‘Real Americans,’ redux

‘REAL AMERICANS,’ REDUX…. MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski seems to be thoroughly annoyed by the fact that she was criticized yesterday for praising Sarah Palin for her popularity among “real Americans.” Brzezinski went on to complain yesterday that some in the “mainstream media” don’t agree with Palin, but “real” Americans do.

Brzezinski returned to the subject today, clearly feeling vindicated. She pointed to a Gallup poll, released yesterday, showing 39% of respondents saying they feel that they’ve become more conservative in recent years, while 18% have become more liberal, and 42% say their views haven’t changed. Heralding the Gallup poll, Brzezinski told viewers, “I love this story.”

I’m afraid Brzezinski still doesn’t quite understand why what she said yesterday rubbed so many people the wrong way.

The problem was her insistence that Palin supporters are “real Americans.” If you find Palin offensive, Brzezinski argued, you probably live in a place with “liberal elite populations,” which aren’t “representative of America.” The message that Brzezinski delivered, which we’ve heard from many for years, is that those who live in big cities and/or are liberal on social issues may be Americans, and may even be in the majority, but we’re not real Americans.

It’s this culturally divisive arrogance that’s insulting.

And what of the Gallup poll? It’s interesting data, but the political realities haven’t changed. A growing number of Americans may feel like they’re getting more conservative, but these are the same Americans who just elected a Democratic president, a Democratic House, and a Democratic Senate. These are the same Americans who are telling pollsters that their opinion of the Republican Party is in precipitous decline. These are the same Americans who want health care reform, efforts to combat global warming, and a Supreme Court that will leave Roe v. Wade intact.