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Dems’ Script: People Are Stupid, Republicans Are Ruthless

John on February 5, 2010 at 8:45 am

In today’s column, Charles Krauthammer identifies two memes that are driving Democrats toward electoral suicide:

[D]on’t the Democrats see that clinging to this agenda will march them over a cliff? Don’t they understand Massachusetts?

Well, they understand it through a prism of two cherished axioms: (1) The people are stupid and (2) Republicans are bad. Result? The dim, led by the malicious, vote incorrectly.

Liberal expressions of disdain for the intelligence and emotional maturity of the electorate have been, post-Massachusetts, remarkably unguarded. New York Times columnist Charles Blow chided Obama for not understanding the necessity of speaking “in the plain words of plain folks,” because the people are “suspicious of complexity.” Counseled Blow: “The next time he gives a speech, someone should tap him on the ankle and say, ‘Mr. President, we’re down here.’ “

As I noted the other day in this post, there is support for the idea that many American’s are largely uninformed about the details of politics. Where Dems jump the shark is in equating disinterest with stupidity.

This is an old habit from the party that believes the personal is political, i.e. politics is everything. It never seems to dawn on them that not everyone feels that way, that some people believe they’ll be fine so long as the government leaves them alone. Not only do they not know the name of the current attorney general, they don’t really want to know. More precisely, they don’t want to have to know.

Disinterest has its limits however, as the Democrats are now discovering. The Tea Party movement, fomented by the Dems insistence on a government takeover of health care this summer, is a sign that people who’d rather not care now feel they have no choice. It’s not that they want to get political or be activists in the “community organizer” sense the President was weaned on. But now that government has threatened to intercede in their lives, they’re forced to respond. And their response is to intercede back. We’ve seen the first fruits in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Not surprisingly, the Dems response to the Tea Parties has been more mockery and derision. On the left they are most commonly referred to as “tea-baggers,” another hipper-than-thou put down designed to remind Democrats how much smarter they are than everyone else.

As a Republican, I love this response. In fact, I hope Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann and Newsweek keep pouring it on right through the summer and into the fall. It’s going to make my election night so much more satisfying. Frankly, I don’t think they can stop themselves. This really is part of the Dems political DNA. How do I know?

Because the same two memes Krauthammer identified have a long pedigree on the left. They were memorably captured in one of Democrats favorite fantasy films, The American President. There is a scene in which the President has an argument with his chief of staff that goes like this:

Lewis Rothschild: You have a deeper love of this country than any man I’ve ever known. And I want to know what it says to you that in the past seven weeks, 59% of Americans have begun to question your patriotism.
President Andrew Shepherd: Look, if the people want to listen to-…
Lewis Rothschild: They don’t have a choice! Bob Rumson is the only one doing the talking! People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it they’ll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there’s no water, they’ll drink the sand.
President Andrew Shepherd: Lewis, we’ve had presidents who were beloved, who couldn’t find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flashlight. People don’t drink the sand because they’re thirsty. They drink the sand because they don’t know the difference.

If you read that exchange a few times, you’ll see it’s all there. The elitist contempt for the intelligence of voters who are so dumb they’ll drink sand and the assumption that Republicans [Bob Rumson] are dangerous demagogues with no principles. For Dems, this is literally an old script.

Unfortunately for Rahm Emmanuel and David Axelrod, life doesn’t always turn out like it does in the movies. They don’t get that yet, but they will come November. When it happens, I plan to offer a toast to the wisdom of the American electorate. They may not know the names of every person in Congress, but they are fast remembering who they work for.

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