Wednesday, June 30, 2004

She Shoots ... She Scores!

We can only hope that Tom's vacation transforms into retirement. Barbara Ehrenreich hits a grand slam her first time out. Okay enough of the sports analogies but she writes a crisp essay denouncing one of my personal pet peeves ...the liberal label. Here's an excerpt but go read the whole thing.
You can call Michael Moore all kinds of things -loudmouthed, obnoxious and self-promoting, for example. The anorexic Ralph Nader, in what must be an all-time low for left-wing invective, has even called him fat. The one thing you cannot call him, though, is a member of the "liberal elite.
My point is not to defend Moore, who — with a platoon of bodyguards and a legal team starring Mario Cuomo — hardly needs any muscle from me. I just think it's time to retire the "liberal elite" label, which, for the past 25 years, has been deployed to denounce anyone to the left of Colin Powell. Thus, last winter, the ultra-elite right-wing Club for Growth dismissed followers of Howard Dean as a "tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show." I've experienced it myself: speak up for the downtrodden, and someone is sure to accuse you of being a member of the class that's doing the trodding.
Beyond that, the idea of a liberal elite nourishes the right's perpetual delusion that it is a tiny band of patriots bravely battling an evil power structure. Note how richly the E-word embellishes the screeds of Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly and their co-ideologues, as in books subtitled "Rescuing American from the Media Elite," "How Elites from Hollywood, Politics and the U.N. Are Subverting America," and so on. Republican right-wingers may control the White House, both houses of Congress and a good chunk of the Supreme Court, but they still enjoy portraying themselves as Davids up against a cosmopolitan-swilling, corgi-owning Goliath.
It's true that there are plenty of working-class people — though far from a majority — who will vote for Bush and the white-tie crowd that he has affectionately referred to as his "base." But it would be redundant to speak of a "conservative elite" when the ranks of our corporate rulers are packed tight with the kind of Republicans who routinely avoid the humiliating discomforts of first class for travel by private jet.

So liberals can take comfort from the fact that our most visible spokesman is, despite his considerable girth, an invulnerable target for the customary assault weapon of the right. I meant to comment on his movie, too, but the lines at my local theater are still prohibitively long.[Nitpicker emphasis]
Is anyone missing Tom yet? Sadly, No! [Hat tip to Seb for my theft]


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