Republicans look poised to pick up Congressional seats throughout America a week from today, so it is accordingly time for the New York Times to let its contempt for the portion of America that exists west of the Hudson to fly. The article, entitled “The Bumpkinification of the Midterm Elections” reads like an 800 word grievance against the idea that Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) should have to apologize for suggesting that a farmer is unfit to serve as a Senator. In a fairly representative paragraph, the New York Times displays its exasperation at the idea that politicians should have to apologize for being professional politicians:
As we have often been reminded, this was supposed to be a very important election cycle. The Republicans’ hopes of retaking the Senate could easily hinge on squeaker races like Ernst’s in Iowa. This, along with the possibility of padding their majority in the House, would be a significant development for the nation, just as the issues loom huge, complex and ISIS-Ebola scary. And yet countless candidates seem determined to tout their fitness for these enormous challenges by trying to out-bumpkin one another. This spring, Ernst’s opponent, Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), a four-term congressman, assured voters that he “grew up doing farm jobs and working a grain elevator.”
The sad thing about this article is that at least some of it is valid – that much of the television advertising generated in the service of making people appear “down home” is generated by coastal consultants who themselves don’t have the foggiest idea of what it all means. But all of that is lost in the clear contempt the author has for the very concept that politicians find it necessary to participate in this particular kabuki dance in the first place.
It is of course very true that the modern legislature bears little in common with the citizen legislature envisioned by the founders. But it is also nonetheless true that American voters (at least in most places) want to have the identifiable sense that their elected representatives can still relate to them, their state, and their day to day lives. New Yorkers presumably do not care much, which explains their willingness to suffer the humiliation of Senator Lifelong Yankees Fan Hilary Clinton. But in the rest of the country, people from Georgia recognize that they are different from people in Oregon and desire to be represented accordingly.
This diversity of culture is an essential feature of America, and is likewise enshrined as an important check against a technocratic oligarchy that the New York Times would no doubt favor. The idea that folks who would abhor living in matchboxes, or the commotion and noise of NYC, have an equally important voice in our national governance is an insult to their sensibilities. For all the ink spilled in the NYT over the years about the non-existent threat of Texas secession, it’s clear that the writers of the NYT for the most part really hate the fact that New York has to be in America.