Newt’s Demagogic Fight Against “Elitists”

One of the most ridiculous elements of the right’s terminally ridiculous political discourse is the constant invective thrown at “elitists” by those who are, by any sane definition, among the most powerful, well-connected and wealthy candidates imaginable. Bill Maher took on Newt Gingrich over this brilliantly.

I had somehow missed Newt going after those Manhattan elitists who ride the subway. It’s like he’s a walking Onion article, for crying out loud. But he actually did say it.

httpv://youtu.be/PsTQNR_MlIo

About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • exdrone

    Secretly, Newt does ride the subway, and when he does, he closes his eyes and pretends he’s riding a monorail through the glass-domed US colony on the moon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kitwalker1990 chriswalker

    Yes, damn those elite people who use public transit.

  • Sastra

    “Elitists” don’t just use the subway: I’ve heard they’ve even ridden on escalators.

    Fancy-schzmancy, la-di-da, paaaaarh-don ME.

  • Trebuchet

    Spambot on #1!

    To Newt and the gang, “Elites” are fabuously wealthy college professors, tooling around NY or CA in their Mercedes. The actual elites are “job creators”. Of course most of the jobs they create are in China, but who cares?

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    Those nefarious elites thought they could fool Newt by trading in their Cadillacs for the paradise that is public transit.

  • Rasmus Odinga Gambolputty de von Ausfern….of Ulm

    To be fair, Newt was talking about the secret subway- single passenger gold plated trains that are whisked through the secret underground on the backs of puppies. That’s what the elitists use, and Newt is probably being reprimanded right now for even vaguely mentioning its existence.

  • dingojack

    I wanna thank Bill for acknowledging our role in making babies vaguely interesting, also Lindy, for providing the delicious snacks.

    Thanks, you’re both been great!

    :) Dingo

  • http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/ Ophelia Benson

    Why does this work? How do they get away with it? I’ve never understood it, and believe me I’ve tried.

  • D. C. Sessions

    I think Newt has been listening to too much Donald Fagen.

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    You know who else supported public transit?

    That’s right ………

    Saul Alinsky!

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Newt is just what America needs: an anti-elitist with a half-mil tab at Tiffany’s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1360322113 aaronbaker

    Well, in fairness to Gingrich, he did use the French word for subway: riding the metro sure sounds elitist, n’est-ce pas?

  • Michael Heath

    Ophelia Benson:

    Why does this work? How do they get away with it? I’ve never understood it, and believe me I’ve tried.

    It’s in our DNA. At our founding the elitists were supposedly Federalists, where southern plantation owners and populists populated that era’s Republican party. The logical fallacy regarding which party had the elitists was just as absurd then, e.g., Thomas Jefferson and James Madison being exemplars of Republican political leaders.

  • laurentweppe

    Well, in fairness to Gingrich, he did use the French word for subway: riding the metro sure sounds elitist, n’est-ce pas?

    Well, in Soviet France, the current conservative president ran his previous campain by pretending that he was on the same side than Subway Riders. I know: this boggles the mind.

  • http://www.rodlamkey.net reverendrodney

    That must have been Newt’s grandpaw leaning against the mule barn back in Georgia and complaining about the elitists going west on Highway 66 from Oklahoma… you know, riding in them new fangled auto-mo-biles heading for California.

    And Newt himself must mean the elitist pedestrian brown baggers who walk past Tiffany’s without looking in the window.

  • jerthebarbarian

    Ophelia Benson @8 –

    Why does this work? How do they get away with it? I’ve never understood it, and believe me I’ve tried.

    First of all, you need to remember that this isn’t a plain-vanilla version of English that is being spoken. There’s the English, and then there’s a veneer of codewords that you need to be immersed in the society to truly understand. It’s much like talking on a forum on the Intertoobz, except that instead of having to know what “LOL” and “WTF” mean, you need to know what words like “elitist” and “states rights” mean.

    In this case, “elitist” means “coastal city dweller”. It doesn’t have anything to do with actual “elite” status – much like Newt and company bandying about the word “Communist” usually has little to do with historical Communism.

    And why does it work? Well, out here in America’s Heartland ™, we have a long, long history of feeling inferior to the coasts. It goes way back – the folks who settled out here in Ohio, for example, were mostly folks who couldn’t make a successful life for themselves in the original 13 colonies. And nowadays everyone talks about how the kids are fleeing the state for, you guessed it, the coasts. So the inferiority complex perpetuates itself as we elected politician after politician who play to the inferiority complex to get elected, thereby reinforcing the complex for the next generation (in essence we have entire states making dumb decisions based on collective low self esteem).

  • Artor

    @ Rasmus Odinga Gambolputty de von Ausfern….of Ulm

    You sir, win the Internet. Her is your pass to the secret subway. All the puppies are purebred, of course, and fed on veal and paté. We have local school children to clean up the mess afterwards.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    One of the most ridiculous elements of the right’s terminally ridiculous political discourse is the constant invective thrown at “elitists” by those who are, by any sane definition, among the most powerful, well-connected and wealthy candidates imaginable.

    More importantly, their politics are dedicated almost without exception to the interests of the rich, the powerful, and the privileged. And they never hesitate to tell us how wonderful the wealthy are, how we need to worship them for giving us a job, and how the poor are a bunch of scum-sucking parasites. That is the actual meaning of elitism.

    If people simply voted their self-interest, the Republicans would get creamed in every election. Getting to 50% of the vote means lots of lying, demagoguery, and fomenting cultural resentment. Hence, redirecting class anger away from the actual elites who run the country and onto educated, middle class liberals who live on the coasts.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    He forgot to mention those college professors with $500,000 lines of credit at Tiffany’s.

  • vmanis1

    You know who else was really big into public transit? Hitler.

  • Aquaria

    You know who else supported public transit?

    That’s right ………

    Saul Alinsky!

    And George Soros!

    And Al Gore!

    And, when you really want to make the conservatards lose it:

    Bill Clinton!

  • keansimmons

    laurentweppe wrote:

    Well, in Soviet France, the current conservative president ran his previous campain by pretending that he was on the same side than Subway Riders. I know: this boggles the mind.

    Perhaps, English is not your primary language, if that is the case, then you can be forgiven for your mangling of it…but what really boggles the mind is how than makes any sense in your sentence. Soviet France? Never heard of it. Campain? Is that a sparkling wine region in Soviet France? Where you’re from is Subway Riders considered a proper noun to be capitalized?

  • Chiroptera

    keansimmons, #22: Perhaps, [sic] English is not your primary language….

    Hip tip: if you are going to complain about someone else’s grammar, spelling, or punctuation mistakes, you’d best make sure yours is absolutely perfect.

    Otherwise you just look like a tool.

  • Chiroptera

    P.S. I meant my last comment as a laugh we can all share.

    Me, I’m pretty a bad offender myself when it comes to over-using commas.

  • http://inmyunbelief.wordpress.com TCC (fka The Christian Cynic)

    That comma is the least of keansimmons’s grammatical problems: the first sentence is a comma splice, and the last sentence is ordered atrociously (I almost wonder if the awkward syntax was an attempt to avoid a terminating preposition with “where you’re from,” which would be amusing). And then there’s the fact that “Soviet France” was pretty obviously an ironic usage. (Incidentally, laurentweppe is a non-native English speaker, IIRC, although there has never been an issue in comprehending his comments for me at all.)

    The comment only focused on style, not content, and then failed at that. Pretty sad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/connorbd BrianX

    Aquaria:

    If you ask me, the only proper response to mentioning George Soros in a tinfoil sort of way is “So what’s wrong with that?”

  • Moggie

    I don’t think keansimmons is aware of all Internet traditions.

  • Tyrant of Skepsis

    America, what a country!

    In America, folksy millionaires blame poor elitists for riding the subway. In Soviet France, socialist millionaire elitists own the subway!

  • baz1

    Isn’t complaining about “elites” ironically quite a “Socialist” way of behaving……….

  • matty1

    In America, folksy millionaires blame poor elitists for riding the subway. In Soviet France, socialist millionaire elitists own the subway!

    In Soviet France subway rides you!

  • matty1

    I’ll say it again, all these pronouncements against the poor by Republican politicians show that they don’t even know what poverty is. They cannot conceive of someone not having all the money they want so assume the difference must be that the source of money for the poor is illegitimate.

  • tbp1

    And this is someone with a Ph.D. in the completely practical and down-to-earth discipline of European history, whose dissertation was on the totally mundane and non-esoteric topic of education policy in the Belgian Congo.

    And a former college professor, to boot. Maybe his bitterness about “elites” stems from his inability to get tenure at a 3rd- or 4th-tier college.

  • Jordan Genso

    The conservatives have created a doppleganger english, where the words look the same, but they mean something completely different.

  • longstreet63

    I dunno. It looks more and more like Newt and Santorum have a bet with Romney about who can say the most ridiculous things before they lose all support.

    AFter all, they know The Money will have Romney nominated, so why not enjoy yourself trying to keep a straight face?

    I presume the rules prevent hiring writers from The Onion.

  • coryat

    Homer: Hmm. I wonder why he’s so eager to go to the garage?

    Moe: The “garage”? Hey fellas, the “garage”! Well, ooh la di da, Mr. French Man.

    Homer: Well what do you call it?

    Moe: A car hole!

  • jnorris

    Do you know what other cities have subways? Paris FRANCE and Moscow RUSSIA!! IIRC, the Moscow subway was built while Khruschev was head of the Party in Moscow city and province.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    I can only stay for a few moments as I am being monitored by the nefarious forces of teh EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEvil but I’m just gonna say that Newturd is subway ridin’ what I am to the monied elites.