Thursday, November 18, 2010

Washington Idiot Punditocracy's Strange Perspective On The American Political Spectrum

In a bizarre twist of innocent self-deluded posturing, the hyper-connected corporatist member of the Washington media elites, Politico, conducted a poll basically of itself, a.k.a the "Washington elites," concluding that they and the "general population" (us), a.k.a the great unwashed rabble, have "dramatically different views about the message of the midterm elections."

Well, I'll be ... Apparently reinforcing their magical mystical collective narratives, the elites imperiously asserted that the badlands outside the fortified beltway in so-called "flyover country" think voters sent a message of  “disapproval of Washington D.C. as a whole,” by a strong 61 percent. Maybe it reflects a bit of smug self-reinforcing arrogance, as though the Washington elites are best defined by those that hate them (the rest of the country) and delight in being despised by their presumed inferiors. Recovering IP member Lawrence O'Donnell seemed to take great pleasure in announcing a show segment featuring the "thousands of people who hate me." A decidedly different tone from his enlightened colleague, Rachel Maddow, who gets "sooo excited" about being loved. (I'm still not sure whether Lawrence's immigration segment was a personal breakthrough of some sort, or he just wanted to hang out with attractive Latinas for the better part of two hours.)

Anyway, the elite-hating rabble decided that only 36 percent of their number had real contempt for Washington D.C., sufficient to take up arms and march on the capital holstering their symbols of overcompensating inadequacy. A more credible 22 percent viewed President Obama and the Democrats with disapproval, in contrast to the elites' ridiculously low 14 percent. Being off by 8 points is one reason these paragons of self-important political punditry are considered, well ... idiots.

At least the "general population" is more honest. If they genuinely do not know something, they keep their mouths shut. A full fifth of the people said they didn't know what message voters were sending. This sampling makes little sense unless the persons polled who answered in this way did not vote. But when it comes to process and creature comforts (economic uncertainty), the Washington elites were substantially less hopeful, by 56 percent, than the general population. This may be due to their understanding that, given current conditions and divided government, gridlock is the most likely outcome until 2012.  At the same time, the degree to which the general population is buffeted by the economy's ill winds is much greater.

We can draw some conclusions from these differing poll results: First, the media elites, the Idiot Punditocracy,  rely heavily on a fabricated reality constructed mostly out of whole cloth to practice their deceptive punditry. They need a "narrative" and a clear road map to ply their trade, without which they will be as lost as everyone else in deciding what to think about these elections. The only problem is, their interpretation of what the public thinks isn't even close.

Secondly, with respect to the President, the elites have drawn completely wrong conclusions. While 74 percent say he must make a major or minor course correction, the country at large is more evenly divided, with 52 percent sharing this view. Add to that the general dissatisfaction from the Left with the President, and this result, as a rejection of his agenda, is a wash. It could be argued that a significant portion of voters were angry at the President for not being bold, or liberal, enough — a real no-no among the elites.

Reinforcing this manufactured conclusion of the Idiot Punditocracy, with 37 percent of the D.C. elites (Chris Matthews prominent among them) believing the President should "move to the middle," a.k.a, become a Clintonian triangulator, only 21 percent of the general population would agree. Again, the message seems to be clear in this respect: If anything, the President has been too timid in pursuing his agenda, and too accomodating to the Republicans.

Where the breakdown in the general population for reducing the deficit and repealing healthcare is 36 percent and 29 percent respectively, while a majority of Americans do not favor repeal, the message to Republicans is unambiguous: Overinterpret the results of this election as a conservative mandate at your own peril. Of course, with so many whack-job wingnuts from the Tea/Republican Party descending on Washington, the Idiot Punditocracy is bound to change with the winds. One thing they are not is a true compass. We can already see the Hill reporters injecting more of the pejorative "Democrat" instead of the proper "Democratic." It may be a small point, but it's an irritant, and a symbol of incipient, disrespectful partisanship.

This cartoon graphic is an accurate representation of how much the center of political gravity has shifted these days. What Chris Matthews disingenuously calls the "center-left" is actually populated by "moderate right-wing" Republicans, like Olympia Snowe. Here Chris will place the Clinton Democrats. The "right-wing right-wing" Republicans is where Boehner and McConnell, and the establishment types go. Finally, the extremist right is reserved for proto-fascists of all sorts. That big black hole from the center-right to the center, center-left, and left is where Chris will dump Keith and Rachel and Ed and "those netroots people," all falsely pigeonholed as the "FAR LEFT." 

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