Thursday, October 14, 2010

What is so bad about elites?

Interesting piece by Clarence Page of the Trib today about the "backlash" against elites.

A few thoughts that come to mind on this are....

Bashing the elite is not something that has magically appeared during this election cycle. There was bashing of Bush for his background 10 years ago and the same was true for his father, however I don't seem to recall much hand wringing about that. Also it seems to me populism and the idea that a candidate 'is one of you' goes at least all the way back to Huey Long

It's election season and most people run for office to win, not to make a good showing. So it makes sense if you are the less educated candidate to try and make the other guys education as disadvantage for him instead of it being a disadvantage for you. One thing you can fix if you are running for office is the fact you didn't go to Harvard, so you can turn this disadvantage into an advantage. Read your Sun Tzu or your Boyd you want to dictate the battle so if you can define your negative as a positive and it will work, you are going to do that.

If you told a candidate that they would win if they dressed up like Batman, you would have a run on Batman costumes. If a message/concept/theme seems to work for one candidate then everyone is going to try it.

Finally, considering how the media and politicians of all stripes have worked to make Wall Street as a generic concept the bad guy in our current economic situation is anyone surprised that this might have had an impact on the perception of elites in general? If you ask an 'average Joe' on the street what is an example of an elite is I suspect you would get a lot of folks saying 'Wall Street Banker'.

Yes anti-intellectualism is dumb, I am not disagreeing with that. I am just trying to point out it's nothing new and it isn't really that surprising.

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