BBC BLOGS - Justin Webb's America
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Bashing the 'elite'

Justin Webb | 07:25 UK time, Monday, 5 May 2008

Obama claims Clinton's comments on Iran make her too similar to President Bush.

For me it was not Iran - it was gas (petrol!) that put me in mind of the president. This casual dismissing of the opinion of professional economists as "elite".

Years ago, I made a radio documentary about the Bush White House's attitude towards science and scientists, and I had a conversation with a White House adviser in which he dismissed Harvard and Princeton as "elite". He simply would not accept that they were elite for a reason - that they were places where great numbers of clever people got together and thought about things.

In other words, that they were universities. In other words, that they had opinions to be valued above those you might find in your local gas station.

Many Americans find this kind of nonsense very depressing. How ironic that another wealthy graduate of Yale is responsible for it.

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