Political consultant and Edwards political adviser Dave “Mudcat” Saunders touched off a little firestorm today by criticizing the “Metropolitan Opera Wing” of the Democratic Party. Let’s leave aside his willingness to engage in Republican agitprop (he doesn’t even offer anecdotal evidence of the Dreaded M.O.W.). And try to forget the faint whiff of anti-Semitism and anti-gay sentiment wafting from that phrase. What exactly does Mudcat want? Because I don’t look to political figures for validation of my ‘lifestyle.’
I have bitched and moaned for years about the lack of tolerance in the elitist wing of the Democratic Party, or what I refer to as the “Metropolitan Opera Wing”. These are the people who talk of tolerance but the only true tolerance they ever exhibit is for their own pseudo-intellectual arrogance….
I am certain I will get personally attacked for this next statement, but in all honesty, I don’t care what the “Metropolitan Wing” of my party thinks. I don’t like them. The damage the pseudo-intellectuals have done to my party by abandoning tolerance, combined with their erroneous stereotyping of my people and culture, is something that brings out my incivility. In his column, Joe said, “…the smart stuff is being drowned out by a fierce, bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the left-wing sector of the blogosphere.” Amen. I must add that this same intellectual arrogance and intolerance overtook the party years ago, and for that very reason, my people in rural America left the tent.
First, Mudcat, your people (white Southerners) left the Democratic Party because the Democrats successfully fought for civil rights. Have you never heard of ‘segregation academies’? I’ve dealt with this revisionism before:
Many of those saintly “union dues-paying, churchgoing, beer-drinking family” men were pissed because their wages were falling, and their economic security vanishing. Republicans, sensing an opportunity, engaged in race-baiting. The loss of white men had nothing to do with any Democratic disrespect, and all to do with coded appeals to fear, prejudice, and hate…. When Reagan ‘Democrats’ talked about the Democratic Party “leaving them”, let’s remember who said that-Reagan….
The Democratic Party did leave these ‘good’ men: on the ashheap of history. Anytime they want to stop being bigoted or prejudicial towards minorities, and start thinking about how to make the country better for all Americans, we’ll welcome them back with open arms.
Or as zuzu put it:
Might as well just say, “Those nasty intellectuals and Jews won’t invite me to their parties, and if they do, they’re mean to me.”
And that seems to be the crux of Mudcat’s complaint: he’s upset because his subculture isn’t getting enough validation from Democratic politicians–and, yes, that’s as silly as it sounds. Obviously, he’s never lived in the Northeast, because we are regularly denigrated by Republicans as un-American. Politics isn’t about self-validation, it’s about doing things. Most union members–probably not part of the Metropolitan Opera Wing–strongly support liberal Democrats, even if those politicians are from wealthy backgrounds because they think those politicians will help them.
Besides, what’s wrong with opera?
Finally, there’s a certain pessimism that exudes from ol’ Mudcat. He argues that we can increase Democratic turnout by picking off some white males. But this assumes that political attitudes can’t be changed. If there’s one thing that can be learned from the Republicans, it’s that persistence pays off: who, in 1970, would have thought the estate tax would be repealed? That wasn’t even on the landscape. And ‘judicial activism?’ Through sheer stubborness, conservatives now have tens of millions concerned with an obscure judicial philosophy. For better or for worse, you can change how people think in the long term.
Granted, that’s not what Mudcat does for a living because his job is to win the next election, but that’s no reason why rank-and-file Democrats should give up on long-term change. Someone has to do it. And that has nothing to do with opera.