Matt Taibbi responds to Sarah Palin’s claims that the controversy surrounding Trig’s birth was a ‘Left Wing Conspiracy’ even though it was essentially lead by a conservative (Andrew Sullivan):
Even though Andrew Sullivan is a Republican, it’s not hard to see
why Sarah Palin lumps him in with the left. Sullivan is gay, has
probably been to a non-Christian bookstore more than once in the past
six months, uses multi-syllabic words, is a member of the media and,
most importantly, hates Sarah Palin. It may sound like a mistake to say
that it was reporters “on the left” who harped on the whole Trig
business, but it’s not a mistake if she’s using the word “left” in the
sense of “Godless east-coast intellectual watcher of subtitled movies
who disagrees with me,” which is where we’ve allowed this word to go.
Taibbi’s article isn’t really about bashing Palin (although there is certainly a good deal of it), but more a look at what passes for ‘Left/Right’ debate in America. After traveling with Howard Dean on his campaign plane in 2004, Taibbi deduced the following:
In the end it was pretty clear to me anyway that “left” was basically a
shorthand term for “pointy-headed weenie dissident.” Except for his
stance on the war, Dean’s policies were much less traditionally
“liberal” than, say, those of John Kerry — but Kerry made up for it by
being much more full of shit than Dean.
Being ‘Left’ in America doesn’t actually mean you have to subscribe to anything remotely related to Marxism, Socialism, or progressive taxation. As Taibbi writes:
If you scratch the surface of “left” you’ll find that it has a lot more
to do with attitudes and cultural markers relative to the bourgeois
norm than it does to do with political beliefs, ideas about the role of
government, taxes, and so on.
I’ve found this to be a rule on thumb in American politics. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve had conversations with people who claim to be liberal, only to find out they hate taxes, think the poor should be kicked off welfare and reel in horror at the thought of government run health care. Of course, they all want more money for schools, roads, and infrastructure, but believe the money can be found by paying less money to the government. What this has to do with traditional left wing values, I have no idea.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.