Excuse me for a moment while I hop my chair and call for disinfectant. That's because I've just glimpsed a stewardess with an uneven college record who might be the next President of the United States. I guess I'm one of those "snobs", those "coastal condescenders" who David Brooks says is "savaging" the faith and family of Sarah Palin:
If I were advising the candidates, I’d tell them to double down on weirdness. Obama needs to occasionally criticize his own side. If he can’t take on his own party hacks, he’ll never reclaim the mantle of systemic change. Specifically, he needs to attack the snobs who are savaging Sarah Palin’s faith and family. Many liberals claim to love working-class families, but the moment they glimpse a hunter with an uneven college record, they hop on chairs and call for disinfectant. Obama needs to attack Bill Maher for calling her a stewardess and the rest of the coastal condescenders.
I welcome a critique from Barack Obama -- of whom I'm no great admirer. But I would strongly advise Obama against "attacking" Bill Maher or anyone else for either their personal or political criticism of Palin. The Alaskan radical is what Hillary might have been to the Republicans -- an energizer of the Democratic political base, a symbol and symptom of everything that is wrong with right-wing libertarian political culture in the United States. Palin will win the election for the Democrats. She is Obama's tipping point because the majority of American voters are smart, rationale human beings who will not be seduced by her dangerous libertarian utopianism.
David Brooks says that weirdness will win in "08. Thus the weirder, the more surprising the candidate's change message, the better their chances. He says that Obama's focus on "policy change" could be trumped by the McCain emphasis on "systematic change":
Now the campaign has become a battle between two different definitions of change. The Obama camp has become the champion of policy change — after eight years of failed Bush-McCain policies, it is time for different, Democratic ones. The McCain campaign is the champion of systemic change — after two decades of bickering and self-dealing, its time to shake up the whole system in order to get things done.
Shaking up the whole system... This the new revolutionary doctrine of the masses. It's marxism for stewardesses.
And what, exactly, is the manifesto of this stewardess marxism? Does this mean a Che Guevara style revolution fought from the shopping malls of middle America? Does it mean tearing up the American constitution and replacing it with an communist bill of consumer rights? Does it mean blowing up our historic representative democracy -- America's brilliantly successful Madisonian system which is unashamedly based upon interest group politics? None of the above, of course. The McCain-Palin systemic change message is call-in radio style populist ranting against lobbyists, earmarkers and other pantomine style inside-the-beltway villains. They've no concrete proposals for changing America except doing nothing while offering vague threats against nefarious yet nebulous enemies. It's the message of call-in radio blowhards who think that if they scream loud enough into their mobile telephones their taxes will be eliminated and they will all live happily-ever-after in a government-free utopia.
My advice to Obama is to be a sensible grown-up rather than a weirdo. He needs to remind Americans that there is only ONE kind of change possible in America in 2008 -- that's policy change carried out by professional politicians. Just as one eats when one is hungry and one takes aspirin when one has a headache, so politics requires policy change when -- as 80% of Americans now correctly realize -- government doesn't work as well as it should. All else, I'm afraid, is the marxism of stewardesses.