Gurf points to conservative criticism of Obama’s cabinet appointments as being ‘too elitist’:
The Ivy-laced network taking hold in Washington is drawing scorn from many conservatives, who have in recent decades decried the leftward drift of academia and cast themselves as defenders of regular Americans against highbrow snobbery. Joseph Epstein wrote in the latest Weekly Standard — before noting that former president Ronald Reagan went to Eureka College — that “some of the worst people in the United States have gone to the Harvard or Yale Law Schools . . . since these institutions serve as the grandest receptacles in the land for our good students: those clever, sometimes brilliant, but rarely deep young men and women who, joining furious drive to burning if ultimately empty ambition, will do anything to get ahead.”
The libertarian University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein, who is not related to Joseph Epstein, worries that the team’s exceptionalism could lead to overly complex policies. “They are really smart people, but they will never take an obvious solution if they can think of an ingenious one. They’re all too clever by half,” he said. “These degrees confer knowledge but not judgment. Their heads are on grander themes . . . and they’ll trip on obstacles on the ground.”
If you’ll excuse my zeal:
If there is one dumbass notion in America that needs to die a painful fucking death it’s that the people in charge of our country should be expected to have a healthy amount of ‘street smarts’ or ‘small town cred’.
No, they don’t.
They could have handlebar moustaches, monocles, and a glass of cognac worth more than your family surgically grafted onto their fucking jewel-encrusted hands for all I care. If they are the most qualified to lead the country then they should lead. I don’t want a White House Chief of Staff I could have a beer with. I want a White House Chief of Staff that will pour a fucking beer on my head, tell me I’m an insignificant nobody, and then go help fix our messed-up-ass country, get it?
Maybe I’ve been listening to too much Webern recently but look, populism has its place. Sometimes I want a greasy meal at the Waffle House, sometimes I want to listen to bad radio pop, but down-to-earth populism has little relevance past communication for matters involving the governing of our massive country. I want geniuses running this country, straight up.
We tried the average Joes.
Didn’t work out so well, did it?
4 responses to “All Hail the L33T5!”
But even the idea that George W. Bush was an “average Joe” is insane. If your family has a compound in Maine named after you (Walker’s Point), and if you went to Andover prep school and were a legacy admit to Yale, you are not an “average Joe,” no matter how much Texas drawl you affect.
The rest of your post is well taken, but the “Bush is jes’ an’ Average Joe” meme is crazymaking. It is like this zombie lie that cannot be killed.
Yeah, Bush being an actual elitist is no secret. I meant “average” more in terms of the article referenced, in answer to the criticism that Obama’s cabinet would somehow be too cerebral or something. We saw in the public’s Palin enthusiasm that many people actually prefer average intelligence in a leader, and that’s just fucking insane.
The thing is, these articles you mention, they are playing fast and loose with two different types of “elite,” deliberately trying to conflate populist resentment of economic privilege and cultural resentment of pointy-headed intellectualism. And this has been the Republican strategy for many years, so I wouldn’t take anyone making that argument too seriously — it’s not an argument offered in good faith. It’s not anything they actually believe or take seriously themselves. It’s just that inveighing against “intellectual elites” is a standard part of the conservative playbook. It’s practically a reflex for them at this point.
agree and well said.