David Brooks: Questions for Dr. Retail

QUESTION: But why would Democratic votes break down so starkly along educational lines?

DR. RETAIL: The consumer marketplace has been bifurcating for years! It’s happening because the educated and uneducated lead different sorts of lives. Educated people are not only growing richer than less-educated people, but their lifestyles are diverging as well. A generation ago, educated families and less-educated families looked the same, but now high school graduates divorce at twice the rate of college graduates. High school grads are much more likely to have kids out of wedlock. High school grads are much more likely to be obese. They’re much more likely to smoke and to die younger.

Their attitudes are different. High school grads are much less optimistic than college grads. They express less social trust. They feel less safe in public. They report having fewer friends and lower aspirations. The less educated speak the dialect of struggle; the more educated, the dialect of self-fulfillment

Did you hear the message of Clinton’s speech Tuesday night? It’s a rotten world out there. Regular folks are getting the shaft. They need someone who’ll fight tougher, work harder and put loyalty over independence.

Then did you see the Hopemeister’s speech? His schtick makes sense if you’ve got a basic level of security in your life, if you’re looking up, not down. Meanwhile, Obama’s people are so taken with their messiah that soon they’ll be selling flowers at airports and arranging mass weddings. There’s a “Yes We Can” video floating around YouTube in which a bunch of celebrities like Scarlett Johansson and the guy from the Black Eyed Peas are singing the words to an Obama speech in escalating states of righteousness and ecstasy. If that video doesn’t creep out normal working-class voters, then nothing will.

QUESTION: Your cynicism is really interfering with my vibe. I don’t think you’re feeling the fierce urgency of now.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

4 comments on “David Brooks: Questions for Dr. Retail

  1. Henry Greville says:

    No one ever bothers to vote for a candidate who sounds just as down as the voter feels. This is precisely why Senator Clinton is a losing bet against Senator McCain in November.

  2. Wilfred says:

    “…high school graduates divorce at twice the rate… more likely to have kids out of wedlock…more likely to be obese…die younger….feel less safe…fewer friends…”

    Sheesh, don’t let this guy speak any high school graduations! Now I wish I had dropped out in the 8th grade.

  3. Albany* says:

    Our world, a coherent honest world, has beens stolen from us. American life itself induces mental illness. Say what you will, Obama gets that unlike the rest.

  4. InChristAlone says:

    From Wilfred (#2)
    ”…high school graduates divorce at twice the rate… more likely to have kids out of wedlock…more likely to be obese…die younger….feel less safe…fewer friends…”
    Sheesh, don’t let this guy speak any high school graduations! Now I wish I had dropped out in the 8th grade.

    I thought the same thing at first, but you have to read it again to get it. He is comparing those who only graduate high school to those who go on to graduate from college. AKA Don’t stop your education at high school, keep going!