There is a line in “A Few Good Men” that I think of every time someone complains about the “good ol’ boys” club.
A frustrated Cdr. Galloway (Demi Moore), having failed to outmaneuver Lt. Kaffee (Tom Cruise), asks incredulously: “Is there anyone in this command that you don’t either drink or play softball with?”
You can often get your way if you know the right people.
I was reminded of this when I read The Daily Caller’s story today which revealed that President Barack Obama was a guest at the wedding of vice presidential debate moderator Martha Raddatz.
The chattering classes, of course, were not pleased with the report, and sought to debunk it. As the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple observed, TheDC merely managed “to document that there’s a connection between Harvard Law School and Washington power. And something even more fundamental, as ABC News Senior Vice President Jeffrey W. Schneider puts it: ‘Genachowski had invited his classmates to his wedding.’”
Wemple was attempting to mock TheDC, but I think he inadvertently hit on an interesting and important point.
The fact that Barack Obama attended Raddatz’s wedding shouldn’t be surprising. It was normal. It was organic.
(If you don’t understand why, read Erick Erickson’s perfectly-timed post today about the “conspiratorial media incest.”)
At the micro level, the Obama/Raddatz connection may mean nothing, except that her ex-husband knew Obama. But isn’t it interesting we don’t have to worry about the possibility that any of the debate moderators attended Mitt and Ann Romney’s wedding?
Aside from the Reagans — who, because he was a movie star who made and cultivated social relationships with media and entertainment elites — you’d have a hard time trying to imagine this scenario in reverse.
Why might this matter? Even when overt favoritism isn’t a factor, people who socialize are more likely to share a worldview. And that can be the most insidious form of bias. In short, Republicans are constantly being interviewed by people who see the world differently than they do. Over time, it’s fair to assume this might pose a problem.
Republicans tend not to cultivate these sorts of relationships. There are a lot of theories for why this is. Liberals, for whatever reason, seem to be more attracted to journalism and the arts. Conservatives might be too focused on their jobs and family to network or attend dinner parties?
In any event, the real story isn’t about this particular connection. The bigger story is about the incestuous relationship that exists between the elite opinion leaders in America — and Democratic politicians. The Obama/Raddatz connection simply illustrates it.
This problematic phenomenon transcends the vice presidential debate.