The plutocrats cheer when that happens: Do you know what the word “confit” means?
Neither do we, and we just looked it up! More precisely, we don’t know what “confit” means as used at the start of Timothy Egan’s column in today’s New York Times.
Even after looking it up, we don’t understand the columnist’s use of “confit.” Then again, that seems to fit. His column strikes us as a good example of a counterproductive type of liberal condescension.
Below, you see the way he starts, headline included. Egan simply can’t explain “the confit of conventional wisdom showing that voters are poised to give Republicans control of the Senate” and a larger majority in the House:
EGAN (10/9/14): Why Do We Re-Elect Them?To us, this is a classic type of column, in which we liberals tell the rest of the world that their conduct and their beliefs simply don’t make any sense. Full freaking stop!
When you buy a new car, you dodge the sketchy salesman, read up on consumer ratings, get a feel for the ride. When you get married, you think about growing old with a person, love beyond lust, do a life gut check. And when you elect a federal lawmaker next month, you go against everything you believe in to reward the worst Congress ever.
How else to explain the confit of conventional wisdom showing that voters are poised to give Republicans control of the Senate, and increase their hold on the House, even though a majority of Americans oppose nearly everything the G.O.P. stands for?
The message is: We hate you for your inaction, your partisanship, your nut-job conspiracy theories; now do more of the same. Democracy—nobody ever said it made sense.
Our view? If you’re going to tell the voters that their conduct doesn’t make sense, you need to start with your own ducks in a row. And in our view, Egan’s opening passage just isn’t especially sharp.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume that a majority of Americans really do “oppose nearly everything the G.O.P. stands for.” In that circumstance, why would polls suggest that the GOP is going to gain seats in the House and the Senate?
Duh! Everyone knows some of the possible answers—everyone except the guy who says that everyone else doesn’t make sense:
Possible answers:Everybody knows these things, except the liberal who is so sure that the other tribe isn’t real smart.
Republican turnout tends to be higher, especially in midterm elections
This year’s Senate elections are mainly in red states
For various reasons, a sitting president’s party tends to lose House seats in sixth-year elections
Egan devotes the rest of his column to describing the dumbness of Republican voters, along with the voters in general. This is an easy case to make; it just isn’t especially productive.
He rolls his eyes at the GOP as “the science-denial party.” He tsks at the fact that a Pew survey “found that 36 percent of Republicans believe the Democratic Party is a threat to the nation’s well-being,” failing to note that 27 percent of Democrats said the said thing about the GOP.
He rolls his eyes at Republican views on the minimum wage, noting that the Republican leadership won’t let this come up for a vote. He even scolds Republican voters—actually, voters in general!—on this pitiful basis:
EGAN: The biggest issue is the economy. But here, it seems many voters don’t know what to believe, and what they do believe is wrong. What’s the unemployment rate? A poll this month found that 27 percent of people pegged the jobless rate at 9 percent, and nearly one in five said it was closer to 12 percent. The rate is 5.9 percent.Many voters can’t state the precise unemployment rate? Yay, let’s have a condescending liberal roll his eyes at us for it! Meanwhile, does Egan know what many Fox viewers know—that there is a lot of disagreement about the “actual” rate of unemployment? That many people think the official rate substantially understates the reality?
As Egan continues, he continues to mock “voters” more for our stupid-asp views on the economy. To us, this passage doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense:
EGAN (continuing directly): On Obama’s watch, the stock market went on a record run and 10 million new jobs have been created—more new jobs than in Europe and Japan combined. The president gets no credit for this, because people don’t feel it. Wages are flat. Economic anxiety rides the October air.Wages are flat, Egan notes. But so what? In the realm of King Timothy, we the voters are supposed to feel good about Obama because folk in Japan have it worse!
From beginning to end, this column struck us as vintage liberal condescension, of the type that makes it hard for liberals to win. In our view, many GOP voters do believe various things we regard as untrue. So what do we plan to do about it? Make them leave the country?
Alas! Republican voters are constantly being fed disinformation by famous people they’re unlucky enough to trust. People like Egan won’t use their platforms to look for ways to help voters understand this. We liberals suffer a similar unlucky fate when we unwisely follow the lead of intellectual leaders like Egan.
Tribalism makes us want to deride the other tribe. People like Egan scratch the itch. Scratching the itch feels good!
That said, the plutocrats love it when this occurs. “Divide and conquer” has always been the plutocrat’s fondest refrain.
Egan is mocking The Others today. The plutocrats cheer when that happens.