Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Even David Brooks


Letters, I get letters.

Also comments.

Also letters.

And among these letters there is always one that asks why I waste my time biting the ankles of the mighty and indestructible David Brooks.

After all, who reads that asshole, right?  

Well for anyone who has been following the amazing spectacle of Willard Romney's radioactive plutocrat core breaching it's bland, well-coiffed containment unit and melting right straight through the Earth's mantle, you may have noticed that an amazing number of analysts and pundits have breaded and deep-fried their own observations with some variation of the words "Even David Brooks..."

From the Twitter Machine:
Dave Weigel:
When you've lost David Brooks, you've lost middle America.

Kurt Andersen:
Lots of rightys--@jpodhoretz, @AnnCoulter--have been radio-silent for 24 hours. But read David Brooks' spot-on column. 
John Harwood: ‏David Brooks on Mitt's 47%-dependent claim: "country-club fantasy; what self satisfied millionaires say to each other"
The Maddow Blog:
"If he's lost David Brooks...."

Steve Inskeep ‏(NPR)
"Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the VA? Is it the student getting a loan?"

Joan Walsh:‏

David Brooks said what I said: The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are Republicans, senior citizens.

Frank Rich:

Desperation time: Angry Sununu on #Andrea Mitchell blaming Mitt's fiasco on alleged David Brooks errors

Matt K. Lewis:

Suddenly, David Brooks and Bill Kristol are very popular on MSNBC.

Joe Scarborough: 

David Brooks on Romney's Blundering "Victim Speech" / Howell Romney

Esquire Magazine:

Charlie Pierce on David Brooks on the Romney tapes. Enjoy. RT @ESQPolitics Our Mr. Brooks Jumps the Ship

Josh Mankiewicz ‏(Dateline NBC correspondent):

Thurston Howell Romney, by David Brooks:

Laura Ingraham:

With "friends" like these...Scott Brown denounces Mitt's 47% comments. Maybe David Brooks could sign on to be his campaign manager.
By my count, every single segment on MSNBC that touched on this story either lead with or included an "Even David Brooks..." piece. Predictably, Andrew Sullivan is delirious, sporting massive and completely unwarranted Reasonable Conservative wood at the whiff of David Brooks (and David Frum and Ramesh Ponnuru) finally being forced at gunpoint to write some words that any Liberal could have written in their sleep at any point over the last 30 years:
The Sane Right

Just a word to say that David Brooks' column is simply superb and to emphasize that both David Frum and Ramesh Ponnuru have made important points about why Romney is disgusting and wrong, respectively.
First, this is what real power looks like, kids.  David Brooks has spent decades worming himself into the role absolute arbiter of Reasonable Reasonableness, which is why in moments like these, the  entire fucking Beltway Village defers to him.  This is media power -- the power to frame the public debate and the power to sway the opinions of those poor, misbegotten "independent" dolts who choose American presidents but apparently spend their time between elections sitting on the crapper shivering and weeping, because no matter how much volcanic pressure builds up, they simply cannot summon the capacity to shit or get off the pot.  

Like the Big Lie of Centrism that he flogs ceaselessly, David Brooks' sheer boring ubiquity makes him powerful and dangerous.   Which is why I focus on people like David Brooks.

Second, oh my crispy Lord, what a load of arrant nonsense. This raving, racist-inflected Bircher skull fungus has been the brick-and-mortar of American Conservatism since before Andrew Sullivan and David Brooks were in long pants (Interesting that the people who have spent most of their adult lives in advanced states of catatonic obliviousness to this fact are America's Most Prominent and Respected Conservative Public Intellectuals)

From Charles P. Pierce:

Conservatives in this country — most assuredly including David Brooks, and almost every Republican, including Ron Paul — love them some big government, and that's not even to mention how much they love to have big government meddle in people's sexytime. They love their farm subsidies and their rural electrical cooperatives. They just have been convinced by three decades of conservative charlatans that the big government they love is different from the big government loved by black bucks buying T-bone steaks and welfare queens in their Cadillacs. That has been the central pivot on which modern Republican politics has turned. It's a little late for the scales to be falling from your eyes now.... 
If Romney weren't the worst presidential candidate in history, Brooks would be telling us what a genius truth-teller he is. After all, Paul Ryan says this stuff all the time and I don't recall Brooks's ever saying that the zombie-eyed granny starver had fallen out of touch with Saint Ronnie's legacy. 
And, if poverty were still completely associated with black people, if the middle-class suburbanites, whom Brooks not long ago was encouraging to buy cheap Chinese-made crap as a statement of their common human freedom, were not seeing what they thought was a safe lifestyle stolen out from under them, we wouldn't be hearing any of this. Was Brooks alive in 1980? Did he hear the campaign that Reagan ran? Has he looked recently at Reagan's first budget? Everything that Mitt Romney said at that fundraiser was the inevitable result of a process that began under Barry Goldwater, when extremist economics and the sad detritus of American apartheid both got mainstreamed into the Republican party, that reached its apogee under Reagan, and that has been the ideological identity of the Republican party ever since. 
Finally, the careful reader will notice that despite Mr. Brooks finally taking a brickbat to Money Boo-Boo, in his closing paragraph -- 
Personally, I think he’s a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not — some sort of cartoonish government-hater. But it scarcely matters. He’s running a depressingly inept presidential campaign. Mr. Romney, your entitlement reform ideas are essential, but when will the incompetence stop?
-- Mr. Brooks once again demonstrates his two most deeply Conservative attributes:  a complete inability to let go of terrible ideas once he has piddled on them, and a genuinely pathological inability to force his mouth-hole to form the words "I. Was. Wrong."

Remember that Mr. Brooks backed the ruinous Bush tax cuts because the Bush Administration promised they contained magic stimulus bean powers that would grow the economy into the ionosphere.  When they failed miserably and blew a giant hole in the deficit to boot, Mr. Brooks was apparently too busy taking up fife and drum for Simpson-Bowles to bother to apologize for fucking that one up.

Following the bloody implosion of the Iraq War that he had so stridently pimped, the craven Mr. Brooks could never summon the guts to offer his readers a scintilla of the bold, straight talk he endlessly chastises others for failing to proffer.  Instead he took refuge in whining about the prosecution of the war and the "incompetence" of Donald Rumsfeld.

Remember that after Scooter Libby betrayed his country to protect his boss. Mr. Brooks was first in line to proclaim the whole thing a "farce" and personally vouch for Libby's rectitude...
...apparently on the strength of his musky man-smell, manners and the fact that Scooter paid for his own salmon croquettes at lunch (from "The News Hour"):
DAVID BROOKS: I went to lunch with Scooter Libby twice when he was -- and he told me...  
JIM LEHRER: What were the dates of those?  
DAVID BROOKS: Well, what struck me was, A, he told me nothing. I didn't even know what he was ordering half the time. 
DAVID BROOKS: And he was incredibly discrete. And the second thing that always struck me is, he would pay in cash. Usually, you can buy somebody lunch if it's up to $20. But he would insist on following the law to the stickler of the detail. He would always put down a $20 bill.

Remember that it was Mr. Brooks who leaped boldly to the defense of Operation Clusterfuck architect Paul Wolfowitz, accusing those who wanted Baron Von Spit-Comb to be held accountable for his actions of rank antisemitism:
It's Back 
The socialism of fools has returned to vogue not just in the Middle East and France, but in the American left and Washington. 
11:00 PM, FEB 20, 2003

I mentioned that I barely know Paul Wolfowitz, which is true. But I do admire him enormously, not only because he is both a genuine scholar and an effective policy practitioner, not only because he has been right on most of the major issues during his career, but because he is now the focus of world anti-Semitism. He carries the burden of their hatred, which emanates not only from the Arab world and France, but from some people in our own country, which I had so long underestimated.
But the example that is most eerily similar to Mr. Brooks' bagging on Willard Romney while remaining fully supportive of Romneyism took place following the bloody implosion of the Iraq War.  Remember that the Iraq War was an enterprise which Mr. Brooks had stridently pimped and used to score himself a primo job-for-life at the New York Times.  But after it all went horribly wrong, the craven Mr. Brooks could never quite summon the guts to offer his readers a scintilla of that bold straight-talk he endlessly chastises others for failing to proffer.  Instead Mr. Brooks took refuge in whining about the incompetence of Donald Rumsfeld, trying desperately to sculpt the failure of the Iraqi Debacle as much as possible down to one week in March 2003, and one Tone Deaf Secretary of Defense:
..The week of March 24 is vital because if Rumsfeld had made adjustments to the new circumstances then, much of the subsequent horror could have been averted…
Mr. Brooks' professional life has been one, long, slobbery paean to authoritarian plutocracy and nothing -- not war, not economic collapse and not the fact that the plutocracy's latest spokemodel has repeatedly shit his loafers in public -- is ever going to change that.


D Johnston said...

That's the trick with Brooks. Yes, almost everyone either ignores him or finds him distasteful, and neither group reads him. However, the people who do read him have money and connections.

How else could he have made it so far? David Brooks is not a smart man, but he is wise enough to know which people will pay him to say that they're right about everything.

preznit said...

even a blind squirrel sometimes finds a broken clock that has the right time of day after reading a Shakespeare play written by a roomful of monkeys ;}

Anonymous said...

Not even Charlie Pierce eviscerates Bobo like Drifty.

Ethree1967 said...

...the amazing spectacle of Willard Romney's radioactive plutocrat core breaching it's bland, well-coiffed containment unit and melt right straight through the Earth's mantle...


blader said...

We NEED to hear this perspective.

Drifty is no more repetitious than is Brooks.

Anonymous said...

regardless of how some may feel that Driftglass pays too much attention to Mr. Fucking Brooks, the position the latter commands makes the frequency of attacks on his hackery absolutely valid. And thanks, Driftglass.

blackdaug said...

I find it slightly hopeful (in the way Kubric thought The Shining was really a tale of hope, by positing an afterlife) that Brooks is the go to citation when Republicans do spectacular face plants.
As in: Even the most prolific, partisan, pseudo intellectual hack at the paper of record...had to admit..
Oh..and I wont bother to link..but none other than Peggington pried the Appletini out of her hand long enough to dictate her version of a "drunk mother scolding" for Mittens.
For the sake of the country, I hope he takes both of their advice columns to heart. You really cant buy enough of that kind of incompetent blathering...if your name is Obama.

n1ck said...

DG, I consider your takedowns of Brooks and The Big Lie to be a public service.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

One thing that I did note, as a small comfort, is that on MSNBC it was always stated, "conservative columnist David Brooks". I didn't hear anyone on MSNBC pretend he as centrist, but always state up front that he supports the right.


Madsgrl said...

Money Boo Boo!!!!
Oh my god, you win it again.

Montana said...

In the end it will be Willard Milton Romney’s own words that that will bring down his seven year run for the presidency. Thank you Romney for speaking your real mind, sure its ugly but it just confirms my feeling that you act more like a Corporation than a person who would show compassion when he realizes that a majority of my country is suffering. But hey, the empty chair was a great bit, thanks for the laughs.

someofparts said...

h/t to attaturk at Rising Hegemon for my latest favorite pet name for Brooks - Honey Bobo

Tehanu said...

What N1ck said. I hate Brooks with far more passion than I hate the more obvious right-wing spewers, because he pretends to be reasonable and mainstream -- and you call him out on it every time. So thanks.