Monday, December 14, 2009

In search of a stereotype

Michael Petrelli addresses the need to re-invite educated people to the Republican party after the recent populist backlash and the first time the majority of college-educated citizens plunked for the Democratic candidate since Nixon made them a hiss and a byword.
Republicans live in exurbs and small towns, drive pick-up trucks or SUVs, go to church every Sunday, and listen to country music. Well-heeled Democrats live in cities and close-in suburbs, drive hybrids or Volvos, hang out at bookshops, and frequent farmers' markets.
I only score 1/4 on both counts. Where's a fellow supposed to go?
What's needed is a full-fledged effort to cultivate "Whole Foods Republicans"—independent-minded voters who embrace a progressive lifestyle but not progressive politics. These highly-educated individuals appreciate diversity and would never tell racist or homophobic jokes; they like living in walkable urban environments; they believe in environmental stewardship, community service and a spirit of inclusion. And yes, many shop at Whole Foods, which has become a symbol of progressive affluence but is also a good example of the free enterprise system at work. (Not to mention that its founder is a well-known libertarian who took to these pages to excoriate ObamaCare as inimical to market principles.) What makes these voters potential Republicans is that, lifestyle choices aside, they view big government with great suspicion.
I count 5/7 on that one. I should point out that most of this is not about being a "moderate" Republican. It's about being polite in civil society. It's about reassuring reasonable people that once your favorite list of Republican ranters has spittled themselves out, cooler heads can discuss common values, principles, and goals and the methods for achieving them. That part of the party hasn't been getting much air time lately and it's about time they spoke up a bit more before we're caricatured beyond redemption.

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