The story about how Democratic politicians don’t pay their interns – while Republican Senators do – caught Althouse’s eye. What caught my eye was her analogy:
No pay is the ultimate defense against the accusation of low pay.
It’s the difference between a girlfriend and a cheap prostitute.
If you don’t have the money to buy something at a price that won’t offend the seller, you should try to get it for free. Then the seller is flattered.
Remembering that Althouse lives in a far-left enclave in which she’d be metaphorically burned at the stake if she ever espoused a truly conservative idea (and probably literally shunned), let’s look at how she chose to express herself here.
First, the implication is that Democrats get for free what Republicans have to pay for, i.e. Democrats are the guy with the girlfriend and Republicans are losers who have to pay prostitutes. (Insult to Republicans, check!) Second, the implication is that no one would intern for Republicans unless they were paid for it. (Second insult to Republicans, check!) Third is the implication that Democrats don’t have the money to pay their interns, so interning for the Democrat party is a sacrificial expression of idealism. (Completely untrue compliment to Democrats, check! Assertion of false meme that Democrats are the party of the poor and Republicans are the filthy rich guys, check!)
I mean, really, look at that. In just a few words Althouse has very elegantly and subtly shifted the focus from the fact that what Democrats SAY is different from what they DO in their professional lives. Especially interesting is that this little sidestepping of the issue of exploiting interns comes from a college professor, the one profession in America that still egregiously exploits its low-level workers. Althouse sees no problem with exploiting interns because it’s culturally The Done Thing where she works and lives. And while the non-monetary compensation for Congressional interns is no doubt extremely valuable (the networking possibilities alone!), the fact that Democrats don’t pay while Republicans do means that to be a Democratic senator’s intern, you have to have an independent means of supporting yourself. Democratic interns are thus selected from those already rich, while Republican internships are more open to those from lower socioeconomic classes.
And yet it’s the Democrats who are the ones considered the party for lower socioeconomic classes. That’s the hypocrisy that Althouse can’t (allow herself to?) see. If the Democrats were unapologetically owning up to being just as much a party of fat cat rich people as the establishment Republicans, there wouldn’t be any hypocrisy.