Marginal Footnotes

Remind You of Anyone?
May 1, 2006, 2:16 pm
Filed under: Media, Politics, Uncategorized

From Ryan Lizza’s damning piece in The New Republic on George Allen:

‘It's a word they use a lot it the Allen world–"authenticity." His aides and the growing ranks of conservative backers hungry for someone to take out McCain emphasize Allen's down-home credentials and cowboy-boot charisma far more than his voting record. A glowing National Review cover story, to take one recent example, trumpeted Allen's preternatural fluency in the sports metaphor-laden language of American masculinity. This gift for communicating in the vernacular of John Madden doesn't just distinguish him; it makes him the ideal vehicle for a particular brand of Republican campaign strategy’.

Lizza of course answers the question but suggests that the ‘folksy’ image ‘looks a little spent’.  Little would be the operative word there, and to underestimate America’s appeal for the image projected by this school of American conservatism would be an error.  I think the common phrase, popularised by George Bush, is the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’. The political advantage to the ‘regular guy’, ‘good-ole boy’ shtick is that ‘not getting it’ on complex policy or philosophical questions is a sort of looping validation of the image itself: he doesn’t get it because he’s just like us.  That uniquely American brand of anti-intellectualism has been the subject of much commentary and analysis and there is nothing to suggest it is on the ebb.

But all of that is the least interesting thing about Lizza’s article, which is really an exposé (or a hit piece depending on your perspective).  If you do not have a free registration with TNR, you should get one for this.     


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