The frustration that voters are expressing in 2010 goes much deeper than specific policies. At a more fundamental level, voters just don’t believe politicians are interested in the opinions of ordinary Americans.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 68% believe the nation’s Political Class doesn’t “care what most Americans think.” Only 15% believe the Political Class is interested in the views of those they are supposed to serve. Another 17% are not sure.
Skepticism about the Political Class interest in voters is found across just about all demographic and partisan groups. However, self-identified liberals are evenly divided on the question. Eighty-eight percent (88%) of conservatives and 64% of moderates reject the notion that the Political Class cares.
Adults over 40 are more skeptical than younger adults about the Political Class. But even among voters under 30, nearly half (47%) don’t think the Political Class cares what most Americans think. Only 18% of these younger voters think the Political Class does care, while 35% are not sure.(Rasmussen)
America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution
By Angelo M. Codevilla from the July 2010 – August 2010 issue American Spectator
As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review magazine (and the Wall Street Journal) on the right to the Nation magazine on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors’ “toxic assets” was the only alternative to the U.S. economy’s “systemic collapse.” In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some 10 trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets’ nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America. The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one.
When this majority discovered that virtually no one in a position of power in either party or with a national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted by people who had not read them, the term “political class” came into use. Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public’s understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the “ruling class.” And in fact Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class.
Although after the election of 2008 most Republican office holders argued against the Troubled Asset Relief Program, against the subsequent bailouts of the auto industry, against the several “stimulus” bills and further summary expansions of government power to benefit clients of government at the expense of ordinary citizens, the American people had every reason to believe that many Republican politicians were doing so simply by the logic of partisan opposition. After all, Republicans had been happy enough to approve of similar things under Republican administrations. Differences between Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas are of degree, not kind. Moreover, 2009-10 establishment Republicans sought only to modify the government’s agenda while showing eagerness to join the Democrats in new grand schemes, if only they were allowed to. Sen. Orrin Hatch continued dreaming of being Ted Kennedy, while Lindsey Graham set aside what is true or false about “global warming” for the sake of getting on the right side of history. No prominent Republican challenged the ruling class’s continued claim of superior insight, nor its denigration of the American people as irritable children who must learn their place. The Republican Party did not disparage the ruling class, because most of its officials are or would like to be part of it.
Never has there been so little diversity within America’s upper crust. Always, in America as elsewhere, some people have been wealthier and more powerful than others. But until our own time America’s upper crust was a mixture of people who had gained prominence in a variety of ways, who drew their money and status from different sources and were not predictably of one mind on any given matter. The Boston Brahmins, the New York financiers, the land barons of California, Texas, and Florida, the industrialists of Pittsburgh, the Southern aristocracy, and the hardscrabble politicians who made it big in Chicago or Memphis had little contact with one another. Few had much contact with government, and “bureaucrat” was a dirty word for all. So was “social engineering.” Nor had the schools and universities that formed yesterday’s upper crust imposed a single orthodoxy about the origins of man, about American history, and about how America should be governed. All that has changed.
Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters — speaking the “in” language — serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America’s ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. It rules uneasily over the majority of Americans not oriented to government.
The two classes have less in common culturally, dislike each other more, and embody ways of life more different from one another than did the 19th century’s Northerners and Southerners — nearly all of whom, as Lincoln reminded them, “prayed to the same God.” By contrast, while most Americans pray to the God “who created and doth sustain us,” our ruling class prays to itself as “saviors of the planet” and improvers of humanity. Our classes’ clash is over “whose country” America is, over what way of life will prevail, over who is to defer to whom about what. The gravity of such divisions points us, as it did Lincoln, to Mark’s Gospel: “if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
The ruling class had sunk deep roots in America over decades before 2008. Machiavelli compares serious political diseases to the Aetolian fevers — easy to treat early on while they are difficult to discern, but virtually untreatable by the time they become obvious.
Its attitude is key to understanding our bipartisan ruling class. Its first tenet is that “we” are the best and brightest while the rest of Americans are retrograde, racist, and dysfunctional unless properly constrained.
When Woodrow Wilson in 1914 was asked “can’t you let anything alone?” he answered with, “I let everything alone that you can show me is not itself moving in the wrong direction, but I am not going to let those things alone that I see are going down-hill.”
Sound Familiar? It’s for your own good. “I” know better…
March 17,2010: President Barack Obama said he’s confident his health-care plan will pass Congress because it’s “the right thing to do” for the country and that he isn’t concerned about criticism of Democratic legislative tactics.
And anytime this President says he is putting aside politics (for any reason) I want to reach for the barf bag.
As the saying goes, they came to Washington to do good, and stayed to do well.
Confident “knowledge” that “some of us, the ones who matter,” have grasped truths that the common herd cannot, truths that direct us, truths the grasping of which entitles us to discount what the ruled say and to presume what they mean, made our Progressives (the worst form of Liberal Democrats) into a class long before they took power.
Our ruling class’s agenda is power for itself. While it stakes its claim through intellectual-moral pretense, it holds power by one of the oldest and most prosaic of means: patronage and promises thereof. Like left-wing parties always and everywhere, it is a “machine,” that is, based on providing tangible rewards to its members. Such parties often provide rank-and-file activists with modest livelihoods and enhance mightily the upper levels’ wealth. Because this is so, whatever else such parties might accomplish, they must feed the machine by transferring money or jobs or privileges — civic as well as economic — to the party’s clients, directly or indirectly.
Which is why before this blog on chat rooms during the 2006 Congressional and 2008 Presidential campaigns and the Democrats only real thought was to harp on Republican “corruption” I said repeatedly, they just want to replace the republican corruption with their corruption.
Switch out the cronies.
And that’s what we have. You have to be a minority and/or a union worker to get anything from this administration besides the back of their hand.
If you’re rich and successful, you are a demon, unless the government “deems” you useful or wants to take over your business that is.
Like Fannie and Freddie who were excluded from Financial Reform.
The Trial Lawyers were excluded from Health Care Reform.
Both are cronies of the government and the Trial Lawyers are the biggest cronies of Liberals.
As I said last week in a blog, the Liberals love to sue you into submission.
Rasmussen: “The American people don’t want to be governed from the left, the right or the center. The American people want to govern themselves,” says Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports. “The American attachment to self-governance runs deep. It is one of our nation’s cherished core values and an important part of our cultural DNA.”
But self-governed people are bad for the government busy bodies and their cronies who want to run your life for you because you’re an idiot and can’t do it for yourself.
They just know deep down, you’re a moron and they have to take care of you.
So Let Them Eat Cake! 🙂
Oh, sorry, Cake is politically incorrect because it has so much sugar in it and that’s bad for you.
So let them Eat Cookies.
Nope, not that either, cookies are the spawn of the devil and lead to bad health habits…
So Let them Eat Tofu!
Without any help it’s flavorless, bland, or not very appetizing.