I'm not sure that I care anymore (if I ever did) whether what is written here is "helpful" in the grand political fight that's going on. Relatively speaking, very few people read Salt which gives me at least a little more freedom to tell the truth.
So, for example, Andy Sullivan links to this column by Ted Rall disapprovingly:
"But if militant Christianist Republicans from inland backwaters believe that secular liberal Democrats from the big coastal cities look upon them with disdain, there's a reason. We do, and all the more so after this election. ... By any objective standard, you had to be spectacularly stupid to support Bush... So our guy lost the election. Why shouldn't those of us on the coasts feel superior? We eat better, travel more, dress better, watch cooler movies, earn better salaries, meet more interesting people, listen to better music and know more about what's going on in the world." - Ted Rall, one small reason Kerry lost.But Sullivan does so without substantive rejoinder. For Sullivan, it's just another example of snide liberal elitism.
Except that the most important parts of what Rall is saying are probably true--and the least important parts of what Rall is saying are elitist in tone and angry but completely understandable, given the rest.
Sullivan cuts and pastes like a pro when it comes to Rall's semi-snide conclusions. But he mysteriously fails to copy Rall's arguments about red-state ignorance, which are compelling and have not been refuted, in any way, by anyone I know of:
72 percent who cast votes for George W. Bush, according to a University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) and Knowledge Networks poll, believe that Iraq (news - web sites) had weapons of mass destruction or active WMD programs. 75 percent think that a Saddam-Al Qaeda link has been proven, and 20 percent say Saddam ordered 9/11. Of course, none of this was true.The left is supposed to respect ignorance? We're supposed to kowtow to citizens with the right of the franchise who can't be bothered to educate themselves on the fundamental issues of the day?
Kerry voters were less than half as idiotic: 26 percent of Democrats bought into Bush-Cheney's WMD lies, and 30 percent into Saddam-Al Qaeda.
Would Bush's supporters have voted for him even if they had known he was a serial liar? Perhaps their hatred of homosexuals and slutty abortion vixens would have prompted them to make the same choice--an idiotic perversion of priorities. As things stand, they cast their ballots relying on assumptions that were demonstrably false.
Educational achievement doesn't necessarily equal intelligence. After all, Bush holds a Harvard MBA. Still, it bears noting that Democrats are better educated than Republicans. You are 25 percent more likely to hold a college degree if you live in the Democratic northeast than in the red state south. Blue state voters are 25 percent more likely, therefore, to understand the historical and cultural ramifications of Bush's brand of bull-in-a-china-shop foreign policy.
Inland Americans face a bigger challenge than coastal "cultural elitists" when it comes to finding high-quality news coverage. The best newspapers, which routinely win prizes for their in-depth local and national reporting and staffers overseas, line the coasts. So do the cable TV networks with the broadest offerings and most independent radio stations. Bush Country makes do with Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity syndicated on one cookie-cutter AM outlet after another. Citizens of the blue states read lackluster dailies stuffed with generic stories cut and pasted from wire services. Given their dismal access to high-quality media, it's a minor miracle that 40 percent of Mississippians turned out for Kerry.
I forgive Rall his anger, and I suspect he doesn't particularly give a shit what kind of car a Nebraskan drives (as I don't). But fuck Andy Sullivan. He should've addressed the ignorance argument. To not do so is pure bloggy sleight-of-hand.
[this post has been edited for clarity]