Politics & Media
Apr 24, 2008, 11:25AM

The Need for Elitism

A writer for the Washington Independent places Barack Obama's "elitism" in a historical context, saying that the Illinois senator needs to channel the tough intellect of FDR and Kennedy rather than the down-home appeal of Carter and (Bill) Clinton.

"Sen. Barack Obama's opponents are still working to exploit the flap over his remarks in San Francisco, gleefully labeling him an "elitist."

“'I don't think it helps to divide our country into one America that is enlightened and one that is not,” Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) charged. “If you want to be the president of all Americans, you need to respect all Americans.” Steve Schmidt, an aid for Sen. John McCain, piled on. "It shows an elitism and condescension towards hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking,” he claimed.

"Portraying Obama as a pompous, Harvard-educated elitist, critics have mocked his diction, his manner, even his accent. While it may seem surprising to find a black man from a broken family fighting charges of snobbery, anti-elitism has been a familiar feature of American politics since the Republic’s early days. Since Richard M. Nixon perfected the tactic in the 1960s, it has become a particularly effective tool for derailing liberal Democrats from Northern industrial states. Indeed, since the 1960s, white Southern Baptists who could roll a convincing “y’all” off their tongues have been the only Democrats to capture the White House."



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