy to imagine the wild reception many parts of the world would give a President Obama as he loped down the stairs of Air Force One in his aviator glasses, the chic and chiseled Michelle on his arm."

Because that's what we girls care about: a president who looks cool, and that Hillary is a sad old bag anyway.

Oh, and how about this: "Obama has to prove to Americans that, despite his exotic background and multicultural looks, he shares or at least respects their values."

Isn't there an editor at the Times with the guts to tell Dowd that she sounds completely ridiculous and she may consider re-reading her own prose out loud before letting it go to press? She might have a flash of sanity and realize how utterly dumb and downright provincial she sounds. His exotic background and multicultural looks—where is Dowd living? One of those Mormon compounds? We're in America, where half the population is somehow "exotic" and "multicultural," and the way her sentence is phrased, it looks as if true Americans aren't multiculti.

And besides, isn't Bush a good ol' boy with a down-home background and white-bread looks? Yeah, let's order another one of those!


John said...

John Stewart's comment about the proper desire for "elite" leadership seems appropriate here.

Elisabeth Vincentelli said...

What's his comment? I don't have cable so only catch up with Jon Stewart irregularly, when I remember to check the web.

John said...

Just that he wants our leaders to be as elite as possible; that if they don't consider themselves better than us "what the hell are they doing running for president"?
It's not funny when I tell it.

Elisabeth Vincentelli said...

Well he's right! I want some smart person to lead the country, not the popular dude who gets rounds for everybody then somehow sneaks out without paying the bill.