He Talks Like Us

Noemie Emery on Barry and the “educated classes”:

David Brooks notes that in the last year, something dire has happened: The public has turned decisively against the “educated classes” and all of their works. At the same time, it has also moved against Barack Obama, who began his term with approval ratings that bumped up against 70, and have now sunk to the high to mid-40s, with “strongly disapprove” ratings that rival those of George W. Bush at his worst.

It has also moved strongly against his — and the educated classes’ — ideas. It is more pro-life, more anti-climate change, more free market, less statist, more inclined to favor “harsh” measures against terrorism suspects, more in favor of “waterboarding” the terrorist caught in the brief-bombing effort, more opposed to the closing of Guantanamo Bay.

While the liberal Left controls the White House along with both houses of Congress, the country it governs has moved to the Right. These phenomena are all interrelated: The country is moving Right in reaction to Obama’s theories of governance, and Obama and the educated class are one and the same.

He epitomizes that class and was sold by that class to the country, which purchased the product and has come to regret it. It now wants its money returned…

In a sense, Obama has never been more than his education (Columbia, Harvard), which for some people was more than enough. When Brooks met Obama in 2005, the new senator had no experience and no accomplishments, but he was perfectly briefed in the requisite talking points…

People in newsrooms all over the country decided that someone who talked the way they did was the cure for what ailed the country, and are stunned to find out it is not.

His cosmopolitan cool hasn’t defanged the terrorists, who still want to kill us, disarmed North Korea or derailed Iran’s bomb. His knowledge of Burke hasn’t united the country, which is now more divided and angry than ever.

Obama, Brooks concedes, has “recoiled” the country, but seems at a loss to say why.

Could it be that The One has misjudged both the times and the country?; that he made a strategic mistake in pushing for health care (and a tactical one in trusting the Congress)?; that he created a nightmare for most in his party, who face epic losses this year? Heaven forfend.

To acknowledge this is to indict their own judgment, to face the fact they themselves may be less than insightful, that “talking like us” means next to nothing, and that writing for magazines doesn’t equip one for greatness, or leadership. In fact, it only equips one to write for more magazines.

And what does this say? That our “educated class” is educated beyond its intelligence, and mistakes mastery of its patois and attitude for wisdom and competence.

It is full of itself, and values too highly its skill sets, which are entertaining, but not on the optimum level of consequence. On this optimum level are resolution, moral clarity, and an ability to understand and connect with a great many people, things for which the chattering class is not known.

Or as Harry Reid might have put it, he’s a light-skinned Negro who talks like us. Who could ask for more?

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