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Time to vanquish Dems' vanity

| Monday, Nov. 1, 2010

Here's a thought for Tuesday's voters from Samuel Adams (1722-1803), a leader in the movements that became the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the governor of Massachusetts from 1794-97.

"If ever a time should come," wrote Adams, "when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin."

"Vain" in the highest seats isn't hard to find.

President Obama says it's the public's fault if Democrats don't do well in tomorrow's election. Rather than blame himself and his congressional allies for ramming through unpopular health care legislation and delivering unprecedented levels of red ink, Obama said the voters aren't thinking straight because they're too scared -- scared stupid, frightened into a lack of clarity.

"Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now and facts and science and argument do not seem to be winning the day all the time," Obama contended, "is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared --- and the country's scared."

That's not unlike how candidate Obama described people in "small towns in Pennsylvania" to a private gathering of his well-heeled supporters at a 2008 fundraising party in San Francisco.

For people in Pennsylvania towns where "jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said, "it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

It's a condescending portrayal of working-class culture, characterized as xenophobic and insular by Obama to his much wealthier audience. Too embittered to think straight, the downtrodden are stereotyped as loading up on guns, clinging to religion and illogically targeting Mexican illegals, Chinese imports and any atypical characters who might show up in their ramshackle towns.

Another instance of "vain" in the high seats came from Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., regarding his party's expected losses on Election Day: "We have an electorate that doesn't always pay that much attention to what's going on, so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what's happening."

Rather than a description of today's voters, I'd say that Sen. Kerry inadvertently delivered the perfect account of 2008, an electorate buying the simple slogans of "hope and change" and "yes we can."

The people are the problem in this scenario, not the politicians. We're either scared dumb or not paying attention -- the dumb kids nodding off in the back of the classroom.

Or we're racist.

With the tea party likely to have some winners tomorrow, the NAACP has released "Tea Party Nationalism" and passed a resolution condemning "racist elements and activities" in the tea party and issued a report that accuses the movement of providing "a platform to anti-Semites, racists and bigots."

Or we're being manipulated by sacks of foreign money, surreptitiously dropped at the Chamber of Commerce in order to pay for anti-Democrat campaign ads.

So we're either nuts, terrified, inattentive, bigoted or just puppets who are being manipulated from overseas -- or all five. And also the undeserving beneficiaries of colonial plunder.

It's a fairy tale from the "vain" in government's "highest seats," as Adams warned -- a story in which politicians define themselves as fine and the public as in need of psychotherapy.

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