This nation's aristocrat liberals-- think Arianna Huffington, Garry Trudeau, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Lewis Lapham, Graydon Carter, Tina Brown and the like-- live on a kind of well-guarded intellectual estate, inside a marvelous stone palace surrounded by generous well-manicured gardens alongside stables of horses, with grooms and coachmen-- and ladies-in-waiting-- there to serve their every whim.
The palace contains halls of mirrors where the aristocrats admire their ruffled sleeves, or ruffled dresses with low-cut bodices; their silk handkerchiefs, gold snuffboxes, and powdered wigs; assuring themselves they're the best, because sunlight at the place forever smiles down at them.
Yet in the back of their undeveloped minds lurks a sliver of unease. They glance down cautiously at the iron gates which surround their high estate, beyond the clean lawns, and realize a world is out there which they know little about, and are surely not part of.
To confirm themselves of their preciousness they pretend to want change. "Change! We must change this country!" Trudeau, Lapham, and vanden Heuvel insist, strenuously waving their silk hankies and silk fans for emphasis. "We're such radicals!" they sniff. "On the side of the peasants. Or, at least, in sympathy with them!" They talk up the populist cause, as servants circulate hors d'oeuvres.
To prove their wondrous generosity, the estate liberals have now appointed a new manager of the house and the grounds, a man of color; moreover, educated at the best aristocrat schools to ensure his reliability; his sympathy with them. The gates open; the new man begins the long walk up the hill toward them. At the sight the aristocrats gather on the lawn to applaud.
What will the new man bring?
Will he merely rearrange the portraits in the antechambers, and take better care of the horses?