Six-term senator, man of the people and wizened child Chuck Grassley
Elitists: they’re everywhere, according to people whose words and ideas are broadcast to millions. Obama was an elitist for saying every American should go to college. Donald Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord told CNN that fact-checking is elitist. Elitism seems concentrated in the journalistic class, particularly when politicians identify it. Just this morning, Senator Chuck Grassley (R–IA) posed this question to his Twitter followers:
You can tell Grassley is a man of the people because he uses chatspeak abbreviations. Journalists are too elite for him, an ordinary American who has served in the Senate for 30 years. But his tweet raises some questions.
Last week, University of Iowa professor and former New Jersey resident Stephen G. Bloom published this essay in The Atlantic, in which he argues that Iowa maybe should not be the political bellwether it is. At least, that’s what he promises to argue. The impending Republican caucuses are the occasion for Bloom’s remarks, but the execution is a series of anecdotes indicting his adopted state and the grim hicks who populate it. An example:
Rural America has always been homogenous, as white as the milk the millions of Holstein cows here produce. Many towns are so insular that farmers from another county are strangers.
Can you imagine living in a town so insular that the people who don’t live in the town are strangers to you? It’s inconceivable, but that’s the kind of uniquely absurd place Iowa is. I should know. Like Bloom, I lived in Iowa for about 20 years, starting around age zero. Those who know me know that I am no booster, and Iowa remains the only place I have ever lived that I didn’t like. I like honesty and clear thinking, though, which is where Mr. Bloom and I diverge. His observations about the state where I grew up paint a startling picture of resentment, provincialism and proud ignorance. Unfortunately, it is a portrait of Stephen G. Bloom. It’s useless as a landscape, since Bloom’s rendering of Iowa oscillates between nonsensical and untrue. First of many after the jump.
"All right, but if I'm gonna put my name on this thing, I want it to be (expletive) classy."
Good news, you guys: “Newsmax Media and ION Television are moving forward with The Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate moderated by Donald Trump, a great American success story.” Can you spot the deviation from traditional journalistic ethics in that sentence? It comes from Newsmax, the conservative sort-of-news website sponsoring that debate. You may remember the Trump/Newsmax debate from this extremely fun series of events, or perhaps this one. You may remember Newsmax from the most pernicious lie of the last few years, which also happens to include a lot of Donald Trump. But you don’t need to remember any of that stuff to understand the importance of The Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate, because Newsmax has helpfully reminded us. “The debate has gained huge support from the country’s largest and most powerful conservative groups and voices,” Newsmax Wires writes, “but several candidates have declined to join the debate, including Mitt Romney, whose poll numbers have been sliding since his refusal of Trump’s invitation.” Now that is some maximum fucking news, right there.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission appointee Chai Feldblum, who got her Gmail address without having to add any numbers or anything.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last week, completely cut off from television, the internet, talk radio, newspapers, Twitter, coffee shop conversation and the mumblings of homeless people now, you’ve probably heard about Chai Feldblum. No? Obama’s controversial recess appointment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission whose support for gay rights makes her a terrifying mystery to mainstream America? Ring a bell? Anything? That’s weird, because according to Fox News, the Obama Labor Pick’s Support For Gay Rights Worries Conservatives. Props to Ben “Yes, Folds—I Am Telling You an Anecdote That Rests On My Being Friends With Ben Folds” Fowlkes for the link. Just who these conservatives are or how Fox News became aware of the story that is their worry remains unclear, but that sort of vague sourcing is Fox’s modus operandi. It’s also the secret to the network’s genius fusion of editorial and news.