A couple of questions: One, what the hell kind of clout* do you have to have to score sheets of uncut one-dollar bills to use as wrapping paper? And, two, what the hell kind of nerve does it take to turn around (careful not to hit the racks of shoes or furs!) and complain that Barack Obama is elitist (technically, "too glitzy")?
(* Apparently it doesn't take that much clout. But still, wrapping presents in dollar bills bespeaks an elitist attitude, no? Via Dover Bitch via digby.)
This goes beyond stupid attacks on Barack Obama for visiting his grandmother (who does, yes, live in Hawaii--so do 1.3 million other Americans, including Obama's sister and her family). The current dumbness we see from the right in these attacks is part of a calculated, decades-long strategy to paint the Democrats, traditionally the party of labor (not capital) and minorities (not majorities) and a variety of other traditionally downtrodden groups, as the party of the crusty uppers.
You can trace the up-is-downism back through the last several presidential campaigns. Consider that the right seemed to take the most glee in attacking John Edwards (son of a millworker, you might recall) not for his politics but for his haircut--and I bet you a nickel you know how much that haircut cost, even though I didn't bother to remind you. The right also went after Edwards's house which, you won't be surprised to know, is larger than average. And what's John Edwards driving? An SUV? No real Americans drive SUVs, only elites!
They did it to Howard Dean, no poor man, of course, but he owned about ten fewer houses than John McCain and had been CEO of nothing, ever. John Kerry made his name originally representing the saltiest of the salt of the earth, US soldiers back from Vietnam who lacked the megaphone Kerry could command. Unfortunately, Kerry also made it relatively easy for the right to ply the elitist attack.
They did it to Al Gore who, as the son of a US Senator did indeed start a few yards ahead of the rest of us. But Gore, like Kerry, had devoted a lifetime to public service, and they were running against a man who had been given company after company to ruin as CEO in the business world. Gore and Kerry volunteered for service in Vietnam, and their opponent had strings pulled to avoid combat overseas. Yet the combat-avoiding former CEO was the man of the people in both of those elections, according to the right.
Now that Obama has the nod from the Democrats, the attack shifted naturally his way. The boy who was dragged around the world by an often-single parent, then scholarshipped into a prep school that changed his life for the better is the elite, they say. Never mind the couple with eight or nine or ten (is McCain even sure?) houses and $500 shoes, no, it's the Obamas, whose mortgage on their only house is about the size of Cindy McCain's Visa bill, who are the elites.
There are two words I would like to say to the people who advance that argument; this is a family blog, though, so I cannot. But there is no current issue that shows just how low, just how evil, the right-wing message machine has become than this. How anyone with an ounce of dignity can repeat such lies, I will never understand.
And yet it works: The Brawler, in a post earlier today, connects some related dots: Poor and minorities being sought out by those seeking their participation in the political process is a danger and it demands regulation, the right says. But any requirements that corporations try not to, you know, kill people is outrageous overreach.
Emily Mills has more dots: Pro-urban people who advocate for a clean environment, affordable green housing, and low-cost public transportation are labeled elitist by suburb-dwelling, bus-hating gas-hogs.
digby (is there nothing she cannot do?) connects more dots: The Bush administration will not allow anyone, not even the Secretary of State of Connecticut, into federally financed homes or rehab centers to register voters.
Update, to add another, for kicks: The Republicans, the party of heartland values, are having a hard time getting their people to visit the heartland: "In 2004, D.C.-based conventioneers could zip in and out of New York City by train. The 2000 convention in Philadelphia was an even shorter ride. St. Paul, by contrast, requires a flight halfway across the country from Washington [. . .]. That’s asking a lot of attendees, some of whom question whether, as a destination, the Twin Cities will be worth the aggravation."
And if I wanted to stay up all night, I could find dozens more examples of the right and the GOP finding ways to shut out middle-class, poor, and disadvantaged Americans from public life or from what they need to survive (like food, f'rinstance--remember the "riot" in Milwaukee last June?). And while the left hand does that, the right hand tells all those same people, It's the Democrats who don't like you and will screw you. Vote for John McNormal, and never mind how many private jet rides he takes.
It's abhorrent. It's shameful. And yet it is the GOP's top strategy right now for this fall's election. In a sane world, they would not get a single vote. In this world, they will get almost half.