17 Feb 2008

Skin-Deep Politics

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the liberal’s view of the universe

Frank Rich, spokesman for New York’s intellectually and politically homogeneous Upper West Side, points to diversity of epidural pigmentation in crowds of urban democrats as proof of the intrinsic superiority of Barack Obama and his supporters.

Senator Obama’s televised victory oration celebrating his Chesapeake primary trifecta on Tuesday night was a mechanical rehash. No matter. When the networks cut from the 17,000-plus Obama fans cheering at a Wisconsin arena to John McCain’s victory tableau before a few hundred spectators in the Old Town district of Alexandria, Va., it was a rerun of what happened to Hillary Clinton the night she lost Iowa. Senator McCain, backed by a collection of sallow-faced old Beltway pols, played the past to Mr. Obama’s here and now. Mr. McCain looked like a loser even though he, unlike Senator Clinton, had actually won.

But he has it even worse than Mrs. Clinton. What distinguished his posse from Mr. Obama’s throng was not just its age but its demographic monotony: all white and nearly all male. Such has been the inescapable Republican brand throughout this campaign, ever since David Letterman memorably pegged its lineup of presidential contenders last spring as “guys waiting to tee off at a restricted country club.”

For Mr. McCain, this albatross may be harder to shake than George W. Bush and Iraq, particularly in a faceoff with Mr. Obama. When Mr. McCain jokingly invoked the Obama slogan “I am fired up and ready to go” in his speech Tuesday night, it was as cringe-inducing as the white covers of R & B songs in the 1950s — or Mitt Romney’s stab at communing with his inner hip-hop on Martin Luther King’s birthday. Trapped in an archaic black-and-white newsreel, the G.O.P. looks more like a nostalgic relic than a national political party in contemporary America. A cultural sea change has passed it by.

One reads this sort of thing all the time in leftwing papers expressing the views of the narcissist urban elite. It is the large city, featuring struggling immigrants, lower-class minorities, left wing intellectuals, the Gay community, Bohemian young people (and lots of chic, trendy restaurants) which is the real America… the future! This, of course, is not America. It’s New York City.

Obama can win every single large city, and no one expects a democrat candidate to do anything else, and there is still all that terribly unfashionable, filled with middle-aged white guys, ordinary America, who could care less what the latest thing is, still amply large enough to vote him down. That should be a frustrating thought for Mr. Rich.

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