They think you’re supposed to shut up and let them run things. From Kelley Beaucar Vlacos at responsiblestatecraft.org:
If public opinion doesn’t match up with the Washington program then it must be wrong, misunderstood, or worse, irrelevant
Tell us, Washington, how do you really feel about American public opinion?
For years now, Beltway establishmentarians have been trying desperately to countermand the idea that they are in fact, elites: out of touch, impervious to what regular Americans want and need, and slaves to conventional foreign policy doctrine and dogma.
But it is wartime again, and that’s when the masks slip. It began with the steady stream of Eliot Cohen and Anne Applebaum columns from the start of the Russian invasion, all demanding that Americans see the war in Ukraine as our fight, a struggle for democracy, the liberal world order. If Americans do not have the stomach for it, there is something wrong with us, a moral failing.
These ham-fisted approaches befit the neoconservatives who wield them, as they did the same in the Global War on Terror, and to a great extent, worked to keep the Iraq War going for almost a decade and the war in Afghanistan shambling on for a full 20 years.
In addition to the destruction of two countries, trillions of dollars, a massive refugee crisis, a new generation of U.S. veterans dependent on lifetime assistance, and countless dead and wounded, these “elites” are in great part responsible for the mistrust of Washington that has eaten away at the culture and politics here to the core.
Poll after poll show a plunging lack of faith in American institutions, including the once-vaunted military. That’s what going to war based on lies, distortions, and rhetorical bullying will do to an already strained and tribalized society. Add a financial collapse (2008) that Washington addressed with an unprecedented bank bailout, while homeowners and workers struggled to survive, and you have the basis for major populist movements — on the left, and the right.