Howard Fineman offers some "advice" to Obama about how he can shed the image of being an elitist. At first glance, it seems to be advice that Obama would do well to take and McCain and his people would do well to study and begin to prepare for a counter-offense against it. Of particular interest is Fineman’s seemingly sensible assertion that being "big city" is just as representatively American as being "rural." He rightly notes that Republicans have, at least since the days of Reagan and possibly even before them, successfully characterized big city dwellers as, well . . . not quite representative. What he doesn’t say, however, is that this strategy of the Republicans was a reaction against the Democrats and their tendency to treat those from middle America and small towns as somehow uninformed, unsophisticated and incapable of knowing what is best for themselves and their own lives. Fineman, in other words, asks Obama to embrace his elitism but to call it something else. He gives Obama a hint about how he can achieve this by pointing to the days of the Brooklyn Dodgers (who can say that "big city" underdog phenomenon was not representative of America) and by noting--somewhat nastily--that perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence that Republicans began to question the infallibility of city dwellers in the 1960s, when a large part of their population was African-American.
In short, Fineman is telling Obama to embrace his elitism and play the race card . . . albeit, with more cleverness and invention than he’s exhibited so far. On second thought, if Obama studies and applies himself to Fineman’s advice, perhaps McCain should just let him go.