Digby linked up this quote and it's quite enlightening.
Quote of the Day: a pollster
E.J. Dionne asked a pollster friend of his if conservatives and liberals treated him differently when the polls didn't go their way:
“When you give conservatives bad news in your polls, they want to kill you,” he said. “When you give liberals bad news in your polls, they want to kill themselves.”
Doesn't that just say it all?
That's the result of the 'Great Backlash' politics at works. The great Thomas Frank explained that in detail.
What I mean by that term is populist conservatism. It’s this angry right-wing sensibility that speaks in—or pretends to speak in—the voice of the working class. It got its start, more or less, in 1968, with the candidacy of George Wallace. The issues that the Backlash has embraced have changed a lot over the years. In the early days it was pretty much racist.
Today, you have the same angry, hard-done-by sensibility, but it’s attached to different issues – the most famous being abortion, and, in this latest election, gay marriage. The Great Backlash has a way of thinking about the people vs. the elite, which is one of the classic hallmarks of populists. According to your standard populism—your left-wing variety—it’s working people against owners, or blue collar against white collar. It’s about social class. According to the Backlash, it’s basically everybody against what they call the “liberal elite,” who they generally identify by their tastes and fancy college educations. But it’s an amorphous term, they’ll apply it to anybody they feel like. It’s not a solid sociological category. Nonetheless, it’s extremely powerful. And conservatives throw this idea around all the time, basically unchallenged by liberals or by the left.