Tag Archives: palin

In Defense of Elitism

The McCain-Palin campaign, and Republicans in general, keep attacking “elites.” What’s so terrible about being elite? When the US military has a difficult assignment, who does it send? Its elite commando teams, the SEALs and the Green Berets. If you want to win a gold medal, who do you send? An elite athlete like Michael Phelps. If you have a heart problem, what doctor do you want? An elite cardiologist.

For doing difficult things, we generally want the best prepared person we can get. After all, you wouldn’t get on an airplane piloted by someone who had barely gotten through flight school. But when it comes to the presidential election, the contest for possibly the hardest job in the world, suddenly the approach gets reversed. Advanced training and cerebral approaches are eschewed in favor of plain speakin’ and gut instinct.

I’m not saying you have to go to fancy schools in order to be a good president. George W. Bush went to two of the fanciest, and he’s pretty well cheesed things up. But neither should prestigious degrees or eloquent speech preclude one from being elected. There is nothing inherently bad about being elite, nor inherently good about being average. That being said, I don’t want Joe the Plumber running this country, although I want my president to remember who Joe the Plumber is. Or as Jon Meacham put it, “Do we want leaders who are everyday folks, or do we want leaders who understand everyday folks?”

Why Voters Hate Campaign Spinners

Why? Because they lie and/or refuse to answer questions.

Example one: McCain’s senior advisor Steve Schmidt was quoted in today Wall Street Journal about whether Sarah Palin had been fully vetted:

This vetting controversy is a faux media scandal designed to destroy the first female Republican nominee for vice president of the United States.

That is nonsense, a blatant lie. Wondering how a presidential candidate made a giant decision (his choice of a VP) is a totally legitimate line of questioning. Even if you support McCain and Palin, you might wonder “did he really know everything? Did he rush into that pick?” To claim that it’s a “faux media scandal” is ridiculous. That is what journalists are supposed to do: ask tough questions.


Example two: this clip from CNN, which has gotten a fair amount of buzz. In it, CNN’s Campbell Brown asks McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds some simple and legitimate questions about Sarah Palin. He ducks and weaves, refusing to answer the questions, and then attacks the journalist for “belittling” Palin. Avoiding questions and sliming people makes the average voter completely tune out these spinmeisters.