Sunday, May 25, 2008

Just Plain Lazy

There's something that's been bugging me for a while when it comes to smearing left-wingers on TV and the net. I could talk about how making the phrase "San Francisco values" into an insult is bizarre and, from where we're all sitting, downright confusing, move. I could point out that "limousine liberal" is an increasingly meaningless phrase at a period when most politicians have to have a gigantic war-chest to even compete for advertising parity, thereby ensuring that the vast majority of people representing us, certainly at the federal level, are fairly wealthy. But the thing that really demonstrates how absurd the whole political discourse has gotten is much, much better.

Let's talk food. Specifically, food as a code, a social cue, a tactic to discredit people. For a number of years, I've been hearing the term, "wine and cheese liberal." Funny, since last I checked, neither wine nor cheese is inherently fancy, much less elitist. (Right now my fridge has a drawer full of string cheese and a couple of bottles of two-buck-chuck. Forgive me for not seeing the treason here.)

What I really don't get is the argument that suggests there's a correlation betweens someone's food habits and preferences and their politics. Maybe this was a slightly more logical assumption a hundred years ago when food choices were more closely associated with social class, ethnic group, or geographic area- so that "squirrel stew" becomes a code for "Appalachian redneck" or something. But given the melting-pot effect, several generations of trade and import-export, and the availibility of all sorts of different things all over America (yes, even in semi-rural areas), I'm sorry, this just seems silly. You might as well start prattling on about "goulash loving liberals."

One of the things people have noticed over the years is that there often seems to be a French connection:

True, the French have an annoying habit of vaunting their sense of cultural superiority to Americans. But the Italians, German, and English have exactly the same condescending attitude -- though as with the French, it's usually mixed with a genuine affection for the engaging upstarts of the New World. If there's a difference between the French and the others, it has more to do with an ambivalence about the cachet that French culture has in this country. Often you sense that the animus is directed less at the French than at francophiles -- the people the right is quick to describe as the "chablis and brie set."

Did someone say chablis and brie?

John Kasich, for one:

I know that [Obama] did pretty well in Wisconsin with her voters, but he's traditionally done well with the brie and Chablis crowd and African-Americans. And we do have African-Americans. They're divided in Ohio, but we don't have much brie and Chablis. We got a lot of nachos and beer.
Pat Buchanan, for another:

It was said behind closed doors to the chablis-and-brie set of San Francisco, in response to a question as to why he was not doing better in that benighted and barbarous land they call Pennsylvania.

It's gotten to the point that even left-leaning media are treating- and adopting- the term as a fait-accomli.

The big showdown between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama could come down to California's "beer-drinking Democrats" versus its "wine and cheese" liberals - with the Bay Area playing a pivotal role in the outcome.

Pollster Mark DiCamillo, who has been taking the state's political pulse for 30 years, describes the beer vote as mostly blue-collar workers, the elderly and ethnic Democrats, especially Latinos, in the Los Angeles area and rural parts of the state.

The more liberal, more educated, wine-and-cheese crowd congregates here in the Bay Area, where more than a quarter of the ballots will be cast in the Democratic primary Feb. 5, he says.

And, the inanity that inspired today's post, some tripe from David Limbaugh:
Given his George Soros brand of extreme leftism, Obama will do his best to conceal his real policy self, except to the San Francisco environmental- and social-issues anarchists, the arts and croissants crowd of the Northeast Corridor, and the neo-Marxist professorial elite in academe.

Croissants? We're seriously using freaking BREAD ROLLS as a political demarcation point- and litmus test? How desperate and devoid of ideas can you get? Hell, Pillsbury sells their own croissant rip-offs in a damn CAN. Maybe it's my elitism talking, but bread in a can doesn't seem terribly fancy to me.

The funny thing is that if you think about it, isn't bashing liberals for (supposedly) liking wine and cheese itself a form of elitism? And I can't recall seeing the reverse very much lately, or at all. Hell, Hitler's Putsch was in a damn beer hall. Should we associate beer with Nazism? What about just doing it with German beer?

God forbid you're some kind of crazy moral relativist who likes wine AND beer.

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