Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Elitist

“Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.”
When I first heard this quote, my first thought was that it sounded a bit like it was describing George Bush. With a few minor changes, of course. Make it a double Martini. He's slightly sloshed already, so he's leaning against the wall and his snide comments are slurred. Finally, scratch the beautiful date. Instead, it's some horsey-faced debutante, who got fixed up with him by two monied families hoping for a merger.

And the minute I dissed her, Maureen Dowd echoes my sentiments in her recent column, More Phony Myths (and not surprisingly, I enjoy her more when she's mocking Republicans). Of course, the quote was by Karl Rove and it was referring to Barack Obama. As Dowd said:
The cheap populism is really rich coming from Karl Rove.

* * * *
Obama can be aloof and dismissive at times, and he’s certainly self-regarding, carrying the aura of the Ivy faculty club. But isn’t that better than the aura of the country clubs that tried to keep out blacks? It’s ironic, and maybe inevitable, that the first African-American nominee comes across as a prince of privilege. He is, as Leon Wieseltier of The New Republic wrote, not the seed but the flower of the civil rights movement.

Unlike W., Obama doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder and he doesn’t make a lot of snarky remarks. He tries to stay on a positive keel and see things from the other person’s point of view.

He’s not Richie Rich, saved time and again by Daddy’s influence and Daddy’s friends, the one who got waved into Yale and Harvard and cushy business deals, who drank too much and snickered at the intellectuals and gave them snide nicknames.

Shaun Mullen calls Rove the Lee Atwater knockoff. I think he just shoots off these little nastygrams into the media to see what sticks. Of course, Liberals and others alike have been puzzling over the "country club" tag, since Bush is certainly the true county club denizen, while the reality is that Obama wouldn't be admitted to most country clubs, even if he tried.

And best of all, Jake Tapper of Political Punch continues the country club metaphor a bit further, pondering:
But the picture Rove paints is interesting. Who, pray tell, is Rove at this country club?

The guy telling funny stories near the band?

The charming president of the club's philanthropic arm?

The brainy guy with all the sports scores?

Or the guy who vandalizes your car and blames it on the kitchen staff?"
Countdown's Keith Olbermann has to have his say on the issue as well:

The GOP has tried for years to make the word "elitist" a slur for intelligent and has managed to erase the connotation of the word, which traditionally means someone of an elite social class or financial status. However, as Jon Stewart said not so long ago, having someone who is "elite" or superior as President is not a bad thing. See Elitist, Everlasting or Explosive?.

Finally, a TPM reader suggests that the intent was to focus on the "beautiful date" line, which certainly wasn't Michelle in Rove's mind. Rather, it was the kind of woman who frequents a country club -- a beautiful white woman. Where Will the Republicans Go?. That image will certainly have its intended effect among a particular segment of the population -- those who haven't quite taken to that whole interracial dating thing, you know?

This goes along with the recent comments by Washington Post reporter Josh Weisman, who observed that Obama is much more "white than black, beyond his skin color," based upon his upbringing. See Reporter labels Obama ‘much more white than black’.

If he's not a radical black muslim, he's a (sorta) white elitist. Either way, is that someone we'd be comfortable with in the White House?

UPDATE (6/30): Arrogant is the new uppity. But of course. Silly me, why didn't I think of this?

John Ridley of The Huffington Post explains the new Code word for Uppity in When Rove Calls Obama Arrogant, He Means "Uppity":
Arrogant, of course, is a euphemism. In the monochromatic bunkers from which old-schoolers cling to power the true word they use is 'uppity' when hurled at blacks. It's the 'B-word' for women. I'm not sure what the Rovian ilk use for the Latinos and Asian-Americans who dare claim their due, but I'm sure it's equally as derisive and wielded with sick pleasure.

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