With the right cranking up to use Obama's Chicago neighborhood as a weapon against him—the Weekly Standard depicting it in a long piece as an liberal elitist bastion—Wall Street Journal columnist (and former Barack neighbor) Thomas Frank says it’s complete bunk. Not only do Hyde Park-ers have a median income below the national and Chicago medians, but if the college town has a political legacy, it’s a conservative one!
Writes Frank: “Stereotype, meet cliché: Professors plus liberalism equals ‘elitism.’” In fact the real U of Chicago cabal follows free-marketist Milton Friedman. “If the GOP ever was the ‘party of ideas,' those ideas pretty much came from Hyde Park.” There is indeed, as the Standard suggests, a local group to whom the working class is “alien”—it’s the right-wingers who have been laboring to dismantle the New Deal. (Read more Hyde Park stories.)