Victor Davis Hanson

During the recent Ground Zero mosque controversy, Obama returned to that Carter-Kerry-Obama sort of condescension. When asked about the overwhelming opposition to the mosque, the president felt again that the unthinking hoi polloi had given into their unfounded fears: "I think that at a time when the country is anxious generally and going through a tough time, then fears can surface, suspicions, divisions can surface in a society."

The president often clears his throat with "Let me be perfectly clear" and "Make no mistake about it" -- as if we, his schoolchildren, have to be warned to pay attention to the all-knowing teacher at the front of the class.

Disappointed progressive pundits also resonate this angst over having to deal with childlike Americans. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson recently psychoanalyzed the falling support for the president by claiming that "The American people are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats."

Thomas Frank's best-selling 2004 book "What's the Matter With Kansas?" lamented that uninformed voters were easily tricked into voting against their "real" economic interests.

When America votes for a liberal candidate, it is redeemed by the left as intelligent -- and derided as dense when it does not. We were told not to worry that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner did not pay all his income taxes since we were lucky to have someone so well educated and experienced in high finance.

Note that few Democratic candidates are running on the health-care bill they passed, promising at the time that it would be appreciated by a suspicious American public. More federal borrowing and amnesty are still pushed under the euphemisms "stimulus" and "comprehensive immigration reform." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that the Tea Party was merely a synthetic Astroturf movement. Professors and preachers may like such sermonizing, but for politicians it's a lousy way to get elected. Again, compare the relative fates of the patronizing Adlai Stevenson and the plain-speaking Harry Truman.

For many of today's liberals, the fact that the president has to deal with so many Neanderthal know-nothings explains why he can't, as promised, close Guantanamo, end "don't ask, don't tell," or do away with Bush-era renditions, tribunals wiretaps, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But current polls suggest that these clueless and unappreciative Americans apparently believe that an elite education does not ensure their officials can balance a budget, pay their own taxes or speak candidly.

What an outrageous "How dare they!" thought.


Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.