During the 2008 presidential election, the Clinton campaign, and then later on the McCain Campaign, often characterized Obama as a Harvard-educated elitist who was out of touch with regular working-class Americans. This talking point was enlivened when Obama nonsensically called Western Pennsylvanians “bitter” while trying to sympathize with them over their economic difficulties. For the most part, Obama’s adversaries found the “elitist” characterization to be a wildly successful point of debate. For starters, the McCain campaign went on to hire hockey-mom Sarah Palin who famously (and without any hesitation) decided to draw a line between “Real America” and the urban, liberal elites like Obama. Along those lines, John McCain traveled to Western Pennsylvania where he made possibly the greatest rhetorical flub of all-time while trying to condemn Obama’s remarks about the people there:
McCain: You know, I think you may have noticed that Senator Obama’s supporters have been saying some pretty nasty things about Western Pennsylvania lately. And you know, I couldn’t agree with them more.
I couldn’t disagree with you… I couldn’t agree with you more than the fact that Western Pennsylvania is the most patriotic, most god-loving, most, most patriotic part of America, and this is a great part of the country.
Much to my surprise however, a similar “elitist” criticism is now being used against Elizabeth Warren as she begins her campaign for Senator of Massachusetts:
All indications are that Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and the Democrats challenging Elizabeth Warren in the Senate primary will adopt the same playbook against her.
The plan: define her as a high-and-mighty academic whose tactics are overbearing and whose loyalty is to Washington’s elites.
It has already begun.
Now that the former Obama administration official is officially in the race, primary challenger Alan Khazei (D) is calling on her to reject PAC money and Brown is doing his best to paint her as an out-of-touch elitist.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has already sent out a half-dozen releases calling her “Professor Warren,” and a Brown aide purchased the domain name QueenElizabethWarren.com, but has not yet launched a site.
And of course, a key aide to Scott Brown worked for John McCain’s presidential campaign:
Brown appears to be taking Warren’s challenge seriously, announcing Friday he was bringing his congressional press secretary back to Boston to head communications for the campaign. Colin Reed is a veteran of the presidential campaigns of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Somehow, I don’t think this line of attack is going to work in Massachusetts, a state that boasts some of the highest educational attainment rates in the country. Having lived in Massachusetts myself for a substantial period of time, I can personally say that it would be a stretch for anybody to argue that a significant amount of voters are going to be turned off by the fact that Elizabeth Warren is a Professor at Harvard.