With all the vitriolic and just bizarre phraseology being thrown around on the campaign trail ("severely conservative"?), there's one word that really needs to go. And that is "elite."
The biggest violator is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who learned quickly (he must have been an elite student) in South Carolina that he won points for calling the media "elite." This was in response to a question about how he treated his former wife when he was having an affair with his current wife and attacking former President Clinton for having an affair. Nice pivot for Gingrich, and it helped him dominate the South Carolina debate. But it's stunningly disingenuous, as anyone with Gingrich's education (he has a Ph.D.) should be able to see.
Most people in the media find it hilarious to be called "elite" by people who made many, many times—even hundreds of times—as much money as they did last year. The fact that one of the candidates, former Gov. Mitt Romney, made much of his money not by working, but by collecting cash on investments in other people's work, makes the comparison even more stark.
But Gingrich's repeated use of the phrase is particularly striking. He was speaker of the House, putting him third in line to the presidency and making him an indisputable member of the political elite. He has a doctorate and was a college professor, putting him in the academic elite. He has assets of at least $6.7 million, not including homes and other non-income producing items, according to a Roll Call analysis, and 15 years after coming to Congress, was making 60 times his original congressional salary. That clearly puts him in the financial elite. Oh and he used to be a paid commentator on Fox News Channel, the most widely watched cable news outlet. One would think that that puts him in the dreaded media elite.
So what is Gingrich's problem with the so-called "media elite?" Is it that he just doesn't like being questioned? That's not uncommon among many people in power, but if Gingrich imagines he can have the most elite job in America—president of the United States—he better get used to it. Or maybe the next debate panel questioners should come from a media outlet Gingrich finds less threatening—perhaps the old Children's Express. Of course, he better be careful about that, too. They might ask him about his plans to make kids do janitorial work in their schools.