One of my biggest pet peeves with liberals – the egg head variety – is the association of intelligence with competence for political office. This is very common on HuffPo with Sarah Palin, and we get that now with RoJo with the Feingold loss.
I thought Feingold was a wonderful Senator but that he was a Rhodes Scholar is totally irrelevant. I would argue he was able to maintain his grounded roots in spite of his elitist education. I will miss him dearly for specific policy decisions not that he was or wasn’t smarter than RoJo.
Maybe its because most progressives tend to be the younger side I don’t know, but associating intellect and politics brings up a very strong class frame. Intellect = Education = class membership. The Social Sciences have long – often wrongly – associated education with a class position. So much so that attaining a certain amount of education automatically gives one a membership card to the middle class.
My big point here is intellect always brings forth education which brings for economic privilege. Working class whites are more similar in education attainment to African Americans or Hispanics than middle / upper class whites. The point being a majority of the population does not go to college and when liberals invoke the intellect frame they are alienating many potential voters.
Republicans know this, Republicans exploit this time and again. Liberals like buffoons fall for this time and again. There was Ronald Reagan, that hick from California. Oh yes, then GW who was perfectly elegant during the Governor debates suddenly had gaffe over gaffe during the 2000 election.
Oh yes, Egghead Liberals had a heyday with this, so much so that they ran an articulate, upper class, Bostonian liberal against him in 2004. Liberals need to realize that “intellect” is code for elite. When you pull the intellect card you automatically give the rich Republican a free ride.
It allows folks to pretend that the rich guy is a little more like them than the egghead liberal. The intellect slam at the rich is underneath a slam at every farmer, construction worker, waitress, laborer who works their ass off but never had an opportunity to go to college.