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Author Topic: Who should become the next US president?  (Read 49610 times)

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alexis

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #140 on: April 21, 2008, 04:53:26 PM »

Re: "Socialized medicine" - the root of all evil in terms of health care per the foaming mouth crowd:

Just ask these guys who want to purge our health care system of socialized medicine where they are going to get the $ to pay for the health care that Medicare was covering for them.

Of course the ones who are in favor of doing just that don't worry about not being able to afford health care, they are rolling in it. And those who really need help from "Government Socialized Medicine" like Medicare and Medicaid - they seem to consistently vote against their economic self interests, for reasons I don't fully understand. "He's a good guy, he likes to hunt and has a ranch", or "Hey, he's a war hero!", seem to be good reasons to vote for a candidate to some people. I think this country has a very strong hunter-gatherer bent, to the degree that any candidate that can't pretend to be a (wo)man of the earth has one or two strikes against them from the get go. I guess that is probably very predictable, given the large (though getting smaller?) percentage of voters who live in areas of the country where there isn't a lot of urban opportunity (or blight, depending on one's point of view).

It's taken me a while to get to this point, but I realize now that "factual-based reasoning" (as opposed to the non-factual-based variety) is not considered the gold standard by MANY people in this country. "I've just got a feeling about this" often trumps facts. It's like religion - just because one group of people believe, ahem, strongly that facts have value, doesn't mean that others are ever going to leave their comfort zone because of a few facts here and there. [For more info, please Google: Kansas School Board of Education ... evolution ... theory] !

Obama bowled a 36? Geesh. Give me a candidate who can belt 'em down, and still show up for work - hung over, but still there ... that's strong !
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Alexis

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #141 on: April 22, 2008, 03:00:32 AM »

Okay, you people are making me read way too much.











 ;)
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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #142 on: April 22, 2008, 03:12:49 AM »

hehe...i don't get why some people on here actually pay attention to our silly politics when they live in other places! granted, most of the people on this thread are americans, but for those who aren't: why do you know more about the society i live in than i do???
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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #143 on: April 22, 2008, 05:29:05 AM »

they seem to consistently vote against their economic self interests

This is a crucially important issue for the Democrats going forward, and for the liberal/left generally. There are two points to make here, I think: 1) Economic interests by no means determine how people vote; and 2) People's own notions of their own particular economic interests are almost as varied as the ideologies they embrace, if any.

Let's go in order: the idea that economics determines the whole social order and people's perceptions of their own position within that order is a bad oversimplification of the actual state of things which goes back at least as far as Karl Marx: "all history is the history of class struggle," right? And what defines class? Your economic position. Far too simple a proposition, and it's extraordinary that people still, at whatever intellectual remove, buy it.

Lots of things determine how you think besides "your objective economic position," and you might act on any of them when you get into the voting booth. Anyway, economics might have nothing with to do with how you vote at all in any particular election. Maybe you just voted for the guy because he looked cool playing the sax on Arsenio Hall. It's happened.

Which leads to point #2: your notion of my "objective economic interests" might look nothing at all like my notion of them. Say I make $40,000 a year: is it in my interest to have a lot of government programs? Maybe; maybe not: maybe I figure that if I just got a big tax cut I could make a better go of it myself. Or maybe I decide a lot of government services is a good idea for everyone's sake. The decision can go either way, and the factors that shape  it and the mode of thinking behind it are not purely, or even necessarily, economic.
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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #144 on: April 22, 2008, 06:33:45 AM »

Oh yes, and speaking of John McCain, the same paper that endorsed McCain for the Republican nomination a month or so ago succinctly made the case against him on Sunday:

Senator McCain Digs In
Published: April 20, 2008

Senator John McCain
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harihead

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #145 on: April 22, 2008, 01:00:53 PM »

Well, thank goodness some people are starting to employ critical thought! I get so sick of soundbites and "image" projection I could just scream.
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alexis

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #146 on: April 22, 2008, 01:19:50 PM »

Quote from: 1161
they seem to consistently vote against their economic self interests

This is a crucially important issue for the Democrats going forward, and for the liberal/left generally. There are two points to make here, I think: 1) Economic interests by no means determine how people vote; and 2) People's own notions of their own particular economic interests are almost as varied as the ideologies they embrace, if any.

Let's go in order: the idea that economics determines the whole social order and people's perceptions of their own position within that order is a bad oversimplification of the actual state of things which goes back at least as far as Karl Marx: "all history is the history of class struggle," right? And what defines class? Your economic position. Far too simple a proposition, and it's extraordinary that people still, at whatever intellectual remove, buy it.

Lots of things determine how you think besides "your objective economic position," and you might act on any of them when you get into the voting booth. Anyway, economics might have nothing with to do with how you vote at all in any particular election. Maybe you just voted for the guy because he looked cool playing the sax on Arsenio Hall. It's happened.

Which leads to point #2: your notion of my "objective economic interests" might look nothing at all like my notion of them. Say I make $40,000 a year: is it in my interest to have a lot of government programs? Maybe; maybe not: maybe I figure that if I just got a big tax cut I could make a better go of it myself. Or maybe I decide a lot of government services is a good idea for everyone's sake. The decision can go either way, and the factors that shape  it and the mode of thinking behind it are not purely, or even necessarily, economic.

The points made here are good, but I think they address subtleties that, even if they once were relevant, are no longer in play here. We're not talking about "Gee, I sure am glad I got that whopping $300 stimulus package from Uncle Sam, now I wonder if I should put it in the Roth IRA or just buy a few kegs and have a big party...". Good old George, Dick, and Co. have gotten us to the point where it's becoming frighteningly more usual for someone in the middle class to be saying "OK, now I'm losing my house, I can't afford to fill up the truck with gas, and I can't get a loan for my kid's community college tuition". And yet, if things go true to form, a lot of those same people will wind up voting for a Republican because they buy into the "I'm more like you than that egg-headed lily-livered quiche-eating liberal" branding that the Republicans are so good at (or is it that their "marks" are so easy?). That's what I mean about voting against one's economic self interest.
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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #147 on: April 22, 2008, 03:19:31 PM »

Quote from: 568
And yet, if things go true to form, a lot of those same people will wind up voting for a Republican because they buy into the "I'm more like you than that egg-headed lily-livered quiche-eating liberal" branding that the Republicans are so good at (or is it that their "marks" are so easy?). That's what I mean about voting against one's economic self interest.

That's what journalists mean by "culture wars" and why the Republicans are seven for ten in presidential elections since 1968. Nixon got the idea first; he opposed "normal values" to sixties radicalism and knocked a chunk off the Democratic Party's working class base in industrial states like Ohio and Michigan. It's been in play ever since. In a less savory way, it more consistently delivered a large piece of the southern white vote (until then a Democratic preserve since the civil war) to the Republicans as well. George McGovern, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, and John Kerry were all done in by variants of the same approach: we're the party of "regular Americans," and the Democrats are the party of radicals or are just plain yucky and can't even bowl worth a damn. Never mind who ended up cashing in at budget time.

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harihead

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #148 on: April 22, 2008, 06:02:57 PM »

I personally would never vote for a president who couldn't bowl. After all, it's such a big part of his duties once he assumes office.

My all-time favorite inane remark came from one of our most prestigious columnists here in Denver (local guy) who said, deliberating between Bush and Gore, he decided to go for Bush because he would feel more comfortable "shaking his hand alone in the middle of a big field." Now, we all know how standing around in empty fields consumes acres of a president's time, so this is a very logical decision. (I hope my sarcasm is coming through here.) It made me want to scream, THAT IS THE BASIS FOR YOUR DECISION!?!? YOU MORON!!!

It's what Alexis was talking about re: "factual-based reasoning" or the absence thereof. Successful manipulators know that you make an appeal to the emotions; that's how you get the numbers. I believe their research (can't be refuted), but I'm still irritated. What is it, are facts too hard? Is it too much work to look up whether the person you are voting for is even remotely qualified, or do you just swallow the sound bite and go waddling off to your next reality TV show?  

America really is getting the government it deserves. It's just frustrating to me that so much that was really excellent is going down the drain, and taking a lot of good people with it. But we "egg-headed lily-livered quiche-eating liberals" have always been in the minority anyway...
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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #149 on: April 23, 2008, 06:01:51 AM »

It made me want to scream, THAT IS THE BASIS FOR YOUR DECISION!?!? YOU MORON!!!

I know; I've launched more than one spleen doing the same thing myself. Just last week I had an argument with a guy who insisted, in all seriousness, that we should replace the income tax system with a single ten percent VAT tax. He wasn't a Ron Paul or Mike Huckabee guy, either. Ten percent, eh?(crosseyed2)
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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #150 on: April 23, 2008, 03:49:36 PM »

 ;D

Wilting Over Waffles
 
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: April 23, 2008
He
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alexis

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #151 on: April 23, 2008, 07:18:50 PM »

^^^^

  I'm really of two minds about whether Hillary is handing the country over to the Republicans for 4 years by continuing to wound Obama, with little to no chance of her actually getting the nomination.

Another way to look at this, besides what Dowd and the other talking head Cassandras moan about so much, is that Hillary is in effect making Obama stronger for the post-convention epic battle. First, she is slowly but surely teaching him that when he gets punched in the mouth, if he seems too fragile to punch back he will lose votes (sad, but true). Next, she is (I hope) getting all his dirty laundry out now. As bad as it is to read now about Reverend I Hate America, or Obama's "Middle Class is Bitter (But I'm Better than That!)" Manifesto, or his relationship with the "Let Me Help You Out and Get You a Bigger Back Yard - No Strings, Dude!" developer, it would have hurt him a lot more if this came out in September. By then, when (not if) McCain brings it up, it will have lost most of its punch.

So, maybe she is effectively innoculating him with Swift Boat virus so he'll be so much stronger in the fall when it really counts!

Just my 2 cents ...

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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #152 on: April 24, 2008, 04:12:37 AM »

Quote from: 568
So, maybe she is effectively innoculating him with Swift Boat virus so he'll be so much stronger in the fall when it really counts!

I agree with this; actually: Clinton ran what was essentially a Republican campaign against Obama in Pennsylvania, playing experience, toughness, and traditional values against moralizing liberal effeteness, and won. The voters Obama lost to her are precisely the sort of Democrats who in elections since 1968 or so have been trending Republican and swinging elections in the industrial states. Obama had better face this now and start retooling his campaign.

I'm hard put to see how a Democrat could lose in the fall, but the broader issue beyond November is how a new Democratic President proposes to govern and succeed: I think this was the crucial failure of the Clinton presidency in the nineties. Bill won, but he changed very little and in fact governed largely along the trajectory set by Reagan in the eighties. Obama ought to start thinking of the political coalition he wants to put together and what sorts of broad agenda items or principles could hold it together. If he wants to change the political direction of the country, he has to change the terms of the political debate and lash together a new or at least modified Democratic electoral coalition that will support him.

What he saw from Hillary Clinton was the line of attack that has split working class voters away from the Democratic Party since 1968. What he has to do now is either figure out how to lure those voters back to him (and by implication the Democratic Party in the fall) or replace them with other voters. There are really intriguing possibilities here: should the Democrats try to recreate some modernized version of their old industrial era coalition (the Pennsylvania/Clinton version of the party, in other words), or would they be better off looking, say,  to the Southwest where the population and wealth are growing and look for a new political alignment based on conditions there?




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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #153 on: April 26, 2008, 05:25:54 AM »

File under: Conventional Wisdom Watch/Bloviators:   8)


Media Jump Ship From Obama to Clinton

by Thomas B. Edsall
April 24, 2008 10:02 PM

In a blink of an eye, the media has jumped ship from the Obama campaign and become a crucial Clinton ally, pressing just the message -- that Obama is a likely loser in the general election -- that Hillary and her allies have been promoting for the past six weeks.

The new tenor of media coverage is visible almost everywhere, from Politico, Time and The New Republic to The Washington Post and The New York Times.

For Hillary, the shift is a potential lifesaver as she struggles to keep her head above water; without it, she would, metaphorically, drown.

Until now, she, her husband, and her campaign aides have been trying, with little success, to make the case that Obama has potentially fatal flaws. For the first time, reporters working for magazines, newspapers and web sites have abruptly decided that she might well be right, and the results for Obama have been brutal:

The first hard punch was thrown by my friend and colleague John Judis in a widely distributed piece on The New Republic web site, filed sometime around 3AM Wednesday, seven hours after polls closed in Pennsylvania. In the article titled, "The Next McGovern," Judis wrote:

    "f you look at Obama's vote in Pennsylvania, you begin to see the outlines of the old George McGovern coalition that haunted the Democrats during the '70s and '80s, led by college students and minorities....Its ideology is very liberal. Whereas in the first primaries and caucuses, Obama benefited from being seen as middle-of-the-road or even conservative, he is now receiving his strongest support from voters who see themselves as 'very liberal.'...[H]e is going to have trouble in Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia, where he will once again be faced by a large white working class vote. He can still win the nomination and lose these primaries. Pennsylvania was the last big delegate prize. But if Obama doesn't find a way now to speak to these voters, he is going to have trouble winning that large swath of states from Pennsylvania through Missouri in which a Democrat must do well to gain the presidency."

Joe Klein, in his weekly column for Time magazine, noted that Clinton has taken a beating,

    "But that was nothing compared with the damage done to Obama, who entered the primary as a fresh breeze and left it stale, battered and embittered - still the mathematical favorite for the nomination but no longer the darling of his party [ Klein could have added, 'no longer the darling of the press.'] In the course of six weeks, the American people learned that he was a member of a church whose pastor gave angry, anti-American sermons, that he was "friendly" with an American terrorist who had bombed buildings during the Vietnam era, and that he seemed to look on the ceremonies of working-class life - bowling, hunting, churchgoing and the fervent consumption of greasy food - as his anthropologist mother might have, with a mixture of cool detachment and utter bemusement."

Politico's Mike Allen describes the changed approach to Obama as a "paradigm shift," specifically citing the "seminal" [Allen is not one to mute his compliments] report of former colleague Chris "The Fix" Cillizza on WashingtonPost.com, the headline of which undoubtedly brought tears of joy to the Clinton campaign: "How Clinton Can Win It."

"A path does exist for Clinton," Cillizza wrote. "The best argument Clinton has at her disposal right now is that Obama cannot win over blue collar, white voters who have been hit hard by the economic slowdown and are looking for a politician to look out for them."

The critical chorus is even resonating across the Atlantic. Under the headline "The Democrats must admit it: Obama would lose to McCain," London Times columnist Anatole Kaletsky wrote: "the conclusion would be fairly obvious, were it not for the political correctness that makes it almost impossible for American politicians or commentators to express such a view: Mr Obama may by unable to carry large industrial states with socially conservative white working-class populations simply because of his race."

The New York Times, never so declarative in a news story, poses the issues as questions. Adam Nagourney writes, "Why has he (Obama) been unable to win over enough working-class and white voters to wrap up the Democratic nomination? ... Is the Democratic Party hesitating about race as it moves to the brink of nominating an African-American to be president?"

While Nagourney raised questions reinforcing doubts about Obama's credibility as a general election candidate, his colleague at the New York Times, Patrick Healy was one of the few reporters to write favorably of the Obama bid in light of recent criticisms. Healy wrote:

"[E]xit polling and independent political analysts offer evidence that Mr. Obama could do just as well as Mrs. Clinton among blocs of voters with whom he now runs behind. Obama advisers say he also appears well-positioned to win swing states and believe he would have a strong shot at winning traditional Republican states like Virginia."

Healy, however, is the exception. While reluctant to speak on the record, Clinton supporters are very pleased with the overall switch in tone of the coverage, particularly the willingness of the media to explore the question of whether Obama could be a loser in November.

The Clinton critique of Obama, and now the critique of much of the press, was further reinforced from another source, Republican strategist Karl Rove, writing in the Wall Street Journal:

    "Mr. Obama is befuddled and angry about the national reaction to what are clearly accepted, even commonplace truths in San Francisco and Hyde Park. How could anyone take offense at the observation that people in small-town and rural American are 'bitter' and therefore 'cling' to their guns and their faith, as well as their xenophobia? Why would anyone raise questions about a public figure who, for only 20 years, attended a church and developed a close personal relationship with its preacher who says AIDS was created by our government as a genocidal tool to be used against people of color, who declared America's chickens came home to roost on 9/11, and wants God to damn America? Mr. Obama has a weakness among blue-collar working class voters for a reason."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/24/media-jump-ship-from-obam_n_98545.html
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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #154 on: May 03, 2008, 03:51:19 AM »

Good David Brooks column from Tuesday, when I was too busy (lazy) to post it:  ;D


Demography Is King

By DAVID BROOKS
Published: April 29, 2008

Fifty-five years ago, 80 percent of American television viewers, young and old, tuned in to see Milton Berle on Tuesday nights. Tens of millions, rich and poor, worked together at Elks Lodges and Rotary Clubs. Millions more, rural and urban, read general-interest magazines like Look and Life. In those days, the owner of the local bank lived in the same town as the grocery clerk, and their boys might play on the same basketball team. Only 7 percent of adult Americans had a college degree.

But that
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harihead

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #155 on: May 03, 2008, 04:34:23 AM »

You know, I understand what David is trying to say here, but I really can't agree with his last sentence. An educational hierarchy? Please. America's educational standards are eroding faster than its topsoil. Florida is shutting down schools and letting go hundreds of educators to deal with a tight budget. Our education system is so gutted, it's a joke.
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theBEATLESrock_on

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #156 on: May 03, 2008, 05:26:32 AM »

i don't care for politics, and i can't vote, so i naturally have no opinion one way or another
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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #157 on: May 03, 2008, 05:47:04 AM »

Quote from: 551
You know, I understand what David is trying to say here, but I really can't agree with his last sentence. An educational hierarchy? Please. America's educational standards are eroding faster than its topsoil. Florida is shutting down schools and letting go hundreds of educators to deal with a tight budget. Our education system is so gutted, it's a joke.

You're perfectly correct about our educational system, but Brooks is making a different point: that people with a lot of education have a different world view from those who don't, and that education has become one of the great divides within the Democratic Party. Highly educated Democrats tend to be more liberal and secular than blue collar ones, a fact which can be seen in the political coalitions Clinton and Obama have assembled behind themselves and in how the candidates maneuver for votes. Hillary Clinton, that graduate of Wellesley and Yale, and lawyer by profession, was pumping gas for a trucker and appearing at a John Deere dealership the other day for a reason.
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harihead

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #158 on: May 03, 2008, 02:18:30 PM »

Quote
people with a lot of education have a different world view from those who don't, and that education has become one of the great divides within the Democratic Party.

Yes, very well phrased. My quibble was twofold (and it is just a quibble): first, that this divide is a new thing, and second, that the notion of an educational hierarchy connotes a respect for education that is by no means a normal facet of American life. On the contrary, Americans going back to the pioneers tend to be suspicious of education. Even today, if somebody looks smart, they'd better reach for that beer pretty quick or they will be shunned. Weren't you ever teased at school for being the smart kid? Most Americans hate and fear "smart" people, and education could be a telltale indicator of that (not 100% reliable, but an effective guide).

It's funny, because the Founding Fathers were intellectual snobs (just making my point with a short word) and they did a pretty darned good job of setting up the country. You know, smart people are good for some things. I don't know where we got off on the path of believing smart is bad; you can have smart criminals and dumb criminals, so it wouldn't seem to be a self-protection thing. But at some point the American people decided to celebrate dumb. I think people were actually _pleased_ that GW Bush was a C student (with help). It made him less threatening or more sociable in their minds. Just a good old boy! After seeing the wreck he made of the country, they are now deciding _some_ smarts aren't necessarily bad, but please, let's try to keep it understated and to a minimum!

Am I wrong here? Don't we ridicule smartness with a lot of out geek jokes, or get surly and angry if someone is "talking over our heads"? I just think most Americans want smart people safely tucked away in laboratories making wonder drugs or designing cute gadgets, but don't let them into the "real" world. That is far too threatening to _their_ world view.
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Geoff

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Re: Who should become the next US president?
« Reply #159 on: May 03, 2008, 04:15:46 PM »

I think people were actually _pleased_ that GW Bush was a C student (with help).

It didn't hurt him at election time, that's for sure. Our collective disdain for intellectuals may be a form of vanity, really; most of us want to be exceptional in some sort of way, but we're afraid we're not so we elevate the common as a sort of psychological defense mechanism: it's our way of talking ourselves into accepting our own ordinariness, which we really don't like. As practiced in the mass media, this "ordinary is the best" attitude is usually deeply patronizing to the very people it means to appeal to; just have a look at how your local newspaper is written or what's on a prime time TV schedule. "Dumbing down," a patronizing neologism if their ever was one, is just an I'm-smarter-than-you-are media manager's way of saying that's how you get a larger audience of ordinary people.

Not that intellectuals don't set themselves up for ridicule or worse often enough; political ideologies like socialism and neoconservatism are products of the classroom more than they are real human experience or a consideration of simple facts, and a lot of the literary and drama criticism of the eighties and nineties is so determinedly capital "T" theoretical that its "texts" (a literary theorist's favorite word) very nearly vanish in the fog of their own abstract reasoning. One might hope that more ordinary sorts of people (the best hope here) would be the first to toss all this in Comrade Marx's dustbin of history.  :)
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