An "elite"? How dare you, sir?


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Gov. Bobby Jindal's "bedwetting," "big-boy pants" op-ed in today's Politico had lots of advice and proscriptions for the national GOP, and certainly got Jindal renewed national attention (though it surely left some amused at Jindal's choice of incontinent metaphor). In the middle of it, Jindal took a sardonic swipe at "the smart guys in Washington," and now one of the D.C. smart guys in the press corps, Ezra Klein of The Washington Post's Wonkblog — is taking a swipe back at the governor:

That’s how the GOP becomes the stupid party: Republican Party elites like Jindal convince Republican Party activists of things that aren’t true.

(That's from a piece titled "Bobby Jindal is the Republican Party's Problem," which is, I suppose, the sort of thing you'd expect a "smart guy in Washington" to write.)

In Paw-Paw's day, "elite" used to mean "the best" (or the self-selected "best") — but today "elite" is a fighting word. Just six months ago, Jindal was sniping at the "liberal elite and their media water carriers":


Clearly this is a grave insult, and we've got a call in to Jindal's office to see if there will be a reply to this elite glove in the face. If there's one thing politicians of all stripes can agree upon, it's that "elite" is a dirty, filthy word when you're talkin' 'bout a coupla jest-plain-fellas and good ole boys like Jindal and Klein. Certainly Klein's use of it here seems deliberately designed to provoke a reaction.

EDITED TO ADD: And now Alec MacGillis of The New Republic -- another Washington elite -- puts in his two cents on Jindal's latest Politico op-ed.


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