As Gary Bauer notes below the mindset of these elites is also decidedly liberal.
The popular insider media outlet Politico recently conducted two polls to measure the attitudes of most Americans compared to those of Washington’s beltway elites.It found that 49% of Washington elites felt the country was on the right track, and 44% of Washington elites felt the economy was on the right track. But folks outside of Washington felt very differently: 61% of the general population felt America was on the wrong track, and 65% felt the economy was on the wrong track. Here are some other interesting findings:
Politically, there is a yawning gap between Washington and the rest of the country. When asked about the 2010 congressional elections, Washington elites overwhelmingly favored Democrats – 53%-to-26%, while Americans outside of Washington were evenly divided. Looking ahead to 2012, D.C. elites supported Barack Obama 56%-to-28%, while the rest of America favored a Republican candidate by five points.
- 68% of Washington elites said the Tea Party was a fad that would fade over time, while only 26% of the general population agreed with that statement.
- 64% of Americans outside of Washington felt that government ethics is a very important issue, while 49% of D.C. elites felt the same – a difference of 15 points.
- There was a 16-point gap on taxes, with 53% of Main Street Americans believing that the issue of taxes is very important, compared to just 37% of D.C. elites.
- There was a 17-point gap on immigration – 53% of Main Street Americans felt immigration was a very important issue, while only 36% of Washington elites shared that view.
- The biggest gap came on the importance of family values. While 62% of Main Street Americans considered family values to be a very important issue, only 23% of D.C. elites felt the same way.
The problem with Washington is that politicians and policy makers live and work in such a cloistered environment that groupthink quickly sets in. Most watch the same TV shows, read the same newspapers and attend the same cocktail parties. When they hear the same opinions over and over again, they make the mistake of assuming that everyone shares that view.