Jonah Goldberg's bestseller Liberal Fascism, had many potential subtitles during its editing cycle. At one point, the subtitle was "From Hegel to Whole Foods." At another it was "From Mussolini to Hillary Clinton." In his Times column today, David Brooks further complicates the Hillary/Whole Foods metaphor business. Hillary, he says, is the Safeway of the race. Obama is Whole Foods.
Hillary Clinton is a classic commodity provider. She caters to the less-educated, less-pretentious consumer. As Ron Brownstein of The National Journal pointed out on Wednesday, she won the non-college-educated voters by 22 points in California, 32 points in Massachusetts and 54 points in Arkansas. She offers voters no frills, just commodities: tax credits, federal subsidies and scholarships. She's got good programs at good prices.
Barack Obama is an experience provider. He attracts the educated consumer. In the last Pew Research national survey, he led among people with college degrees by 22 points. Educated people get all emotional when they shop and vote. They want an uplifting experience so they can persuade themselves that they're not engaging in a grubby self-interested transaction. They fall for all that zero-carbon footprint, locally grown, community-enhancing Third Place hype. They want cultural signifiers that enrich their lives with meaning.
This seems exactly right to me: I just got a call from my mom, a youngish Baby Boomer living in Virginia. She has a seat reserved for an Obama pre-primary speech next week at my old high school. And, despite the fact that she's leaning Hillary, she is pumped. She's psyched for the speech the way I'm psyched for the MacBook Air. (Obviously, Hillary is PC and Obama is Mac.) She's excited for the patented Obama experience. And she's not the only one…