ELITE noun and adjective:
a) A group or class of persons or a member of such a group or class, enjoying superior intellectual, social, or economic status
b) The best or most skilled members of a group
Let’s face it. It would take a whole bunch of contortion to get Dubya squeezed into any of the above. That he doesn’t fit into the intellectual category of (a) is a no-brainer (entry into Yale and Harvard were gifts by way of family privilege). Well, perhaps there were the social or economic categories, but no – any of that was likely based on his dad’s connections and not merit and he appears to have been a social black sheep as well as a business disaster on the economic side, but maybe we do have to give him some points for his early ability to party. And with regard to (b), of what group could anyone say with a straight face, that Bush was the best or most skilled? In fact, take away his puppeteer, Karl Rove, and one probably couldn’t even say he was skilled at politics!
After 8 years of the ascendancy of the dregs, I am now more than ready to take my chances on some ELITE. It would be a breath of fresh air to see some of the good old “best and brightest” types in the oval office and environs. Of course, it is no guarantee, but I’ve had a belly full of Dubya and his hand-picked, half-backed deciders, a la Alberto Gonzales (among his many failings, concluded that torture was legal, . . .), Paul Bremmer (unilaterally dissolved the Iraqi army - a monumental and disastrous decision), Michael Brown (eminently unqualified FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] director, of Katrina infamy - political crony with no emergency management qualifications whatsoever, but vast experience as failed Commissioner of the International Arabian Horse Association), . . . being put in a position to make critical decisions and inflict enormous damage on our country with their ineptitude.
An article in last month’s June 13th issue of The Week discussed what New York Times writer Susan Jacoby had to say on this ELITE subject:
Ken G – July 23, 2008Give me an ‘elite’ leader, please. [[or Best is the New Worst]]
Susan Jacoby, The New York Times
"Elite" used to be an accolade that meant you were among the best, said Susan Jacoby. Now it’s being used as a code word—as a slur meaning “not one of us.” Disdain toward the “elite” began with politically motivated attacks on “eggheads” and well-educated liberals, but has now broadened to include scorn toward “knowledge itself.” Sen. Hillary Clinton, for example, recently tried to dismiss the near-universal condemnation of her proposed “gas tax holiday” by mocking the “elite opinion” of economists and editorial writers. When I recently wrote a book targeting the general lack of knowledge about science, geography, and history, I received hundreds of e-mails insisting that it didn’t matter if most young people could not find Iraq on a map or knew nothing about the Bill of Rights. You don’t need to know these things anymore, one student informed me. “You can just look it up on the Web.” [[a la the cover story in this month’s issue of the Atlantic Monthly titled ‘Is Google Making Us Stupid?’]]. Sorry, but this country was not conceived by its Founders—elitists all—“as a democracy of dumbness.” When I need surgery, I want an elite surgeon; when I want leadership, I want a president who is smarter than the guy next door.