Lewis Lapham, oil heir, former Harper's editor, and founder of the wonderfully pretentious journal Lapham's Quarterly, will be on Bloomberg TV tonight. During the interview, a portion of which was e-mailed to us, he is asked about whether he thinks Barack Obama is an elitist — we guess in the same spirit that interviewers asked Jesse Jackson and the Reverend Al Sharpton the black questions. Lapham gives a kind of awesome, elitist response:
“He’s an elitist, but he’s an elitist in the same way that the founders of the American Republic were elitist. Washington, Jefferson, Adams … these were elitist and recognized as such. There was no down connotation. The whole use of the word elitism is a little confused. We usually use it as a pejorative. In the last quarter of the 18th century, it meant accomplishment, it meant capacity, it meant the ability to learn and that is a distinguishing feature of Obama. Here is a man who can learn.”
Isn't that fantastic? Also, we bet Obama is really thankful he has Lapham in his corner on this one. Below is a link to the podcast.