Defining ‘elite’

DEFINING ‘ELITE’…. It’s a little jarring to hear John McCain and Sarah Palin complain about “elites.” We are, after all, talking about two wealthy and powerful Republican politicians. And yet, complain they do.

In the second part of his interview with the members of the Republican ticket, NBC’s Brian Williams inquired about exactly who the “elite” are.

“Oh, I guess just people who think that they’re better than anyone else…. So anyone who thinks that they are — I guess — better than anyone else, that’s — that’s my definition of elitism,” Palin replied. […]

“I know where a lot of ’em live,” McCain added with a laugh.

“Where’s that?” Williams asked.

“Well, in our nation’s capital and New York City,” McCain replied. “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 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.”

First, Palin just got finished telling voters that people in small towns are “the best of America,” where people are “patriotic” and “pro-America,” and where “we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans.” Sounds like “elitism” to me.

Second, for all the talk McCain offers about “cocktail parties in Georgetown,” let’s not forget that he’s been a frequent guest at these fancy soirees. The Washington Post’s Sally Quinn, a D.C. socialite, noted recently that McCain has been a regular on the Georgetown party circuit. “I’ve sat next to him many times at dinner parties in Georgetown,” Quinn said. “He’s an absolutely delightful dinner partner.”

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.”