You can see the fault lines underlying these sides in much of the reaction to Beck's rally a few days back. Two members of the old elite, from both the overtly liberal and the monority country-club conservative constituencies, voiced their distinct but similar condescension in the NY Times (natch) "conversation" that I posted about previously. Here's another take that I think illustrates the baffled rage quite well -- it's Ed Kilgore in The New Republic (thanks to commenter itzik basman for the link):
Beck’s Saturday speech was then a rehashing of the age-old Christian Right tactic of claiming every conventional virtue, from piety to patriotism, for conservatives, with the implication that their cultural and political enemies share none of them.Of course, the fact that their cultural and political enemies routinely bash such "conventional", not to say "bourgeois", virtues may have a little to do with this implication, but that's just what Kilgore altogether misses. As Brooks said so poignantly of the people at the rally, unaware of how his words reflected on his own crowd:
They are only vaguely aware of this value system. It is so entwined into their very nature, they can not step back and define it. But they feel it weakening.But, on the other hand, here's what I see as a little more nuanced (!) take that suggests the cultural fault lines may not yet be completely unbridgeable, at least with segments on either side -- this is Nick Gillespie, in Reason:
The organizers and the attendees are not part of the Leave Us Alone coalition. In some ways, they are proto-libertarian: they want the government to spend less money and they seemed wary of interventions into basic economic exchange (nobody seemed to dig ObamaCare or the auto bailouts or the bank bailouts). But they also want the government to be super-effective in securing the borders, worry about an undocumented fall in morals, and they are emphatic that genuine religiosity should be a feature of the public square. Which is to say, like most American voters, they may well want from government precisely the things that it really can't deliver.Writing in Reason, Gillespie obviously doesn't want to be seen as particularly pro-religion in any way, and that may at least partially explain his own condescension at the end. "Securing the borders", after all, is one of the minimal things a government is supposed to be able to deliver. And the curious bit about an "undocumented fall in morals" (did the crowd want government to worry about it? or were they just worried about it?) is almost comical, as though implying that it takes social scientists, of all people, to tell us if our morals have fallen. But still, like Brooks as well, and in contrast to Collins and Kilgore, say, Gillespie's reflections at least convey enough basic respect to retain some hope that the sides of the fault line can continue to talk.
But, one way or another, I think the times they are a-changin', in a way they haven't since the sixties.
P.S.: See this earlier post for more on the fault line and the choice of sides: "Labels: conservatives, libertarians, and liberals"