We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I think it boils down to a rural versus urban mindset. Or in a related concept, to the old social classes. There was a time that conservative meant "wealthy." Prep school. Ivy League.
Those days are long gone. Conservative now contains the best of American independence and stubborness, self-reliance and work ethic, individualistic. And that, my friends, describes most folks who make a living off the farms and ranches across that "flyover" country.
Elitism doesn't cut it any more. We've seen that electing elites doesn't get us good government. Intellect is nice, but it doesn't fill the bill. We need more grit and temperment than we do PhD dissertations. These self-anointed conservative intelligentsia are about as outdated as the Electoral College; they need to get the chip off their shoulders and become a little more egalitarian.
I may spend my first and last hour of the day out in the barn feeding and watering cattle. I may clean stalls and spread manure on my fields. I sweat every summer getting my hay crop in, and take the chainsaws out in the woods in the fall to cut my firewood for the winter. I'm more likely to be welding on equipment or changing the bearings on the kicker on my baler than I am to be reading the NYT or National Review. I'd rather be taking my kids out to target shoot than being in the "know" about inside politics.
But you know what? I've got three engineering degrees (2 from MIT) and a law degree. I don't need to be told what to think. Just point out the facts; I can draw my own conclusions.
I've met plenty of folks with Ivy League degrees, and they aren't particularly better or brighter than the blue collar guys I used to work with in the chemical plants. And frankly, they aren't as nice. Or as trustworthy.
We don't need first class intellect and second class temperment in the Executive Office. Common sense and a "show me" attitude are the right tools.
We should vote for someone that we'd be comfortable sharing a foxhole with, not someone with the biggest stack of diplomas. Because the important part of the job is a lot closer to picking a business partner than it is picking a college president.
This reader sounds a lot like me: A chain-saw, pick-up truck and single malt Conservative - but I am a blue-blood and an Ivy Leaguer too, for whatever it's worth, these days: not too much. Which is for the best, probably, although it does enrich one's life in subtle and private ways.
I recall a story about a kid with a new engineering degree being sent to work in a service station. "Why?" he asked. He was told "So when you're designing cars or trucks you'll know to allow clearance for guys to fix them." (A Porsche mechanic once told me his concept of Hell was doing a valve adjustment on a 914-6, in the desert, without a lift.)
Smarts and book-learning combined with real-world experience solve problems. Smarts and book-learning by themselves..often cause those problems.
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there's often a world of difference between them.
What is the difference between theory and practice or the educated elitist versus the average working person?
It is being smart versus being wise.
How does one who is smart also acquire wisdom? Through experience.
However, all experience is not created equal. In addition, intellect without application does not necessarily lead to wisdom.
We know how to build a syllogism that is logically correct, but is practically wrong. It may sound right, but it doesn't work.
I think of capitalism versus socialism and which approach delivers the greatest level of prosperity and freedom for its citizens.
Given the turmoil in the financial markets, I think of Long Term Capital Management that was run by THE best and the brightest and failed. I think of the black box mortgage models on Wall Street (developed by people I know) that broke and now we have the largest financial crisis in almost 100 years. I think of complex econometric models that do not capture what the macro-economy will really do.
I also think of the global warming camp where computer models are used to predict the end of the world as we know it. Yet, the same folks can't predict the weather two weeks from now.
Intelligence - just like good intentions - does not necessarily mean good policy or ensure good decision-making under pressure.
As Sam states, smarts and real world experience are needed to solve problems. Rural Counsel's post says this as well.
Interestingly, the only person on either ticket who has noteworthy executive experience is Palin. She has run a town and a state with 22,000 employees and a multi-billion budget.
McCain has at least worked for this country in the Senate and knows where the cats and rats are. He was also tortured and thus know the nature of man, evil and what horrible things one person can do to another.
Obama, on the other hand, has done nothing. His life and experience is essentially a black box. His "model" (i.e. thinking) was constructed by a radical mother, Islamic schooling, the liberal intelligentsia at Harvard, the Chicago political machine, William Ayers (think Saul Alinsky), Rev. Wright and Rezko, among others.
Now new variables are introduced and his "model" breaks. So he flips from here to there and back again. He refuses to be specific because he doesn't have the depth to be specific. He may be the least qualified person to ever run for President of the USA.
Here is my last comment. I once worked as COO for a private company and the founder had a couple of kids in the business. One kid had potential. I told his father that he should throw the kid out of the company, make him finish school, make him get a real job where he would get is rear end kicked and take the ice cold shower of realism. Then the kid could be rehired and could potentially become a very good executive.
Obama needs the same treatment. My guess (and certainly my hope) would be that he would come back with a different agenda. I believe it was Churchill who said, if you are young and not a liberal you have no heart. But if you are older and are not a conservative then you have no head.
I recommend that we collectively turn Obama back to the real world. Maybe he will lose his Senate seat, be forced to get a real job and maybe grow up over the next 10 to 15 years.
Both Sam and Barrett have hit an Obama nerve here. The man is not as intelligent as his legend wants us to believe. Listen to him when he is asked a questions and has to come up with his own answers. Intelligence is a very broad term, Obama can deliver a speech and he can dazzle a room especially when they are devout followers. Observing him is like watching a slow motion flash in the pan. All the intelligence in the world cannot hide the agenda Obama clearly has in mind for us. Read Marx and read Obama, not much difference in the two. When you come to think of it neither of them look like those presidents on the dollar bills! Its time for those of us out here that are sick and tired of being told, because we are conservative that we just don't understand, to exert our presence. Obama wants his minions to get in our face (his words). I say we get in their heads when they try. Its actually fun watching them melt when our strong conviction collides with their lack of a moral compass. I like the idea of giving Obama the opportunity to get a real job but doubt he will ever grow up!