Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Dangers of Liberal Bias: An Amazing Article from The Boston Globe


Despite the lofty call to unity from Barack Obama, behind which most of us on the left supposedly rallied, this election looks like all of our previously divisive ones.

The dangers of liberal bias
By Joan Chevalier
October 23, 2008

Ranch women friends sent a call to action claiming that, as "80 percent" of the PBS audience is liberal, nonviewers on the right should weigh in, ensure the poll is representative.
Fair enough, I thought.
Then came the e-mail from the left: "The last thing we need is PBS saying their viewers think Sarah Palin is qualified!"
So, we should keep our polling to ourselves?
My otherwise thoughtful friend on the left prefaced the e-mail appeal with this: "Lord, it just never ends with these people."
According to a study commissioned by the Kellogg Foundation, the Republican base depends "greatly on their strength in rural communities." But due to a vacuum of leadership on issues central to its rural base, the Republican Party was ripe for disaffection among "these people" - farmers, ranchers, miners, foresters.
During the primaries, those same ranch women were open to Obama. They found him "likable." It was inevitable that he would sweep primaries in the west, where the Clinton legacy was Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbit's "war" on local communities and economies.
Echoing Obama, another liberal acquaintance asked me: "Well, rural people don't seem to know what is in their own self-interest, do they?"

It never occurred to this NYC musician, living in an adjacent suburb to the Big Apple, that she might not be qualified to know what is in their best interest. With no direct experience of tacking up a crazed horse in below-freezing temperatures, never having sat in a saddle for 12 hours, not knowing what scours are, with no pig bucket under her sink, not having to drive 30 miles down the road to her own mailbox - of course, she knows what is best for them. She recycles, eats organic produce, and there's a bird feeder in her backyard: all signs that she is right with the world.

The ferocity, bordering on fury, with which the choice of Governor Palin was received by the left sealed the deal. We made our views abundantly clear: The heartland is a red monolith of empty space and empty heads; the great rural reach of the country is mired in "ignorance," and their emissary is Sarah Palin.
There are legitimate questions about Palin's experience level, just as there are legitimate questions about Obama's experience level. But according to The Huffington Post, Obama's lack of experience is immune from criticism because he attended Ivy League schools, "was a serious and successful student," is a well-traveled, published author, and has a diverse background. Heck, he's me!
Yet, in every one of my encounters with America's rural communities, the diversity of my privileged experience was eclipsed by the depth of theirs. I had rhetoric; they had well-measured speech, punctuated by forbearing silences. I had easy answers; they knew there was no such thing.

It is not that the Republican base is anti-intellectual, as David Broder claims; they are anti-elitist. An Ivy League education is hardly a universal signal of competence in anything other than the liberal cultural canon.
Despite the lofty call to unity from Obama, behind which most of us on the left supposedly rallied, this election looks like all of our previously divisive ones. Rural Americans are bracing once again for war on their communities at the hands of liberal interest groups sharing cultural preferences remote from the realities of their lives. The most liberal candidate in a generation has indeed raised up fear of his potential presidency, and I have heard nothing from those most afraid about his race.
It's that darned halo that seems to have the man himself and his supporters so enthralled.

Joan Chevalier is a speechwriter and essayist based in New York.
A note from Radarsite: Here are my original comments to the article:
Hello Joan Chevalier. What an amazing article to find in the Globe. I will not be piling on with more "Where have you been?" comments. I would much rather thank you for your fairness and your willingness to be honest -- a trait which I find not to be shared by most Obama Democrats. To find an article such as this from a self-described liberal in a paper such as the Globe, which is perceived -- quite rightly, in my opinion -- to have a well-known liberal agenda is a heartening sign.

I have a relatively small conservative website (yesterday I had a little over 5,000 readers), and I have been writing a lot about what has been happening to America in these last few years, especially as these ominous signs have been becoming more and more visible during this fateful election. At times, it has seemed as though we truly are in danger of losing everything it means to be an American, that a frightening majority of the American people have been seduced into some form of mass hysteria and are blindly marching into disaster.

But then I read an article such as yours -- or similar articles that I have found on some notable Hillary sites, and it gives me hope once again. Hope that despite all of the divisive angry rhetoric, and the seemingly unbridgeable gulf that yawns between Right and Left today, there is a solid and untouchable core of American values which will remain beyond Nov 4, values shared equally between Democrats and Republicans, but denigrated or dismissed by the Obama machine. - rg


  1. Other liberals are equally upset:

  2. I've been trying to explain to my many liberal acquaintances in LA and NY that this country is full of great people who have never been within a thousand miles of an Ivy League school. They have bird feeders too, so there's no talking to them.

    The reaction to Sarah Palin has been extremely galling because it feels like a reaction to Westerners in general. The things in her background that they insult (small town, "regular" college, etc.) are things from my background. It's as if they're describing an alien invasion of the inner circle. Let's invade then.

    Good stuff Roger.

  3. To that lovely Anonymous, who I deleted because of their obscenities, who just called my a liar about those 5,000 readers:
    The 2,179 represents the number of readers at the present moment (1:01 PM, Oct 22 08), the 5,013 are the number of readers Radarsite had yesterday (21 October 08).

    Radarsite Standard 2,179 5,013 67,783 205,724

    Of course, after having called me a lying m----- f----- for claiming to have had 5,000 readers yesterday, I'm sure he/she will be immediately sending in an apology.

    FYI, Earlier this month on 7 Oct we had 10,765 readers on that one day, but I doubt if he/she was one of them. lol. -rg

  4. What is important to the farmer is not always important to the city dweller. What is important to the man or woman in the suburbs is not always important to the other 2.

    Ever wonder why the coasts are extremely liberal and the middle of America isn't? It is because the coasts are primarily cities and middle America is mostly farm communities.

    Liberals fear Sarah Palin. She is a strong woman who doesn't support many of their ideas. If a woman doesn't follow their ideology then she must be evil.

  5. When I read this ridiculous piece in the Globe today, I just had to laugh. This Chevalier woman has as much common with your average rural person as I have with Warren Buffet (a fellow suburbanite).

    I spent my high school years in a small rural town in upstate new York. Lets be clear: people who own and ride horses are in the same category as those who own and fly small airplanes, or own and cruise 50 foot sailboats.

    We may all know someone who is of averages means who is able to have that as a hobby, but they are the exception. Your average person can not afford the upkeep for a horse, and except for some ranchers out west who might own hundreds of acres of land, it is the rare farmer who need a horse to run his business.

    My friends in high school lived in rented trailers, they did not own 100s of acres of land. They stunk of antiseptic from working all day in a factory farm for growing veal calves. They smelled of cow sh*t from morning chores in struggling family dairy farms.

    The rich kids dads owned the local filling station, or the local fuel oil company. Most parents were not so lucky. Good jobs were hard to get. In my high school class of 100, I don't think a single person owned a horse.

    Most of them were happy to be able to be able to afford to go out on snowmobiles, ATVs or dirt bikes. Horse riding was for rich city folks who had weird city jobs like "speechwriter" or "essayist". They could afford to pay for someone to take care of a horse when they were in the city making a living.

    Now Ms. Chevalier is right that many so-called liberal city dwellers have got a bias.

    Lets not fool ourselves that Ms. Chevalier is any less biased. She is just as elitist herself, she is just trying to pretend she is not.

    The so-called 'small town' that Sarah Palin is so proud of has little to do with the small town of my childhood and the American myth. Its highways are lined with big-box stores, with their low pay, and foreign-made merchandise. It has the vicious small-town gossip, and politics. Small town America is no better, and no worse than any other part of this country, and anyone who claims different is unAmerican themselves.