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I was watching CNBC one day while I was working out.  I wanted to get their perspective on the next financial catastrophe that might befall us. CNBC tends a little toward the “alarmist” side of the spectrum. If you’re not aware of that, that’s probably because you avoid the cable news channels. Hats off to you, if that’s the case.

All the cable news networks tend toward alarmism, I think. Some are worse than others, some not so bad.  I think part of it is the blogosphere; some is just the intense 24 hours news cycle. You have to do something to sell the product, right?

Anyway, here’s CNBC discussing the Senate vote on the financial rescue package of early October 2008. On the show I was watching, one of the talking heads opines that the public sure seems angry about this and many of them, the public, that is, actually still favors the bill’s defeat.  This, in spite of the fact that the Dow was down about 500 points for the week! It seemed inconceivable to them. The people on “Main Street,” as they called it, were still pretty ticked off. They all put on their grimmest expressions and shook their heads in disbelief.

“Main Street,” one of the heads said dismissively, “I wish I could explain to them how stupid they actually are! Main Street,” he repeated, this time with a dash of contempt to compliment his dour expression.

The other heads nodded in agreement. Yes, those folks are pretty dumb, alright. That was the implication, anyway. And the implication was loud and clear.

One of the other heads, a woman, strikingly gorgeous, looked like she was all of about twenty three said, “I talked to a Congressman yesterday that said that a constituent called him and said if he voted for this bill, he lose that guy’s vote!

“So, I guess in this country,” She continued sagely, “if you vote to do the right thing, you lose your job!”

The other heads humphed and grimaced a little bit. They, again, nodded in agreement and looked very grim about the future of the Republic. Very grim indeed.

The entire exchange made me think about the polarization of the public versus the “powers-that-be” over this issue. The big financial bail out of 2008. Now, personally, I favored the bill.  I don’t like a lot of things about it, philosophically, but on balance it looks like it’s the solution with the least risk to the most people. And, no, I’m not talking about the Country Clubbers on Wall Street. I’m talking about the rest of us. The great middle class, here in what the CNBCrs would scornfully call “fly-over” land. But, I see the downside, too. A lot of it is pretty persuasive. But, on balance, the “rescue” seems well advised. I hope I’m right. What I do know is that the folks on the other side of the issue aren’t just of bunch country bumpkins, home schooled and out chopping wheat by hand with a scythe in their spare time.

I think the public can grasp all this. The theory advanced by the talking heads on CNBC that the public is, basically, just a bunch of imbeciles. This is not correct. And, it’s not just CNBC, either. I don’t want to single them out. I heard some “expert” on FOX decrying how dumb the American people were and how they’d better “grow a brain” real fast.

So what’s going on here? Many of us in the Republican Party can’t figure out Obama’s message. In fact, he looks, for all the evidence, like an empty suit. And maybe he is. He calls for “Change” whatever that is. Not even Obama can define it. And the people eat it up. Change. Just change, America. Why is that message so persuasive when the message can’t even be defined by anyone and the guy promulgating it has a public record so thin it couldn’t support a small bird? What’s going on?

I think the disconnect between heartland America and the political and media elites, which are clearly inbred, and Obama’s “change” message have a relationship.  I think the people that are paying the freight, the taxpayers, the small businesses, the volunteers and all the people that do the real work in the country are separating, in a big way, from the people that used to “speak for us.” Obama wants change? Well, so do all of us. We want the entertainment and informational media elites to quit treating us and talking to us like we’re freaking morons, for one thing.

We want our Congressmen and Senators that go to Washington with the best of intentions and some connection to the middle class, to quit graduating from their public service careers a quarter of century later as millionaires. We want our CEOs to be part of the companies they run, not just a hit and run-golden parachute artists. We’re not stupid.

People are mad. That’s true. But, it’s more than a bailout that has them mad. They’re upset that people that have Country Club memberships that are more expensive than one year’s wages for most of us, get to walk away from their incompetence (and probably keep the Country Club membership, too.)  When the rest of us screw up like this, we have the re-po man ringing our doorbell. Why is it, we ask, a different playing field for us?

But, it’s not just that. It having to do that and having some fat cat pundit tell us we’re stupid hicks if we don’t support their prolificate ways.

That’s, I think, the real disconnect. And, when Obama says “change,” even if it lacks definition and substance, the people say, “Amen, brother!” He’s hitting some right notes…and there’s a lot of folks that better pay attention!  Just change, America.

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