On Elitism

Politicians are not normal people. It takes a special kind of person to run for office, one with an incredible amount of confidence- “arrogance”, if you will- and a belief that they are the best person for the job at which so many have had problems. For these reasons alone, it is ridiculous to for a candidate- running for president, no less- to call another candidate “elitist.” Of course he is elitist. So are you. I am, of course, not referring to any two candidates in particular.

The most comical part of this whole exchange has been the comments leading up to it.

1) In a forum at Saddleback Church in Southern California a couple of days ago, when asked what he considered “rich,” John McCain responded that the term can be applied to anyone who makes more than FIVE MILLION DOLLARS a year.

2) Today, when asked how many houses he owns, he responded that he didn’t know and “would have his staff get back” to the inquiring reporter

3) When Obama started using the “houses” statement in ads, McCain’s spokesman responded:

Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses? Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people “cling” to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who’s in touch with regular Americans?

By 100% non-partisan logic, therefore, Barack Obama is not rich, but by virtue of “only” making $4 million a year, just middle class. What kind of elitist does that make him?

So Obama isn’t rich, and McCain has so many houses that he can’t keep track. Which sounds more elitist to you?

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1 Comment

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One response to “On Elitism

  1. I agree that politicians aren’t ordinary people, and being “out of touch” is a mostly distractor issue. It’s very possible for people to not empathize with the suffering but still do a decent job. FDR, for example, came from a wealthy Northeastern family but he didn’t leave his countrymen to the free market. There’s also the occasional self-made man or woman who thinks that they became successful purely off their own merit, and don’t donate a dime to charity.

    I think that candidates who had normal life experiences, even with extraordinary lives, are more likely to be better Presidents since they understand the people they serve better, but understanding ordinary folk is not a prerequisite for being a good President.

    However, though Obama’s rich now too, his life experience is in no way comparable to McCain’s. He’s not the son of an admiral nor the son of a President. He didn’t marry into wealth nor inherit it. His father didn’t bail him out with an automatic job as a pilot or a businessman after barely graduating from the Naval Academy or Yale.

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