Everybody's talking at "B" calling him an "elitist" -- which really must be bad, because the republicans always charge the democrats with being the worst kinds of ... well, everything -- traitors, prevaricators, and flip-flop operators. Of course, HRC called him an "elitist" also, so there must be something about the word that resonates somewhere, and gives the one doing the calling some sense of superiority.
Long time ago definition of elitism - Random House Dictionary of English Language, unabridged version. In the dictionary, you have to start with elitism (an "ism") before you can find out just what an elitist (an "ist") is. Of course, the definition is circular, so you have to go to elite so you can understand understand elitism.
Interesting. NOT like going from communism to communist (in the RHDoEL) since communism gets a definition all its own, and so does communist. I digress.
1. practice of or belief in rule by an elite
2. consciousness or pride of belonging to a select or favored group
-- elitist, n.
1. choice or best of anything considered collectively, as of a group or class of persons
2. persons of the highest class
3. a group of persons exercising the major share of authority or influence within a larger organization
4. a type, apx. 10-point, and widely used in typewriters and having 12 characters to the inch
-- adj, 5. representing the most choice or select, best
The American Heritage online Dictionary, 4th edition manages to define elitism without referring to elite:
1. The belief that certain persons or members of certain classes or groups deserve favored treatment by virtue of their perceived superiority, as in intellect, social status, or financial resources.
2a. The sense of entitlement enjoyed by such a group or class.
2b. Control, rule, or domination by such a group or class.
other forms: elitist
And thus, an elitist has gone from being one who IS of the highest class (back in the days of my youth), to one who is presently PERCEIVED to be superior, and those are quite different things. Perceptions may be false. We know that people perceive things differently for many reasons -- values and perceptions vary by economic strata of birth, religion, education, geography, expectations, and life experiences, among other things.
So, now consider the American Heritage online definition of
1a: a group or class of persons, or member of such a group enjoying superior intellectual, social, or economic status
1b: the best or most skilled members of a group
2: a size of type on a typewriter equal to 12 characters per linear inch
ETYMOLOGY: French elite, from old French, eslit, from feminine past participle eslire, to choose, from Latin - eligere. See elect.
Okay - it's the French thing all the while.
Certainly, there are only 100 Senators in the United States. Out of 300 million people, that's a pretty small group. I'd have to say, that's an elite group (in the sense that they have the power). So for HRC to call B an elitist ... well, it doesn't track.
Same deal with op-ed columnists, TV pundits, radio talking heads with annual incomes of, say, $1,000,000 or more. By definition, they are elites - wealth elites, political elites. They're calling the shots. If Obama being an elitist is a "bad" thing, is it because he's not one of them (oh, but wait, he already is).