Just wanted to revisit the Brown campaign’s “elitist” line of attack against Elizabeth Warren. Gosh, I hope they keep it up; I hope they use that line every day and twice on Sundays.
Because when they bring it up, it prompts one to ask:
- What does “elitist” mean?
- Is Warren more or less “elitist” than Brown? and,
- Is it actually important who is more or less “elitist”?
The Brown campaign is blowing the Newt Gingrich/Howie Carr whistle for “elitism”. It is a cultural distinction, saying that this person isn’t like you and me, and that they want to tell you what to do. Gingrich popularized the “liberal elite” idea, in order to mask policies that keep wages down and profits up. Howie uses it to tell people that someone else, someone less deserving, is eating their tax-money lunch. Scott Brown’s camp raises money off of the fear of “insiders, celebrities, elites, occupiers, leftists” who support Warren. (He neglected to mention the opera singers. Wah!)
But when one tries to cleave the electorate, one should be certain that one will retain the bigger chunk.
(Remember this one?)
We, on the other hand, define elitism as economic: If you continue to favor policies that massively favor a rich minority over the interests of a vast majority, that’s elitist — or plutocratic, if you like.
When someone blows the elitist whistle, we ask immediately, reflexively — “Where’s the money?” Who’s asking? Says who? On whose behalf?
The Brown campaign’s “elitist” line is a tell, revealing several of their fears: They know that Elizabeth Warren’s middle-class bona-fides are sterling. Fighting for middle class interests against those who would exploit them for profit is her background, it’s her passion, it’s her life’s work, and her reason for running.
And they wish to change the subject from Brown’s multiple votes against the vast majority in favor of the wealthy:
- Voting to continue tax subsidies for obscenely profitable oil companies;
- Voting against the Buffett Rule, defending a tax system in which those who have a lot must give less of it than those who have little;
- Defunding youth jobs because we supposedly can’t afford them, while keeping the above tax breaks in place;
- Waxing eloquent over the need to put unemployment benefits “on the checking account”, while keeping tax breaks for the rich and oil companies “on the credit card”.
Just read these remarks from Brown’s spokesman, and you’ll get an idea of the mentality at work:
“Senator Brown supports the federal funding for summer job programs as long as they are paid for in a fiscally responsible way, without adding to the trillions in national debt,’’ Donnelly wrote. “Senator Brown believes job creation starts at home, with neighbors helping neighbors, and that’s why he’s hosted three jobs fairs in Massachusetts.’’
Ah, I see. It was the kids’ summer jobs programs that’s responsible for the trillions in debt? Not two lousy wars and endless tax favoritism for those who have the most?
They are running scared. They are afraid that when Warren matches her record and agenda up against Scott Brown’s, particularly when it comes to helping the middle class get a fair shake, Brown will get spanked, and handily. They’re walking right into it.
So let’s hope that this election turns on the “elitism” issue — It’s about time!