Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Right Wing Elites

The Moose wonders whether the right is losing touch with America.

Perhaps the most devastating charge against lefties is that they are cultural elitists who only represent the received wisdom of Hollywood, Harvard and the Hamptons. For the past three decades, the right has thrived on the notion that they represent the people while liberals are out of touch with the wisdom of the common folk.

There is some truth in that accusation but the right also suffers from their own elitist mindset. Of course, the paymasters of the right are the big monied interests who seek to redistribute wealth upwards. The Republican Party is able to strike a populist pose because of their national security credentials and the exploitation of cultural wedge issues.

However, of late, it appears that the right is losing its populist touch. The American people are clearly not buying social security privatization. The propeller heads at the right wing think tanks are evidently no more connected with the folks than their counterparts in the Harvard faculty lounge.

And the Schiavo case reveals a gap between public opinion and the worldview of the Republican social conservatives. Apparently, the religious right is not necessarily more representative of the general population than the "Beserkely" beads and sandals crowd. The right has taken on some of the worst characteristics of the New Left - morally self-righteous, making the personal, political and valuing ends over means. According to the ABC poll, even Evangelicals are almost evenly divided on the Schiavo case.

Conservatives are as intoxicated by power and hubris as liberals once were. Barry Goldwater would hardly recognize this crowd. And should the right lose its populist touch, the conservative moment may not last for much longer.

Trust the people.
-- Posted at 2:30 PM | Link to this post | Email this post