Not long ago there was that commercial for cell phones which featured a powerful CEO type (in a corner office) claiming to an underling that his new cell phone plan was his way of "sticking it to the man." The underling responded, but "you are the man." One couldn't help but be reminded of that during the Republican convention. In the department of things that had to be said (which is not a department here), Paul Krugman writes:
Can the super-rich former governor of Massachusetts — the son of a Fortune 500 C.E.O. who made a vast fortune in the leveraged-buyout business — really keep a straight face while denouncing “Eastern elites”?
Can the former mayor of New York City, a man who, as USA Today put it, “marched in gay pride parades, dressed up in drag and lived temporarily with a gay couple and their Shih Tzu” — that was between his second and third marriages — really get away with saying that Barack Obama doesn’t think small towns are sufficiently “cosmopolitan”?
Can the vice-presidential candidate of a party that has controlled the White House, Congress or both for 26 of the past 28 years, a party that, Borg-like, assimilated much of the D.C. lobbying industry into itself — until Congress changed hands, high-paying lobbying jobs were reserved for loyal Republicans — really portray herself as running against the “Washington elite”?
Yes, they can.
This is not some kind of ad hominem, as someone might think. Romney's vast wealth-and his Harvard education and Eastern upbringing–make nonsense of the charge of "Eastern elitism." Elitism would disqualify Romney (and Bush and especially McCain) well before it would Obama. But Romney's charge, its falsity aside, is an ad hominem: rather than address the impact of Obama's policy proposals on regular non-arugula eating folk, Romney and his ilk have made a concerted effort to talk about the distracting and meaningless effemera of personality.