I covered national politics daily for 11 years (in person and not just from behind a desk), which means I listened to thousands of political speeches. If there was one group of people to whom all politicians catered – from Huey Long before my time to Sarah Palin today – it is “the little people.”
Why then the uproar by leftists and Louisianans (a mutually exclusive grouping) about the BP chairman’s broken-English sympathy for “the little people” harmed by his oil spill?
It is one thing for loony lefties to pounce on minutiae (pardon the term), but network and cable television also jumped on the Swedish message and thus exposed their own hypocrisy. For what are television audiences but a lot of “little people.”
Until he spoke, Louisianans, aware of their statewide poverty of income, education and political power would have proudly considered themselves “little people.”
Just like one of the first politicians I covered, quixotic presidential candidate Fred Harris of Oklahoma, who upon his drubbing in the New Hampshire primary said, "I guess the little people weren't tall enough to reach the voting levers. Maybe next time we should provide stools."