Obamacare

Whole Foods Republicans?

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'Tis the season for major-party re-branding schemes, what with the long slow decline of Republicans and Democrats becoming more of a precipitous drop during this throw-da-bums-out recession, and so the Hoover Institution's Michael Petrilli has taken to the Wall Street Journal to champion a new, Mackey-tastic label for the GOP:

About 30% of Americans 25 and older have at least a bachelor's degree; in 1988 that number was only 20% and in 1968 it was 10%.

As less-educated seniors pass away and better-educated 20- and 30-somethings take their place in the electorate, this bloc will exert growing influence. And here's the distressing news for the GOP: According to exit-poll data, a majority of college-educated voters (53%) pulled the lever for Mr. Obama in 2008—the first time a Democratic candidate has won this key segment since the 1970s.

The new face of … Republicanism?

Some in the GOP see this trend as an opportunity rather than a problem. Let the Democrats have the Starbucks set, goes the thinking, and we'll grab working-class families. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, for instance, wants to embrace "Sam's Club" Republicans. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee pitched himself in 2008 as the guy who "looks like your co-worker, not your boss." Even Mitt Romney blasted "Eastern elites." And of course there's Sarah Palin, whose entire brand is anti-intellectual. […]

Widening this cultural divide has long been part of the GOP playbook, going back to Nixon's attacks on "East Coast intellectuals" and forward to candidate Obama's arugula-eating tendencies. But with the white working class shrinking and the educated "creative class" growing, playing the populism card looks like a strategy of subtraction rather than addition. A more enlightened approach would be to go after college-educated voters, to make the GOP safe for smarties again.

What's needed is a full-fledged effort to cultivate "Whole Foods Republicans"—independent-minded voters who embrace a progressive lifestyle but not progressive politics. These highly-educated indiividuals appreciate diversity and would never tell racist or homophobic jokes; they like living in walkable urban environments; they believe in environmental stewardship, community service and a spirit of inclusion. And yes, many shop at Whole Foods, which has become a symbol of progressive affluence but is also a good example of the free enterprise system at work. (Not to mention that its founder is a well-known libertarian who took to these pages to excoriate ObamaCare as inimical to market principles.)

Well-known libertarian, yes. Republican? Not so fast:

I'm all for anything that nudges either major party in the direction of freedom, and the Republicans in particular away from the elite anti-elitism of the whole "Sam's Club" project. But as a consumer who sadly can't opt out of our political system (not to mention someone who four years ago was foolishly advising Democrats to discover their inner Barry Goldwater/Al Swearengen), it's going to take one hell of a lot more than a post-election re-branding discussion on the nation's op-ed pages to move me an inch beyond the notion that this is indeed a re-branding exercise, rather than anything resembling a philosophical shift that would still be detectable should Team B regain power.

It would, however, be interesting to see John Mackey and Sarah Palin go toe-to-toe. Though probably not as interesting as this.

Original link via the Twitter feed of Allah Pundit.

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  1. I’ve long thought libertarians and even Republicans had more potential allies than they might think among organic food and alternative medicine types. “Deregulate the FDA to make health care less expensive” might be a bit cerebral as a political slogan, but something like it could help explain the advantages of less government to many arugula eating types who don’t realize how leftism often works against them.

    1. I’ve long thought libertarians and even Republicans had more potential allies than they might think among organic food and alternative medicine types.

      You mean to really earn their “anti-intellectual” rap?

      1. Point taken. Lots of it is hooey, but lots isn’t (much involving vitamins and nutritional supplements). My point was that there are a lot of people there who don’t realize that “limited government” means the government getting out of their way, making what they want cheaper or even just legally available.

        1. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/…..-vitamins/

          I’m not so sure about the vitamins being that great nowadays.

    2. that’s why Ron Paul was so popular among them. Unfortunately, he was also popular among 9/11 truthers.

  2. He doesn’t eat meat. We can’t trust him.

    1. but he sells it.

    2. I have no issue with what people choose to eat or not eat. I do take exception when they try to guilt-trip me.

      -jcr

      1. Look into his eyes. You’ll see the sheepish look of a man who knows he’s an abomination unto the Lord.

  3. SWPL, please. Knowing you’re voting for a party you won’t have to share with the Whole Foods crowd is one of the few appealing features the Republicans have left. And anytime anyone presents you with a proposition described as “enlightened”, reach for your revolver.

  4. If only there was some sort of third party that carried the “less government” message without all that other icky stuff that turns the arugula crowd off Republicans.

    1. …and didn’t ostracize anyone who opposed privatizing roads, or voted the wrong way on a bill eight years ago? Yeah, I wish.

      1. Bob Barr was ostracized all the way to the nomination.

  5. Sounds like the crunchy-con thingamajig.

  6. it’s going to take one hell of a lot more than a post-election re-branding discussion on the nation’s op-ed pages to move me an inch beyond the notion that this is indeed a re-branding exercise, rather than anything resembling a philosophical shift that would still be detectable should Team B regain power.

    Despite wishful reading of the polls, libertarians don’t make up enough of the electorate. That means that, at best, any major party is only going to have libertarian elements, and many real libertarian ideas are going to be the result of elite opinion forced onto a not-always-receptive base. (See, for example, Republicans and immigration, and for that matter both parties and free trade.) There are relatively libertarian Republicans (and Democrats), and ones who are less so.

    As far as the “elite anti-elite” thing goes, isn’t that how many libertarian appeals are framed anyway? Both as a rebellion against elites in Washington (and state capitals) telling people what to do, but also with a nod towards saying that you’re more elite than those mediocrities in government so you should be able to run your life?

    The parties aren’t more libertarian because the electorate isn’t more libertarian. Certainly there are other factors– and yes, a party that mouths libertarian slogans can discredit libertarian ideas without really implementing them. But changing minds, both elite and in the populace as a whole, has to happen in order for re-branding to work. Luckily Reason does some of that.

    1. But policies can have libertarian effects without libertarian motivation.

    2. As far as the “elite anti-elite” thing goes, isn’t that how many libertarian appeals are framed anyway?

      I don’t really think so. It’s more that even super-geniuses make shitty central planners, because central planning is folly.

      1. My point has always been that I have no doubt Washington might be able to run my life better than I have. I’ve made enough costly mistakes to last me three lifetimes.

        My point is “so what?” It’s not their life to run, it’s mine and if the word “freedom” has any meaning whatsoever, it means that I can remain content with the fact that much of bad things in my life were my own doing and therefore are my own responsibility to fix or deal with the consequences.

  7. So how much did Mackey donate to the Reason Foundation to get this commercial?

    /cynicism

    I went to a Whole Foods recently, and walked out without buying anything. Too fucking expensive — and I suspect a lot of upper-middle Republicans would have the same reaction.

    1. strangely, in the DC area, Whole Foods is on par with the local competition. Unless you want something kooky like ‘forbidden rice’. I guess that’s what happens when you live at the mouth of the giant money geyser.

      1. I agree that Whole Foods can be expensive, depending what you shop for. When I shop at the local farmers market for my produce I pay a lot less for organics than I do in stores. But for certain packaged/prepared organic products, Whole Foods or Sprouts can be on a par with other local outlets–and with a better selection. The problem is when you shop for little kitschy shit like you find in Williams Sonoma, like jars of specialty grape smear or whatever, you will pay out your ass. Shop wisely.

        1. jars of specialty grape smear are too artsy-fartsy for bri, but ass smear he’s willing to pay a premium for…

        2. If you eat grape smear, you’ll pay out your ass for that too.

      2. Even in Baltimore this is true. Everything seems to cost about the same at Whole foods, except that the meats and vegetables are much higher quality, the store is much more pleasant, and the staff is much more friendly.

      3. I guess that’s what happens when you live at the mouth of the giant money geyser.

        For some reason, I get visions of Zardoz in my head.

        (Frighteningly enough, there’s also a Zardoz wine.)

  8. The Democratic party has this kind of schizo demographics, of dumb-as-a-stump voters mixed in with a very bright urban elite crowd.

    The Republican party has a different mix, of generally smarter fiscal conservatives, and less-smart-skewing so-cons.

    1. The Democratic party has this kind of schizo demographics, of dumb-as-a-stump voters mixed in with a very bright urban elite crowd.

      Group A, the “dumb-as-a-stump voters”, are the non-competitive workers who make bad life decisions and expect other people to help them, and groub B, the “very bright urban elite”, feel purpose in sharing their gift for thinking up ways to make other people to help group A. It’s a symbiotic relationship, really.

  9. Foods pretty damn pricy in Hawaii, unless you shop at Costco or WalMart, but Whole Paychecks is a whole ‘nother level of fiscal hurt to shop at.

    You can get some pretty upscale food at Costco, if you’re not hung up on words like “organic” or “free range”.

    I go to the Mainland and my mouth drops at how cheap food is.

    1. The Whole Foods store brand is often, at least in Seattle, one of the better deals you can get. There are things at Whole Foods that are stupid expensive, and then you find stuff that is a fantastic deal compared to other chains (Safeway is absurdly expensive–I refuse to even shop there).

      Plus, Whole Foods has some more esoteric things that I can’t get anywhere else, like white anchovies. And the quality is always high.

      1. I should have read your comment and gave it that attaboy before writing my own above.

        Attaboy!

        1. Don’t condescend to me. dude.

          (just kidding)

          Another great deal at Whole Foods is the huge salad mix containers at $5 each. And Dover sole at $6.99/lb. And they have dried mango. And they have Oskar Blues brewery products, which, ironically, QFC also has, but Metropolitan doesn’t. And more importantly than anything, the Westlake Whole Foods validates parking.

  10. The McCain campaign’s active disdain* for anyone that lived within 30 miles of the center of an urban area was stupid politics and personally insulting; at the very least, Republicans need to take care of that to continue to be viable.

    *for example that one talking head for McCain who said something to the effect “I live in Centreville, I don’t live in the ‘real’ Virgina; ‘Our campaign is about the ‘real’ Virginia nad the ‘real’ America”

    1. Indeed, I was repulsed by most of the campaign of Candidate Tigercage.

    2. But they can’t do that and win their base. For decades now the base has been told by the Rush Limbaughs et al., that “they,” “the real America” have been sabotaged by those effete PETA joining letftist academia tainted free range chicken eating Gaia-worshipping socialist liberals. Now their base fervently believes this and the GOP doesn’t know what to do with their “success.”

    3. Well, Centreville isn’t the “real” Virginia, after all…

  11. Note to Reason: Those of us outside the US can’t watch Hulu because of their ridiculous licensing restrictions.

    Please try to find clips on Youtube or Vimeo instead.

    1. Or, alternately, you could move to America and escape your oppressive government.

      1. And live under ours!!

        🙂

  12. Hey, even the local Fiesta sells Cardoni. Blows my mind.

  13. I think you’re talking ’bout
    (gulp)
    COSMOTARIANS!

  14. So, who do you think has more members… Sams Club or the Libertarian party?

  15. So the Republican party can succeed if only it can attract fools who have been brainwashed into believing cow shit is healthier than pesticides?

    1. Cow shit (applied properly) is a whole lot healthier than pesticides. But cow shit is fertilizer, so the comment is pretty irrelevant.
      Organic farming is not going to feed or save the world, but this kind of ignorant knee jerk hate for anything hippies like is pretty annoying.

      1. No it won’t feed the world. Organic farming will just sell over priced food to dumb yuppies who are easily parted from their money.

        If it was just a question of a bunch of dumb hippies buying over priced food, I wouldn’t care. What they eat is their business. But sadly many “organic food lovers” can’t leave well enough alone and use wage war against the technology that really does feed the world. So they are not just dumb hippies. IN many cases they are luddite menaces.

        1. Farm subsidies make locally-produced food even less competitive than it would be otherwise. The luddite hippies you’re so worried about are currently campaigning against the new farm bill, which will require microchipping of all livestock on a farm of any size, among other small farm-choking regulations.

  16. God bless James Ard and his ilk, may they be the most influential voice in the GOP for decades!

  17. Mackey being of a libertarian bent, why is it that the political magazines sold in Whole Foods are all left-wing? You sure don’t see Reason at any of the chain’s stores in middle America.

  18. I’ve seen Reason on the reading rack in a couple of the crunchy-trendy little eateries/coffee houses in the gentrified sections of my city. Quite gratifying.

    1. I discovered Reason on the walls of the hippie-dippie ‘alternative’ library at my campus…was a libertarian after 1 or 2 issues and never looked back.

  19. I always wonder why we never hear much about the founding partner Renee Lawson. I can’t help but think her involvement must have been more interesting/creative than the title “then-girlfriend”.

  20. What about those of us with some college, that prefer to live in urban/walkable environments, but don’t really care where we shop, and think racist homophobic jokes are hilarious?

    Oh well, I guess our dreams died with Howard Stern’s candidacy for governor.

  21. I would choose to be governed by the first twenty people waiting to be seated at a Chinese restaurant than by one of these whole-food fucking alternative health fanatics. Make your bread, asshole, and shut the fuck up.

    1. You want to be governed by twenty Jews?

  22. As less-educated seniors pass away and better-educated 20- and 30-somethings take their place in the electorate, this bloc will exert growing influence.

    Flawed premise: that today’s 20 and 30-somethings are “better educated” simply because more of them have meaningless bachelor’s degrees from modern batshit academia.

    1. Reality: The truth is none of them can find jobs and most of “20- and 30-somethings” are doing their masters or heading to law school.

  23. So in essence, Matt is saying Democrats are good because Republicans are bad. And they call Palin an anti-intellectual!

  24. Mr. Mckay stated that in any one year, 90% of our team members don’t make any health claims at all. They are given between 300 and 1800 a year and they can rollover any unused money from year to year. They have a high deductible insurance of 2500 dollars and the company spends 2200 on a single person and 5000 on a couple (I assume this includes their children). I find it hard to believe that employee medical claims are less than 10 percent, even allowing for the relief wholefoods receives from government mandates.

  25. My understanding of all health insurance is that every time you visit a doctor a claim is processed. This claim determines what rates the doctor and the insurance company have agreed to charge by contract. The claim is then applied towards your deductible and till it is met you would pay out of pocket or by hsa. Mr. Mckay stated “in any one year, 90% of our team members don’t make any health claims” that would mean that 90% have never received any healthcare at all.

  26. Thanks for some insightful comments on the Petrilli op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal.
    I posted a blog on the same “Whole Food Republicans” article too — you can find it at The Dark Horse Dispatch: darkhorsedispatch.com

    If you have the time & inclination to read it, I’d appreciate your reaction to it.
    All the best,
    Dan Reagan

  27. ANOTHER PUFF PIECE BY REASON! TAKE CORPORATE MONEY FROM FILTHY HIPPIE WHOLE FOODS OWNER, WRITE PRO-WHOLE FOODS PIECE! PAYOLA! HURR DURR! FREEDUMB!!!

  28. If you have the time & inclination, I have 2 blogs RE the op-ed piece in the WSJ about how the GOP needs to pursue socially progressive voters, the kind of folks who shop at Whole Foods.
    I’d really appreciate any comments or reactions that you have to them.
    You can find them at The Dark Horse Dispatch: darkhorsedispatch.com
    They are titled, “Republicans & the Smarty-Pants Vote: Part One”, and, “Whole Foods Republicans & the Smarty-Pants Vote: Part Two”.
    Hope to hear from you!
    Dan Reagan

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