October 17, 2010

"Qualified"

The so-called elites will never, ever get it or admit they had no clue. It's just not a part of them. (And to know precisely what I mean by "elite" in this context, check out Jonah Goldberg's essay here.) After my daughter's field hockey game this past Friday, I was channel surfing before lunging into some chores. I came across the latter half of Chris Matthews' "Hardball," and towards show's end he (again) launched into a denigrating soliloquy about how awful Sarah Palin and those like her are. He spews:

Let's start there. (Referring to a supposed upcoming Palin Learning Channel show.) I mean -- it's preposterous. It sounds fun, it sounds like it'd be fun to spend a day with her.

But if she's so happy being free out there, why is she giving it up and traveling all around the country? It's completely disingenuous because she's obviously really, really happy, being out on the campaign trail, raising money for herself and filling her pockets with these speeches.

She's being paid for a lot of these speeches. So it's really -- she's saying one thing on that show and doing something very different. And if you go back to the California issue, 2/3 of California voters in last week's field poll said that Palin support or being associated with Palin makes them less likely to want to support California politicians.

She's toxic here. You know, I go back to my favorite question because it is not a tough one. Well, it's a "hardball" question. I'll admit it.

John Heilemann, do you believe -- I'm asking any Republican candidate or politician -- do you believe that Sarah Palin is qualified to be president?

And even her own guy Joe Miller, who she created out of nothing up in Alaska who is the nominee of the Republican party because of her endorsement will not say she's any more than 35 years old and was born in the country, will not say she's qualified in any real substantive sense to run this country in a complicated world.

Matthews here demonstrates oh-so perfectly the definition of "elite" which Goldberg addresses in the noted link above. Perfectly.

"Is Sarah Palin qualified to be president?" Let's put it this way: If she's not (which Matthews obviously believes) then our current chief exec certainly is not either.

I cannot count the times I had this very argument during the 2008 campaign. "Progressives" and Democrats alike (along with their willing minions in the MSM) had a field day with John McCain's choice of veep. They scoffed at her qualifications to become president should something happen to McCain should he had been elected. To which I always retorted: "You guys are worried about Palin? She's only the vice-presidential candidate. Barack Obama is your presidential candidate!"

And seriously -- WTF makes Barack Obama so much more qualified to hold the office than Sarah Palin? What "experience" did he bring to the 2008 campaign? That he was a US senator for a whole couple years? That he was a state legislator before that? That he was a community organizer (whatever the f*** that actually means) before that?

Please.

The biggest fundamental difference between the two -- experience-wise -- is that Palin actually ran a state. She ran a whole freakin' state as governor of Alaska. And don't gimme any of that "it's not a very populous state" nonsense. She was chief executive of one of the 50 states. That alone makes her qualified to be president -- certainly more so than a guy who's only one of 100 legislators in a bicameral legislature who's only even been there for a few years!

Ah, but Matthews -- like so many others of like mind -- think that Obama's pedigree, his "superior" education as it were, somehow more than makes up for his pathetic quantity of experience. He went to Columbia and Harvard, after all.

Uh huh. To which Jonah Goldberg writes:

The problem is that when conservatives zing the Ivy League or the educational elite, they are no more offering an omnibus indictment of educational excellence than liberals are denouncing all Texans when they take potshots at George W. Bush’s Texan roots. Similarly, when Yalie George H. W. Bush stuck it to Michael Dukakis for his views borrowed from “Harvard Yard,” he was not offering a plenary indictment of academic excellence generally. Rather, he was speaking idiomatically about certain types of people who tend to hail from the Ivy Leagues.

Goldberg, in his essay, is responding to Anne Applebaum who had written that people like Palin and Ginni Thomas (wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas) are "hypocrites" for denigrating "the elite" because they themselves are in that class. Except that, as Goldberg notes, they're not. Palin and Thomas are referring specifically to people like Barack Obama who believe that, because of their background and education, they're [somehow] uniquely qualified to solve the problems that ail us all. Y'know, their "elite" book learning somehow supplants actual real-life experience in dealing with the ability "to run this country in a complicated world," as Matthews stated above.

  • The "he-knows-better-superior-book-learning" that gives us a Dept. of Justice that sues one of the 50 states for cracking down on illegal immigration -- despite 70-some% of the country siding with the "offending" state.

  • The "he-knows-better-superior-book-learning" that gives us a health care plan that barely passes Congress -- against the wishes of (again) almost 70% of the American public.

  • The "he-knows-better-superior-book-learning" that gives us lectures on American values such as freedom of religion -- when it has nothing to do with 70% of Americans disapproving of a mosque being constructed close to Ground Zero.

  • The "he-knows-better-superior-book-learning" that gives us a Dept. of Justice that refuses to prosecute black defendants in voting rights matters. Somehow in the name of "racial justice."

  • The "he-knows-better-superior-book-learning" that gives us similar "racial justice" by unleashing the Civil Rights Division against school districts that have "disparate" racial discipline figures. And only because of the figures -- no actual investigation into the reasons behind them. Which, of course, leads to an atmosphere of "preventing" such disparities before, hopefully, the CVD notices. Which means overlooking certain offenses for certain groups of students and enforcing certain offenses for other certain groups of students. Which means chaos likely is the result.

  • The "he-knows-better-superior-book-learning" that gives us more federal spending than all the presidents that came before combined, all in the name of making out of whole cloth new categories such as "jobs created or saved."

  • The "he-knows-better-superior-book-learning" that gives the mentality of talking to authoritarian dictators like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chávez without preconditions ... yet news organizations like Fox News -- by far the most popular news outlet on TV today -- should be boycotted and are considered "destructive" to democracy.

Obviously, I don't buy such garbage.

But all that said, if you've read anything I wrote back during the campaign, you probably know I don't exactly think very highly of Sarah Palin, at least compared to other potential GOP presidential contenders. But this is beside the point. The point is, she certainly wouldn't be any worse than the current occupant of the White House; indeed, she'd likely be better. Once more, let's turn to Goldberg:

Since Barack Obama was sworn in, the federal government has intruded into American life in ways not seen for a generation or more. In the case of health care, it is a truly unprecedented and transformational incursion. This is what has sparked and fueled the Tea Parties, who demand that the government stop doing these things, stop “bossing them around.” What offends them — just as what offended Bill Buckley for his entire adult life — is a self-anointed progressive elite that believes it has the knowledge and intellect to restructure society as it sees fit, often heedless of tradition, constitutional norms, the expressed will of the American people and reason.

Amen. The "progressive elite" knows better than us mere peons. But when us mere peons object (how dare we?) mouthpieces like Chris Matthews have no other option than to denigrate and belittle us as "stupid" and even "ungrateful."

Just remember ABC's Peter Jennings' comment following the results of the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress: The American people had a "temper tantrum." Obvious condescension aside, get ready for a temper avalanche.

Posted by Hube at October 17, 2010 12:38 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

The way I often think about this is to remember there's a difference between the elite and the elitists. Many of the true elite of our society are no elitists, just like there are many elitists who are definitely not elite. (John Kerry springs to mind as an example of the latter.)

Posted by: Paul Smith Jr at October 17, 2010 01:28 PM

I think the difference here is also one of experience. People like Mike Castle and Joe Biden have done nothing but be in political offices for the vast majority of their adult lives. People like Elana Kagen has been in academia forever. She's never run a business or worked in an executive capacity. Those two jobs don't have the same consequences for failure that private sector does.

Posted by: Duffy at October 18, 2010 04:33 PM