Finally, oh thank God finally, the Washington media elite is making it easy. Usually, D.C.'s professional pundits, pontificators and partisan puppets very carefully package their language to hide their real motives and their real beliefs. But this week following the primary defeat of Sen. Joe Lieberman by first-time candidate Ned Lamont, America is witnessing a good-old-fashioned watershed moment: the perfume is off, the restraint is removed, and the ugly, rancid, sweaty-lockerroom stench of truth is there for all of us commoners to waft. Sniff up, contain your dry heaving, and you will finally understand that all the talk of the Establishment's disdain for ordinary citizens is not just talk or conspiracy theory - it's very real, and very powerful.
Take, for instance, New York Times columnist David Brooks's piece yesterday - it is arguably the most brazen admission of elite disdain for democracy that has ever been printed in a major American newspaper. Before you dismiss that as hyperbole, read the third line of Brooks' piece:
"Polarized primary voters shouldn't be allowed to define the choices in American politics."
Yes, you read that correctly: According to one of the most prominent columnists in America, "voters shouldn't be allowed to define the choices in American politics." Sure, he tries to couch his statement by targeting "polarized primary voters" (because, of course, in the world of David Brooks - a chickenhawk who avoided military service himself but aggressively pushed the Iraq War - the 60 percent of Americans who are now "polarized" in opposition to the war should have their voting rights immediately revoked). But his underlying message is, again, right there in black and white: "Voters shouldn't be allowed to define the choices in American politics." Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the first major American newspaper columnist to officially go on record publicly demanding that American democracy be substitued with dictatorship - and one undoubtedly run by a small, bodyguarded council, cloistered in a luxury Manhattan high-rise, made up of David Brooks, a few of his country-club golfing buddies and maybe - if Davey decides billionaire Tom Friedman is deserving enough - a few other select New York Times columnists.
But no, folks, it gets better. Brooks goes on to offer up the transparently dishonest claim that "Lamont's voters are rich." As evidenced by its repitition, this lie is clearly a talking point crafted right in the Republican National Committee headquarters, Joe Lieberman's campaign offices - or most likely, both. For instance, right-wing pundit Michael Barone wrote in the Wall Street Journal today that Lamont did not win "the lunch-bucket working class" in Connecticut, but instead was propelled to victory by "the secular transnational professional class" - an attempt, like Brooks, to portray Lamont's victory as just a product of a few wealthy limousine liberal voters. Barone then tops off his tirade with an attack on Lamont, for being "one of several members of a Democratic caucus who have made, inherited or married big money." Barone anger at Lamont for this doesn't seem to be tempered by the fact that Barone himself became famous for marrying into the billionaire Shorenstein family.
How do we know this is a lie? Just take a look at the results. Lamont not only won 7 out of 8 of Connecticut's counties, but he specifically won the poorest, most working-class areas of the state. For instance, Lamont won New Haven. That's not only Lieberman's hometown, but also "the seventh poorest community in the United States," according to the Department of Education, where "one out of every four citizens lives in poverty," according to the Yale Daily News. Lamont also won Hartford, the second-poorest city in America - one the American City Business Journals recently noted "is burdened with more socioeconomic stress than any other major city in the United States." It's possible that Brooks and Barone's only firsthand knowledge of Connecticut is their treks circumventing these working-class bastions and heading to the state's lavish vacation spots - but more likely, they knew what the results meant, but deliberately decided to ignore the facts.
Finally, there was ABC News political director Mark Halperin appearing on Charlie Rose's PBS show doing his best, funniest, most slapstick stand-up comic routine - only he was being deadly serious and thinking he was making a very astute point, while everyone was likely laughing. He eagerly declared as fact that "every Democrat who is prominent now...the Republicans have succeeded in defining as weak, Jane Fonda-type Democrats." Halperin - the guy who brags to Washington insiders about how much of a genius he is for supposedly possessing up-to-the-minute knowledge of all political news, polling and data - made this comment one day after the Washington Post released its major nationwide poll showing voters trust Democrats to do a better job of fighting terrorism. In fact, Halperin's own employer, ABC News, reported less than a year ago that its polling showed Democrats had pulled even with the GOP on fighting terrorism. But no, that annoying reality didn't fit nicely into Halperin's pre-packaged storyline - and so he ignored the facts, grabbed for the most cliched stereotypes he could summon, and created his own hysterically laughable fantasy. It was as breathless, hysterical, crazed, unsupported and insulting as Joe Lieberman today telling a local Connecticut paper that a Lamont win in the general election would be a "tremendous victory" for terrorists like those who "wanted to blow up these planes" in the stymied Al Qaeda plot in England.
You can usually tell when you are becoming frightening to the powers that be when they begin to publicly freak out. The spasms began in the lead up to the Lieberman-Lamont primary, with D.C. cocktail party icons Marty Peretz, Lanny Davis, Cokie Roberts, Marshall Wittman, Robert Kagan and Little Stuey Rothenberg throwing temper tantrums and publicly having nervous breakdowns. And now, as shown, these elites are having a full-on, heart-pounding, Tony Soprano-style panic attack. The result is certainly a pretty entertaining show as elite after elite after elite very publicly embarrasses themselves. But it is also something more: it is the very clear, very well-documented admission of just how much hatred these elites really have both for ordinary people's intelligence, and ordinary people's growing political power.
It is no hyperbole to say that these elites hate democracy and democratic movements - they hate them so much they are willing to break the taboo and scream their hatred for democracy in the pages of the largest newspaper in the world. They hate ordinary people so much they are willing to fabricate storylines wholly unsupported by even a shred of fact. But thanks to the fact that democracy still exists in America and elections still happen here, their hatred is no longer the ideology that gets to govern unchallenged. This week in Connecticut we saw the first rumble. And come election day in November, that rumble is going to be an earthquake no matter how much the elites whine, cry and scream.