Sunday, March 07, 2004
Changing the subject
A lot of the Brooks inspired pixel pushing made good points. Some bloggers emphasized that polices matter more than personal wealth, others pointed out that the costs of political campaigns require that successful politicians either be independently wealthy or be willing to be the pawns of those who are.
But if you look at the Brooks essay, it's pretty clear that the real point has nothing to do with the argument presented. Brooks doesn't believe any of the wacky psycho-biological analysis he presents, and he doesn't think that Americans prefer to elect bluebloods.
No, Brooks thinks that American's prefer regular guy Presidents to elitists, and he's found a clever way to talk about all the ways that Kerry is an elitist. So we're treated to an account of Kerry's boyhood in Switzerland, a transcript of his private schooling, and a dollar for dollar accounting of the personal fortunes of his wives.
The essay doesn't say anything at all about the way the Bush family trades influence for power and money. The only evidence that Bush isn't a populist is that he owns a big ranch.
Which brings us to Wal-Mart.
The American Spectator recently published this article about the resistance Wal-Mart has been facing in its attempt to expand into California. The money quote:
BUT THE RELEVANT ISSUE may be that many people in powerful and opinion-shaping positions don't like the company for purely cultural reasons. Wal-Mart cultivates a small-town sensibility, airs hokey commercials, and refuses to cater to Rodeo Drive tastes.
It won't sell racy men's magazines, displays Bibles and popular Christian devotional literature prominently, and sometimes forces music distributors to bleep lyrics if they want to have access to the retailer's massive market. It is the store of NASCAR dads, not NPR moms. With the simple blue aprons, elderly greeters at the doors, and heavily discounted middle end goods, the chain almost revels in its unsophistication.
George Bush might be rich, but he's the kind of red-blooded American who isn't above shopping at Wal-Mart. Kerry, on the other hand, is, "famous for his Christophe haircuts and his Turnbull & Asser shirts." Get it??