Email this article to a friend

The ITT List

Thursday, Aug 21, 2008, 7:51 am

The where-do-I-live elite

By Jeremy Gantz

Email this article to a friend

Every election year, the meaningless word "elitist" is inevitably bandied about like a firebomb -- as though our political/electoral system doesn't essentially require a viable candidate to have annual income well into seven figures, and in basic ways be cut off from the day-to-day struggles of Americans. (Remember Kerry and his "elitist" windsurfing?)

This year is no different, with the McCain campaign labeling Obama as "elitist." Thankfully, McCain himself has proven that charge absurd: He isn't sure how many homes he and his wife own. Now, Americans generally admire wealth, and most would love a second home. But an inability to keep track of them all? That's pure decadent negligence - or senility. Or perhaps just slimy politics: McCain knows exactly how many, but can't bring himself to say it out loud for fear of appearing "elitist."

Can we just ban the use of the word "elitist" during presidential campaigns? Who was the last major party candidate for the White House who was not - on a strictly tax-return basis - part of this country's elite? (By "elite," I mean one of the 3 percent of Americans who earn more than $200,000 annually.)

Not sure if the Politico reporter asked McCain the question because of this 4-minute Brave New Films video released last week:

Jeremy Gantz is a contributing editor at the magazine. He is the editor of The Age of Inequality: Corporate America's War on Working People (2017, Verso), and was the Web/Associate Editor of In These Times from 2008 to 2012. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, he worked as a reporter for The Cambodia Daily in 2007. After graduating from Carleton College in 2004, he lived in Sri Lanka on a Fulbright scholarship, studying the intersection of ethnic politics and public education. His articles have also appeared in Chicago-area newspapers, Alternet and the Onion’s A.V. Club.

View Comments