- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 6, 2004

After the East German people’s uprising against Soviet occupation on June 17, 1953, the Communist Writers Union distributed leaflets throughout the Soviet zone saying the people had forfeited the confidence of the government and could win it back only by redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier in that case, asked the sardonic German communist playwright Berthold Brecht, for the government to dissolve the people and elect another people in their stead?

I was reminded of that biting Brechtian quip as I read the postmortem election lamentation of Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. His column reflected the bitter disappointment of media elites like Peter Jennings and Dan Rather with the American people. For them, the American voter had once more misbehaved by voting for a president of whom the media elites disapproved. The American voter had elected as president of the United States a man the media elites tried to bring down and, in the case of Dan Blather, with forged documents that revealed nothing except Blather’s gullibility and hatred of President Bush.

How can CBS continue to keep Dan Blather showing his face nightly? The New York Times fired a reporter who sullied its reputation forever and with him fired the paper’s top executives. But CBS treats its star reporter, who played fast and loose with the truth, with star billing. Has CBS no shame?

Mr. Kristof, the New York Times moralist in chief, is aghast that, as he wrote, “millions of farmers, factory workers and waitresses… ended up voting — utterly against their own interests — for Republican candidates.” Only the Democratic Party, says Mr. Kristof, has the interests of the American people at heart, implying the American people just are too stupid to realize that.

Even worse are these demagogic words: “One of the Republican Party’s major successes over the last few decades has been to persuade many of the working poor to vote for tax breaks for millionaires.” In other words, those stupid, honky American workers are so dumb they are unaware of their own electoral stupidity. The arrogance of Mr. Kristof’s condemnation is breathtaking.

If we accept Mr. Kristof’s reasoning, those millions of farmers, factory workers and waitresses did not think through their decision to vote for Mr. Bush as Mr. Kristof thought through his decision to oppose the president. If you vote for Democrats, you vote your own interests. If you vote Republican, you vote against your own interests but are too dim-witted to realize it.

So what would Mr. Kristof do with these people who preferred Ronald Reagan for two terms and have now elected — horrors — George W. Bush to a second term? Obviously, follow the formula of Berthold Brecht and elect another people.

Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for The Washington Times. His updated biography “Herman Wouk, the Novelist as Social Historian,” has just been published.

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