Limousine liberal is a pejorative American political term used to illustrate hypocrisy by a political liberal of upper class or upper middle class status; including calls for the use of mass transit while frequently using limousines or private jets, claiming environmental consciousness but driving low MPG sports cars or SUVs, or ostensibly supporting public education while actually sending their children to private schools.
Formation and early use 
Procaccino Campaign 
Democratic New York City mayoral hopeful Mario Procaccino coined the term "limousine liberal" to describe incumbent Republican Mayor John Lindsay and his wealthy Manhattan backers during a heated 1969 campaign.
It was a populist/producerist epithet, carrying an implicit accusation that the people it described were insulated from all negative consequences of their programs purported to benefit the poor, and that the costs and consequences of such programs would be borne in the main by working class or lower middle class people who were not so poor as to be beneficiaries themselves. In particular, Procaccino criticized Lindsay for favoring unemployed blacks over working-class ethnic whites.
One Procaccino campaign memo attacked "rich super-assimilated people who live on Fifth Avenue and maintain some choice mansions outside the city and have no feeling for the small middle class shopkeeper, home owner, etc. They preach the politics of confrontation and condone violent upheaval in society because they are not touched by it and are protected by their courtiers". The Independent later stated that "Lindsay came across as all style and no substance, a 'limousine liberal' who knew nothing of the concerns of the same 'Silent Majority' that was carrying Richard Nixon to the White House at the very same time."
Later use 
In the 1970s, the term was applied to wealthy liberal supporters of open-housing and forced school busing who didn't make use of public schooling. In Boston, Massachusetts, supporters of busing, such as Senator Ted Kennedy, sent their children to private schools or lived in affluent suburbs. To some South Boston residents, Kennedy's support of a plan that "integrated" their children with blacks and his apparent unwillingness to do the same with his own children, was hypocrisy.
By the late 1990s and early 21st century, the term has also come to be applied to those who support environmentalist or "green" goals, such as mass transit, yet drive large SUVs or literally have a limousine and driver. The Weekly Standard applied the term to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX 18) for being "routinely chauffeured the one short block to work--in a government car, by a member of her staff, at the taxpayers' expense." The term was also used disparagingly in a 2004 episode of Law & Order by Fred Thompson's character, Arthur Branch, to belittle his more liberal colleague, Serena Southerlyn. South Park's creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone poked fun at the tendency of some liberals to be more concerned with image than actually helping the earth in the episode "Smug Alert".
The New York Observer applied the term to 2008 Democratic candidate John Edwards for paying $400 for a haircut and, according to the newspaper, "lectures about poverty while living in gated opulence".
In 2009, the term was applied by many commentators to former Senate Majority Leader and then-Obama cabinet appointee Tom Daschle for failing to pay back taxes and interest on the use of a limousine service.
The term has often been applied to documentary filmmaker Michael Moore over the years by both critics on the left and right due to his habit of traveling around New York City in a limousine.
Al Gore is often called a Limousine Liberal by his critics for his use of private jet planes and SUVs, while giving speeches calling for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. In the May 16, 2007 edition of TIME magazine, it was reported that "His (Gore's) Tennessee mansion consumes 20 times the electricity used by the average American home" On October 30, 2010, under the headline A VERY inconvenient truth, the UK Telegraph reported that "Al Gore 'left car engine running during hour-long environment lecture".
International use 
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||This section may contain original research. (March 2013)|
In Australia and New Zealand, a roughly equivalent insult of chardonnay socialist; in the United Kingdom phrases such as champagne socialist and Bollinger Bolshevik are preferred, and in France such people are referred to as the gauche caviar ("caviar left"). In Portugal "Esquerda caviar" is used, basically a direct translation of the French term. In Germany "Toskana Fraktion" is used. In Italy, the term "radical chic" (borrowed from American journalist Tom Wolfe's satirical 1970 book Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers) is used. In Turkey they are known as tatlısu solcusu, tatlısu sosyalisti ("freshwater socialist") who promote downgrading of personal lifestyles for the sake of people while they act the opposite. The adjective of freshwater is also used for people who promotes concepts when they are popular and blame the same concepts while they are not as popular as it used to be.
In the Netherlands, a near equivalent of "limousine liberal" would be "salon socialist". The point of salon socialists, however, is not that they do not spend money charitably, but rather that they are too high to be actively involved in the class struggle. Charity is seen as a capitalist and conservative project, because it leaves the alleged social structures of hegemony intact, and would even reinforce them (by making the poor dependent on the rich). Charity also implies that mandatory taxation is not needed, or need not collect sufficient funds.
In Poland, the rough equivalent of this term is "coffee shop revolutionist" meaning journalists, poets or any other intellectuals who criticize capitalism and free market mechanisms in their publications, but have a generally weak understanding of economy because of living in the ivory tower of salon life, so they have no idea about the real life of the poor.
In Japan, the rough equivalent of this term is "Botchan Sayoku" (leftist from rich family who is ignorant of the real world). Yukio Hatoyama, former Japanese Prime Minister, is by some considered to be a "Botchan Sayoku".
See also 
- Champagne socialist
- Chardonnay socialist
- Chattering class
- East Coast liberal
- Gauche caviar
- Liberal elite
- Radical chic
- San Francisco values
- Smug Alert!
- Time . "Limousine Liberal Hypocrisy" by Charles Krauthammer. Published March 16, 2007.
- The New York Times. "Mayoral Follies, The 1969 Edition " Published January 25, 1998.
- The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and His Struggle to Save New York by Vincent J. Cannato, page 428.
- The Independent. "Obituary: John Lindsay ".Written December 22, 2000 by Rupert Cornwell.
- "A liberal interpretation: The current definition of right- and left-" by Geoffrey Nunberg. Chicago Sun-Times. Published July 30, 2006.
- News/Features |
- Sheila Jackson Lee, Limousine Liberal
- Is Edwards An Easy Mark? | The New York Observer
- Business Insider: The REAL Fun Was At The Michael Moore Afterparty
- Urban Dictionary entry
- Newsmax: Michael Moore: The Leni Riefenstahl of the Left
- Al Gore (speaker) (2008). A Generational Challenge to Repower America. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
- A VERY inconvenient truth: Al Gore 'left car engine running during hour-long environment lecture'
- "A VERY inconvenient truth: Al Gore 'left car engine running during hour-long environment lecture'". Mail Online. 2010-10-29. Archived from the original on 2013-03-27. "It is alleged that Gore made the gaffe while he spoke at the School of Business, Economics and Law in Gothenburg, Sweden on Wednesday."