- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 13, 2008

Really, Gov. Sarah Palin, you’ve got to get over this “elite” thing. If you win, you’ll be living in the vice president’s mansion, almost ground zero for the capital’s Elitistan.

One of your closest neighbors is the British ambassador. The papal nuncio - the Vatican ambassador - lives across the street. Bill and Hillary Clinton live practically on the edge of your property.

You will be living in Massachusetts Heights, one of the capital’s most exclusive neighborhoods. It’s between Georgetown and Cleveland Park, which are infested with assorted political, media and literary elites.

President Nixon used to rage against the effete liberal snobs and their Georgetown dinner parties, but once he had safely won re-election his staff abandoned their suburban center hall Colonials in favor of 18th century quaint. Washington will get to you that way.

Some of the more untutored members of your party like to think of Washingtonians, especially the media elite or the elite media - I can never get it straight - as a godless lot.

But within a short stroll of your new quarters are the Episcopal, Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox cathedrals, theological elites, so to speak. If you’re looking for something different, Washington’s Islamic mosque is at the foot of the hill and, if you go the other direction out of your driveway, there’s a Sikh temple. But do go easy on that elite business.

You told the Republican Convention, “I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.”

If you’re elected, you automatically get to be a member in high standing of the Washington elite, and your running mate, John McCain, is hereditary Washington elite, the son and grandson of Navy royalty who attended Episcopal High School, an elite local boarding school.

Speaking of schools, because you have school-age children, Willow, 14, and Piper, 7, you will be besieged by the question of whether you’re sending them to private school or public school.

The Carters and Clintons faced it. Amy Carter went to public school. The Clintons, after broadly hinting that Chelsea would attend public school, sent her to Sidwell Friends, not at all far from you, by the way. But undeniably elite. Al Gore III went there.

You are almost right across the street from two of Washington’s best private schools, St. Albans for boys, where Al Gore Jr. went as a lad, and National Cathedral for girls. There’s that drat word “elite” again. You could opt for a convent school. Georgetown Visitation is not far from you, but it, too, is elite.

There are some very good public primary schools near you, but the closest public high school, Wilson, is considered one of the city’s best and although “elite” is not a word much thrown around in connection with the D.C. schools you could face that problem at Wilson.

The campaign makes much of your driving yourself to work in your SUV. Please continue to do so in Washington. Vice President Dick Cheney regularly tied up Massachusetts Avenue with a motorcade large enough to invade a small country. If there’s one thing we elites hate, it’s waiting in traffic for someone more elite to pass by.

When your name was floated for vice president, you said, “As for that V.P. talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me, what is it exactly that the V.P. does every day?”

If you find out, tell us. We media elites have been trying to figure out what is it exactly that Dick Cheney did for almost eight years.

Dale McFeatters is a columnist for Scripps Howard News Service.

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