Soon after she was hired by Scott Walker's presidential campaign, Liz Mair’s tweets about Iowa came back and bit her. She summarily resigned.
Politico described what happened:
Only a day after being announced as an aide to Gov. Scott Walker’s political operation, Liz Mair told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she was resigning. Mair took considerable heat for her frank Twitter criticism of Iowa’s early role in the presidential nomination process.
“The tone of some of my tweets concerning Iowa was at odds with that which Gov. Walker has always encouraged in political discourse,” Mair said in a statement to the AP in which she announced her immediate resignation. “I wish Gov. Walker and his team all the best.”
“Morons across America are astounded to learn that people from *IOWA* grow up rather government-dependent. #agsubsidies #ethanol #brainless,” she tweeted on Jan. 22.
Two days later, she fired another missive against the Hawkeye State’s political status.
“The sooner we remove Iowa’s frontrunning status, the better off American politics and policy will be,” Mair tweeted on Jan. 24.
We conclude that Mair is incisive and insightful.
This morning she has written a column for the The Daily Beast. Her topic: what the Hillary Clinton candidacy tells us about America.
In her words:
Americans want to believe that we’re a nation of risk-takers, pioneers, people willing to cast comfort and safety aside to achieve a dream, tell the truth, and change the world. Some of us still are those things, too. But in reality, a lot of us have become something else in recent years: narcissistic, overly-cautious, superficial, reality-disconnected, and above all, very, very boring.
Another example: we think that we are very hard working and that we respect those who work to achieve. And yet, we voted twice for a president who, on the basis of his work experience, was manifestly unqualified.
Now, many Americans say they will vote for a feminist champion who owes her career to her husband.
Better yet, while feminists express their outrage over “rape culture,” they thrill to the chance of voting for a woman who has enabled her husband’s predatory sexual behavior—including serious accusations of sexual harassment and rape.
Does it mean that they are hypocrites? Yes and No. It means that their outrage is a calculated political gesture designed to manipulate the minds of certain groups of voters.
Camille Paglia said that we have become soft and decadent. That means that we live lives that are long on pleasure and short on risk.
Mair expresses it well:
We have fallen in love with so-called “reality television,” which—surprise!—is often scripted and directed. We freak out about allowing 10-year-olds to play in the park unsupervised. We are obsessed with social media, posting selfies, and racking up followers, friends, and fans.
We frequently reject fully experiencing events and occasions in favor of documenting them, or more accurately documenting ourselves looking hot or cool at or during them. We veer toward what is comfortable and easy, just like Hillary and the Chipotle visit.
The intellectual environment (that is, the marketplace of ideas) has been so thoroughly fouled that candidates (and staff) are disqualified for the least offensive utterance.
In her words:
We avoid expressing any opinions that could be deemed “controversial” because it could impede our quest for popularity and acceptance. When someone ruffles feathers even just a little, our tendency is toward outrage, boycotts (or buy-ins), public humiliation, and pushing for firings.
This means that political campaigns are more about appearance than substance:
We reject substance, preferring to focus on things like the optics of taking a sip of water, or being photographed looking at a smartphone. We wear modern versions of girdles and package-accentuating underwear so we can show off our “best selves.”
This also implies that we are less interested in getting an education than in getting a diploma. We feel entitled to jobs and raises and promotions. If anyone deprives us of what we feel entitled to receive, we will sue. We are not just ready for Hillary. Many of us are already living in Hillaryland.
Many of us are concerned less with actual learning than just getting a good grade or diploma that we can show off. We think we deserve automatic promotions just for having been around or putting up with some nonsense or other, much as Hillary Rodham Clinton supporters (and perhaps even the candidate herself) seem to think she does. Not for all of us, but for many of us, we are the campaign and the campaign is us.
Not that this will stop the whining.
Mair knows whereof she speaks:
When we have a choice between the more open, straight-talking candidate or the one that does everything through self-managed media so that they can control the message to the maximum conceivable degree, we go for the latter.
When we have a choice between uncomfortable substance and truth on the one hand, and reality or feel-good talking points and make-believe on the other, we reject the former.
When we have a choice between airbrushed images in magazines or seeing the way people actually look, we want the Photoshop.
When we have a choice between meeting people in real life, with all the potential awkwardness that might entail, or just sitting around texting and Facebook messaging, more and more, we seem to go for the “virtual.” We don’t want the sacrifices or pain entailed to really achieve; we prefer the comfort of telling ourselves that we are excelling, even when any objective analysis would show that is at best a half-truth. We don’t actually want reality, whether in our entertainment, our jobs, our education, our lives, or our politics. We just want something that kind of looks like it.
From a slightly different angle, did you believe that the financial crisis of 2007-08 came about because America is a racist country? Did you believe that it could be solved by a grandiose act of expiating our sins by electing the first African-American president?
If America did not believe this, why did it vote for Barack Obama?
As for Hillary, Mair summarizes:
Hillary Clinton may appear past her political prime: a constructed, fake and self-obsessed persona; a boring, risk-averse, default option for a party out of touch with many of its would-be constituents and lacking in creativity and ambition.
But given the way many Americans lead our lives now, she may also be exactly what we deserve.
Hillary Clinton’s career is about what you can get away with. She does not, as many have pointed out, follow the rules. Apparently, people admire her for getting away with lying and cheating.
By Mair’s reasoning, this suggests that more than a few Americans see life, not in terms of what they can achieve, not in terms of the good example they set for others, not in terms of decency, decorum and dignity… but in terms of what they can get away with.
It’s a sign of an entitled, hyper-regulated political culture.