Jonah is doing his best to explain what "conservatives" actually mean when they attack the Ivy League:

The problem is that when conservatives zing the Ivy League or the educational elite, they are no more offering an omnibus indictment of educational excellence than liberals are denouncing all Texans when they take potshots at George W. Bush’s Texan roots. Similarly, when Yalie George H. W. Bush stuck it to Michael Dukakis for his views borrowed from “Harvard Yard,” he was not offering a plenary indictment of academic excellence generally. Rather, he was speaking idiomatically about certain types of people who tend to hail from the Ivy Leagues. I find it simply bizarre that Applebaum cannot or will not grant the possibility that certain words and phrases in political discourse have a valence different than their black-letter meaning.

David Frum summarizes:

As Jonah explains, when conservatives attack 'elites,' they do not mean to indict all members of such elites. They only mean to indict such members as disagree with them. Populist resentment in the service of an unstated ideology: What could be more straightforward or honest than that?

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