Bob Ehrlich: Listen for 'The Attitude' Next Time Elites Talk About Heartland Americans


Every time “The Attitude” reveals itself, I am compelled to stress about it. Today, I am compelled to write about it.

And so the following is my latest attempt to come to grips with why so many of the really smart people (“TRSP”) working in the C suites, teaching on campus, investing on Wall Street, acting in Hollywood and reporting the daily news possess such disdain and contempt for people not employed in those venues.

If there is anyone left who wishes to take issue with my premise, recall the following episodes of recent vintage. Some of you will remember these statements; others will read them for the first time. All are instructive, however.

“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.” — President Barack Obama

“Half of Trump supporters” could be put into a “basket of deplorables.” — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

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Residents of Loudoun County, Virginia, are “ignorant hillbillies.” “Just went to a Southern Virginia Walmart. I could smell the Trump support.” — FBI Agent Peter Strzok

“And [the Jan. 6 rioters are] going to go back, you know, to the Olive Garden and to the Holiday Inn they’re staying at, and the Garden Marriott, and they’re going to have some drinks and they’re going to talk about the great day they had in Washington.” — CNN anchor Anderson Cooper

Trump supporters are “the credulous boomer rube demo,” a group that believes “Donald Trump is the smart one and y’all elitists are dumb.” – political strategist and frequent MSNBC guest Rick Wilson

“You elitists with your geography and your maps and your spelling,” “your geography, knowing other countries, sipping your latte,” “only them elitists know where Ukraine is.” (mimicking Trump supporters) — Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali

Do you think liberal elites hate people who aren't like them?

I could have made the list considerably longer, but I limited myself to idiocy of more recent vintage.

The dismissiveness is apparent, as is the sheer arrogance. But why all of the over-the-top vitriol focused on half the country? Has anyone ever done a deep dive into the foundations of these derisive and mocking opinions and why they are rendered in such antagonistic and demeaning ways?

The second question is easier to answer as retrospection, let alone acts of contrition, are not strengths of TRSP who believe they own the moral and intellectual high ground. In other words, with respect to TRSP, always being right means never having to say you’re sorry.

The answer as to why the animosity runs so deep is a bit more complicated. You see, TRSP understand there are successful, even wealthy, degree-holding professionals (“professional deplorables”?) who nevertheless vote Republican, support Trump, own guns and really like the police. They may even take their kids to WWE events.

TRSP are unable to comprehend why all this is so, but they do not stress over it. This smaller band of wrong-thinking deplorables is simply written off as people who should know better but simply don’t get it. For TRSP types, it proves that even the most elite colleges make admissions mistakes. But no more Hamptons invites for these upper-class deplorables!

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Still, the real venom is reserved for the predominately white, less educated, less wealthy, less skilled, less sophisticated types living in the hinterlands. These are the people who simply do not know better, which condemns them to Hillary’s basket of deplorables.

The fact that so many of these heartlanders are anything but privileged (many are working class) is of no interest to TRSP because their values are so dangerous.

You see, these are the folks who reject secularism in our culture, indoctrination in our schools and socialism in our economy. They are not fond of elitists but do not hate success or wealth. Many in fact aspire to that status.

They voted for Reagan and both Bushes and were (and are) especially enthusiastic about the rich casino magnate from Queens who talked less like a Wharton School graduate and more like them.

As such, they represent a serious obstacle to those who seek to transform America into a progressive utopia.

Accordingly, TRSP continue to vilify, cancel, ostracize and remove them from polite society. You can expect a doubling down on this modus operandi as the Biden administration continues to … shall we say, struggle.

It is up to all of us to ensure their methods do not succeed.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Robert Ehrlich is a former governor of Maryland as well as a former United States congressman and state legislator. He is the author of “Bet You Didn’t See That One Coming: Obama, Trump, and the End of Washington’s Regular Order,” in addition to “Turn This Car Around,” “America: Hope for Change" and “Turning Point.” Ehrlich is currently a counsel at the firm of King & Spalding in Washington, D.C.