“It’s hard to be an elitist once you’ve met the elites.”
That was CBS News’ Will Rahn’s take on last week’s Aspen Ideas Festival, where wealthy, liberal elites on the mean streets … er, slopes of Colorado discussed just how tough their lives have become. From Donald Trump’s White House to the capitals of Europe, elitism is out of favor and the Acela Corridor class is as annoyed as John Kerry waiting for a table at a crowded Martha’s Vineyard restaurant.
I’m kidding, of course. John Kerry never waits for a table ...
Liberal elites are exasperated by the “deplorable,” “ignorant,” “uneducated” Trump supporters who only stop clinging to their guns and religion just long enough to vote against their betters. But American voters aren’t populists by nature. Washington, Jefferson, Wilson, the Roosevelts, even Barack Obama — all were economic or intellectual elitists who won the hearts of the masses.
So why are they so out of favor today? It’s not your arrogance or condescension, my elitist friends.
It’s your incompetence.
Who gave us Obamacare? Why, super-genius Barack Obama and his super-smart pals including Jonathan Gruber. You remember Gruber. He’s the O-Romney-Care architect famous for claiming that the stupidity of the American people helped get Obamacare passed. And when it did, the Ivy Leaguers of The New York Times cheered.
So how’s Obamacare working? To use a phrase I learned at a Harvard symposium on health care policy, it stinks. It didn’t keep its promises (did you get to keep your doctor?) and it’s in economic collapse.
OK, the Obamacare fiasco is old news. What about the current front-page crisis, North Korea? How did Donald Trump get us in a mess where the only options are nukes in the hands of a mad boy with a bowl cut, or rockets raining down on 25 million residents of greater Seoul?
Answer: He didn’t. North Korea is the terrifying mess it is today thanks to deals it cut with elites like Bill Clinton and the Europeans. For 25 years, the West’s Korea policy has been the one pushed by liberal elites, not anti-globalist populists. North Korea kept making deals, getting payoffs, then getting caught cheating — followed by even better deals from the bright bulbs of the diplomatic elites.
The political elites brought us the economic meltdown of 2008, then used our money to bail out their rich friends and donors. During the so-called “recovery” (the worst since World War II) and under the watchful eye of Obama and Elizabeth Warren, incomes surged at the top but sagged for the working class. In 2010, victory in Iraq was assured and ISIS didn’t exist. Today hundreds of Westerners have died from ISIS-inspired terror, and the collapse of order in the Middle East led to Europe’s mass migration crisis.
And then elites wonder how that devil Donald Trump turned the voters against them.
Imagine how different the world would look if their ideas had worked? If Obama-care really did bring health care costs down as promised, or improved health outcomes for average Americans. If the billions taxpayers lost in bailouts led to higher middle-class wages. If cutting deals with dirtbags like North Korea and Iran led to a safer, more peaceful world. In other words, imagine a world where the elites and their ideas hadn’t failed miserably. Think we’d still have President “Mean Tweets” Trump?
If the elites were even half as smart as they think they are, they’d be rethinking their ideas. They’d admit that the free market of a million minds is always going to be smarter than the best brain of the brightest bureaucrat. And they would learn the value of that most elite of virtues, humility.