The Right Coast

February 16, 2005
NY liberals are in a bind and I don't care
By Tom Smith

If New Yorkers are so smart, why aren't they smart enough to figure out that they aren't any smarter than most people? In this story, we are treated to yet another one of those handwringing exercises, you know, oh, gosh, I want Bush to fail, but I feel guilty if that means a bloody fiasco in Iraq. Except that I am nobly rising above that, because I am aware that it's not about me, now please admire me for that. That's our cue to be empathetic, as if to take part in one of those unbelievably tedious conversations about what our feelings are about Bush and Iraq. When in fact, I don't care about comfort levels in Manhattan or Westwood. If Bush makes them uncomfortable, I'll try not to enjoy it too much, but it's hard not to enjoy it at least a little.

New York liberals confuse narcissism with political sophistication. Their grasp of history is notional, they don't read very many books, and just spend their time reinforcing each other's opinions. That gives them the illusion of being sophisticated while preserving their actual ignorance. Even the more academic of them--though make no mistake, their currency is money, not brains--tend to be short on knowledge of affairs. They are much more likely to be able to tell you what the best invite on the Hamptons is than whether there are lots of Muslims in Chechnya. America to Manhattan: we don't care what you think, and we are right not to.

Nothing could be more richly deserved than the discomfort of Manhattan liberals with Bush's successes. But I don't expect it to lead many of them to actually change their views, such as they are.