Wednesday, November 25, 2020


Charlie Pierce writes:
As El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago's time in office runs out, the habits of sycophancy, while lacking a focus, are still very active among some prominent Republicans. Take, for example, Senator Marco Rubio, somebody who certainly has plans for the future. As was the case with everyone who ran against the president* in 2016, Rubio fell into slavish harness almost immediately. On Tuesday, Rubio showed that his taste for the yoke remains undiminished.
Biden’s cabinet picks went to Ivy League schools, have strong resumes, attend all the right conferences & will be polite & orderly caretakers of America’s decline. I support American greatness. And I have no interest in returning to the ‘normal’ that left us dependent on China.
... That is a very Trumpist pronouncement on an administration that is still two months away from taking over. The sneering at "Ivy League schools" and "the right conferences" is the polite cousin to all those anti-science, anti-expert punchlines that the superspreader crowds sucked up like virus-laden air.
I'm disappointed in Pierce. He's told us for years that Trumpism is not really new -- it evolved from Reaganism. So why doesn't he recognize that while Rubio may be appealing to Trump voters, he's doing so in the same way Republicans have been talking to their base for decades? How is this any different from the way George H.W. Bush characterized immigrants' son Michael Dukakis in a 1988 speech to the Texas Republican Convention?
Vice President Bush today mocked the foreign policy views of Gov. Michael S. Dukakis as "born in Harvard Yard's boutique" ...
This is what they always say about Democrats. It didn't matter then that Bush was an alumnus of Greenwich Country Day School, Phillips Academy, and Yale any more than it matters now that much of the Trump administration is similarly credentialed.

Republicans were calling Barack Obama an "elitist" back when Donald Trump was just another old white guy who watched a lot of Fox News. Here's Jacob Weisberg in 2010:
If there’s one epithet the right never tires of, it’s “elitism.” Republicans are constantly accusing Democrats of it this campaign season, as when Kentucky Senate nominee Rand Paul attacked President Obama as “a liberal elitist ... [who] believes that he knows what is best for people.” ... Other days, they simply lament that the entire country is falling prey to it, as California Senate nominee Carly Fiorina recently did in asserting that “the American Dream is in danger” because of the “elitists” in charge of the government....

Brian Williams ... interviewed John McCain and Sarah Palin together on NBC in 2008 and posed a brilliantly simple question. “Who,” he asked the Republican running mates, “is a member of the elite?”

Palin responded first. “I guess just people who think that they’re better than everyone else,” she said.

McCain then elaborated. “I know where a lot of them live—in our nation’s capital and New York City—the ones [Palin] never went to a cocktail party with in Georgetown—who think that they can dictate what they believe to America rather than let Americans decide for themselves.”

Thus did the son and grandson of admirals, a millionaire who couldn’t remember how many houses he owned, accuse his mixed-race opponent, raised by a single-mother and only a few years past paying off his student loans, of being the real elite candidate in the campaign.
In the tweet Pierce quotes, Rubio did tack on a Trumpian reference to "American greatness," to give it a Trump spin, but the rest of his message is what he would have been saying about Biden's team right now even if Trump had never entered politics. Accusing Democrats of elitism is one of the Republican Party's greatest hits. Trump really hasn't changed the GOP all that much -- as Charlie Pierce knows.

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