Ed Driscoll

The Rise of the ‘Downton Abbey’ Democrats

And how they “May Cost their Party the Senate,” as explored in the Daily Beast* by Lloyd Grove:

So where does this leave would-be populist Al Gore—who branded Keystone as an “atrocity,” —along with would-be Democratic financial savior and Keystone opponent Tom Steyer, and the Democratic Party itself? How about a world away from job-craving America, and light years from the mid-twentieth century Democratic Party.

Indeed, this gap gives added credence to Professor Fred Siegel’s critique that “today’s liberal gentry see the untamed middle classes as the true enemy,” as he writes in his new book, The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism has Undermined the Middle Class. [For our interview with Siegel, click here — Ed.] It’s not that the Democrats don’t know that they have a problem with the non-government employee middle class, but it’s just that they really are not bothered by it.   As the New York Times framed the issue, “many in the party pay so little attention to white working-class men that it suggests they have effectively given up on converting them.”

This hardly looks or sounds like the lunch-bucket liberalism of FDR and Harry Truman, or the JFK’s robust New Frontier, which sought to ameliorate poverty while embracing technology and space shots. No, the current iteration of liberalism sounds more like reactionary 19th century Toryism, which, in the words of Siegel, attacked further industrial and commercial expansion as “impossibly vulgar.”  Indeed, the Tories of that day, many of them big landowners, found an intellectual champion in one Thomas Malthus.

Think aesthetics as politics, and academic credentials as peerage. Think of a latter-day Americanized version of Downton Abbeywhere everyone knows his or her place, and our betters look best. Oh, also thrown in a dollop of NIMBY, or Not in My Backyard, and take the late President Kennedy’s nephew Robert Jr. as exemplifying gentry liberalism’s inner impulse.

Read on Bobby Jr’s particular brand of elitist NIMBYism. Found via Jonathan S. Tobin of Commentary, and his take on the left’s freakout over former lefty darling Nate Silver’s forecast regarding the GOP regaining the Senate:

But, as the Washington Post reports, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is trying to argue that the man who called all 50 states right in the 2012 election is wrong. The DSCC claims that there aren’t enough polls to justify Silver’s assertion that the Republicans have a 60 percent chance of picking up at least six Senate seats. The Democrats also point out instances of Silver being either wrong in the past or at least underestimating the actual margins of races. But while the attempt to take down Silver will reassure some nervous Democrats who may have been under the impression the liberal-leaning pundit/statistician was only capable of predicting results they like, the response bears all the signs of the same denial that characterized GOP jousting with the writer two years ago.

Related: David Hogberg of the Federalist on ““The ‘No Obamacare Horror Stories’ Fairy Tale:”

One is tempted to say that the Anointed have a collective case of serious denial, but it’s more than that. As Sowell has shown, people who think they know best how to run other people’s lives always push major changes in public policy such as Obamacare. When the results are little short of a disaster, they ignore the evidence, dismiss the concerns of those who are struggling, and — here’s the kicker — advocate for even greater changes in public policy.

As California Democrat Jerry Brown was quoted as saying last fall in a classic Kinsleyesque gaffe that perfectly sums up the worldview of his fellow Downton Abbey leftists, “Government can best solve the problems that it, at first, creates.”

* Ironically enough, considering that Daily Beast editor Tina Brown is the very model of a modern Downton Abbey Democrat.