Jonah Goldberg

That's where I come in. In January while appearing on CNN, I expressed precisely this view: "To me this proves that voter turnout is not this glorious thing ... because if Jerry Springer shows up, he'll bring all these new people to the polls, they will be slack-jawed yokels, hicks, weirdoes, pervs and whatnot."

I stand by that. I don't think voter turnout is always a good thing. If you don't care enough to vote except when a movie star or stunt candidate is running, maybe your perspective is less valuable than that of someone who takes his civic obligations seriously.

Anyway, in his new infomercial Springer uses that quote to assert I represent not merely the "elite media" but the entire U.S. government. And that all of us - Republicans, Democrats, journalists, etc. - normal citizens are nothing but hicks, yokels and perverts.

This is staggeringly idiotic. I promise you, when it comes to people willing to say voter turnout isn't an unmitigated good, I'm a minority of one. Indeed, in appearances on CNN and MSNBC, Springer's interviewers have all taken his side, calling me arrogant and no better than a contestant on his show. So much for the monolithic elite media.

But Springer's spin is worse than dumb, it's dishonest and feeds the cynicism he claims to be fighting. First of all, his positions - to the extent he has any - are indistinguishable from any other liberal politician's. But he can't admit that because if he did he would have to concede that he brings nothing special to the table except lots of money and name ID.

More to the point, he knows that my comment was directed at the guests on his show and not the average citizens of Ohio. He's the multimillionaire who's selling pictures of himself in front of sign reading "Welcome to Hicksville, Ohio" for $100 a pop.

According to Springer, there's no difference between incestuous freaks and average citizens because they're both the "little guy." He doesn't understand that most little guys are honest, decent hardworking people who don't want to be lumped in with pimps and Klansmen. Worse, he says that Washington doesn't see the difference either.

That's a not only a demagogic lie, it's the best proof of all that Mr. Springer shouldn't go to Washington.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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