Are We Elitists?

McCain calls Washington residents elitists

In a recent interview with NBC News' Brian Williams, Republican presidential ticket John McCain and Sarah Palin were asked, "Who is a member of the elite?"

Palin said she thinks they are "anyone who thinks that they're better than someone else."

The question was then posed to McCain, who said he knows where a lot of them live.

"Well, in our nation's capital and New York City," he said. "I've seen it. I've lived there. I know the town. I know -- I know what a lot of these elitists are. The ones that she (Palin) never went to a cocktail party with in Georgetown. I'll be very frank with you. Who think that they can dictate what they believe to America rather than let Americans decide for themselves."

So are we elitists?

Some people in Georgetown said they would love to be considered an elitist, but others didn't take it as a compliment.

"I think it's definitely a definition of financial success," one man said.

"I think both candidates have elitist attributes, and neither of them should pretend not to be them," said another woman, who took McCain's remarks as a compliment.

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) told the New York Daily News that McCain wasn't talking about "real New Yorkers."

"He's talking about Park Avenue and the Upper West Side, which is inhabited by the liberal socialites and the media types who, yeah, are certainly elitists," King said.

"Men in Gucci shoes who have seven glass houses should not cast stones," added Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

What does the blogging world think?  Here are a few samples:  According to McCain today, all of us who live in the DC area and New York City are elitists who go to cocktail parties and turn our noses up at "real Americans" - that is, when we're not being attacked by Al Qaeda.

Washington Monthly:  Look, we're talking about a candidate who's been a Washington insider for a quarter of a century, who forgets how many homes he owns, who owns 13 cars, who married into a very wealthy family, and who's an "absolutely delightful dinner partner" in Georgetown. There's nothing especially wrong with any of this, except when he feels justified complaining about the "elites."

It's the Thought that Counts:  My bigger problem here is with the divide between the supposedly good Americans and supposedly bad Americans. Republicans seem to think that the good Americans live in the small towns, with limited education, limited exposure to other countries or cultures or ways of life, and limited sobriety. They all work in manufacturing or construction or farming, and this is good, honest work. They all live in “real America,” the states or districts that are colored red on electoral maps. On the other hand, there are the bad Americans, who live in cities big enough to have more traffic lights than you can count on your fingers, tend to go to college and occasionally travel abroad, and have a wide variety of ethnic background and religious traditions.

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