A review of Shut Up & Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the U.N. are Subverting America, by Laura Ingraham
When John McCain appeared on "Saturday Night Live" in 2002, one skit featured the Arizona senator in a fake commercial spot promoting a CD titled McCain Sings Streisand. The senator explained, "I've been in politics for over 20 years, and for over 20 years, I've had Barbra Streisand trying to do my job. So I decided to try my hand at her job." After croaking and barking his way through Streisand standards like "Evergreen," "People," and "The Way We Were," McCain deadpanned: "Do I know how to sing? About as well as she knows how to govern America."
Laura Ingraham's point exactly. The syndicated radio talk-show host is fed up with hearing Barbra Streisand, Alec Baldwin, Janeane Garafolo, Martin Sheen, and many more, holding forth on politics as if they knew what they were talking about. Ingraham would rather they stick to their day-jobs, like the handful of Republicans working in Hollywood (or at least do their homework like U2 frontman Bono).
The great political divide in Ingraham's new book, Shut Up and Sing, is not so much Left vs. Right or Democrats vs. Republicans, but the Elites vs. "We the people." The Elites are all the narcissists who hate the "values" of Middle America and want to rule over what they dismiss as "fly-over country." They can be found in Hollywood, of course, and in our universities, mainstream media, Supreme Court, and the United Nations. But Ingraham doesn't let right-of-center Elites off the hook either. She goes after the Wall Street Journal's unwavering faith in "open borders" as well as businessmen who chase dollars at the expense of human rights or the American economy. She even attacks the corporate consolidation in her own line of work where three companies own half of all the radio stations nationwide.
Ingraham's style is rapid-fire, as she moves from target to target and generally lets the Elites indict themselves with their own soundbites. She has fun along the way, too, with snarky asides (to Sean Penn: "Hey, Spicoli, you're no Spinoza") and her "Elitespeak alert!" ("When the elites talk about 'separation of church and state' what they really mean is 'extinction of church and state.'") The Elitespeak sidebars are contrasted with the real views of ordinary Americans, excerpted from Ingraham's radio show.
Despite the power of the Elites, Laura Ingraham is an optimist. She believes that in "a government of the people, by the people, and for the people," elite opinion must eventually lose out. But in ridiculing the Elites, Ingraham never argues exactly why they are wrong, except to say that they "cannot claim the mandate of 'the people' for their cause." But then one has to go slow with the so-called Elites. In her next book, perhaps she can teach them a thing or two about the Constitution (she once clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas). Shut Up and Think, anyone?