Home / The "Authenticity" Catch-22

The "Authenticity" Catch-22


Bob Somerby makes what I would like to think is an obvious point about Michael Crowley’s complaint about Obama returning to his home state for vacation. It’s not just that Hawaii is, in fact, a perfectly middlebrow vacation spot. It’s that the whole premise is a trap; once you lend credence to claims to that Obama is an Elitist Other then any choice is a bad one from the standpoint of RNC smear ads. If Obama had gone to [insert whatever affluent D.C. journalists think mythical Real Americans consider a good vacation spot here], then Obama would be a big phony would who would obviously rather be on the Riveria with several nubile but unpopular young white actresses, so you know he’d do anything to be president! Digby makes a similar observation with respect to a similar argument from Cokie Roberts.

It’s very simple: once you start down this road (which, like it or not, implicitly validates silly Republican smears), you can’t win. The appropriate response of journalists is to ignore such trivia. And the appropriate response of liberal commentators is to ridicule the idea of someone with 8 houses calling someone else an “elitist” for anything, rather than dispensing inherently futile or counterproductive advice.

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