Longtime readers know that one unifying theme behind most of my hundreds of essays about Mr. David Brooks and his terrible, terrible New York Times column is that Mr. Brooks is merely in the business of producing flaccid, fact-averse, revisionist drivel but that most of his columns are parts of a much large whole -- parts of Mr. Brooks' long-range project to create and enforce a completely fake, alternate history of the American Conservative Movement and the Republican Party.
In the past, using the considerable power that comes with being the NYT's resident "Reasonable Conservative" (and which, in turn, Mr. Brooks has multiplied many times over by leveraging his NYT position into a permanent presence on NPR, PBS and "Meet the Press") Mr. Brooks has simply airbrushed most of Conservatism's catastrophic policies (and his very vocal support of them) out of existence. In Mr. Brooks' New Abridged History there was never any such person as Jerry Falwell and never any such thing as the Southern Strategy, the hippie and the 1960s ruined everything, liberals are comically hapless dolts, the sum total of the Bush Administration exists as a barely remembered dream and the signal failure of the Obama Administration -- the one that caused Mr. Brooks to tearfully and angrily break up with the President -- has been not capitulating sufficiently to Republican demands.
Aand what happens on those uncomfortable occasions when shredding the complex tapestry of the actual past and replacing it with pro-Conservative fiction leaves all sorts of the untidy loose ends?
Well, Mr. Brooks usually solves that little problem by simply lying about it. And why not? I mean, it's not like there any professional downsides to Conservative pundits lying anymore.
There are no sanctions for lying Conservatives.
No one shuns you.
In fact, just the opposite is the case: in mainstream America political media, the only people who are routinely and rigorously sanctioned and shunned are people who persist in blabbing uncomfortable truths, which is why Mr. Brooks will almost certainly get away with his whitewash of history.
Because as we saw with the Tea Party (There. Is. No Tea. Party.) and Fox News, this nation is packed to the rafters with Conservatives who are so desperate to wish away what they have said and done for the last 30 years -- so frantic to pretend it never happened or that they were never a part of it -- that they will pay people to whisper that sweet, sweet lie to them over and over again.
Conservatism's foot-soldiers and cannon fodder will handsomely remunerate people like Limbaugh and O'Reilly and Hannity and Beck and Coulter and Gingrich and on an on and on to tell them that their paranoia is patriotic, that their bigotry is heroic,and that all the Very Bad Things that have ever happened were caused by gays, women, scary brown people and Evil Liberals.
And to the meet the more refined tastes of Conservatism's think-tankers and moneyed middle-management then have bullshit purveyors like David Brooks: oak-aged, well-marbled, top shelf lying at top shelf prices.
And so this week, Mr. Brooks first elides over both the entire 2012 Conservative cultural and electoral train-wreck and his place within said train-wreck by chalking it all up to the "political-entertainment complex ":
"Our political-entertainment complex makes it easy to caricature today’s G.O.P. But there’s an unorthodox crop of younger free-thinkers weaving a textured vision worth knowing."
And goes on to assert that in bright light of a new, post-Romney Conservative day, a constellation of new Conservative stars are rising. A constellation of new Conservative stars who may well now feel a rather large debt or obligation to Mr. Brooks for upping their profile in the New York Times (for extra fun-points, see if you can name all the "young" Conservatives pundits that Mr. Brooks conspicuously omitted from his roll-of-honor):
Writers like Rod Dreher and Daniel Larison tend to be suspicious of bigness...Reihan Salam, a writer for National Review, E21 and others, recently pointed out that there are two stories about where the Republican Party should go next...Henry Olsen of the American Enterprise Institute has argued for a Republican Party that listens more closely to working-class concerns...* Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review has argued for family-friendly tax credits and other measures that reinforce middle-class dignity.Jim Manzi wrote a seminal article in National AffairsSome of the most influential bloggers on the right, like Tyler Cowen, Alex Tabarrok and Megan McArdle, start from broadly libertarian premises but do not apply them in a doctrinaire way.Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago published an influential book, “A Capitalism for the People,” that took aim at crony capitalism.Tim Carney of The Washington Examiner does muckraking reporting on corporate-federal collusion.Rising star Derek Khanna wrote a heralded paper on intellectual property rights......unpredictable libertarian-leaning writers, including Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic...Yuval Levin, the editor of National Affairs is one of the two or three most influential young writers in politics today.The lawyer Adam J. White has argued for an approach to jurisprudence and regulatory affairs based on modesty...In contrast to many members of the conservative political-entertainment complex, they are data-driven, empirical and low-key in tone.Some politically unorthodox people in this conversation, such as Josh Barro of Bloomberg View, Meghan Clyne of National Affairs and Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute, specialize in puncturing sentimentality and groupthink.Since Nov. 6, the G.O.P. has experienced an epidemic of open-mindedness...
First let me say that I do admire the way in which the Right promotes from within. This is something at which Left often fails spectacularly (and which sometimes makes me wonder if flipping sides just long enough to sock away enough for retirement might not be the way to go.)
Second, the "political-entertainment complex" to which Mr. Brooks refers so flippantly is better known as the Republican Party and the American Conservative Movement, which are now basically indistinguishable from one another and which are bristling with layer upon layer of heavily fortified (and heavily funded) culture-war machines. If you want to know where the center of Conservative power lies, look at where its billionaires just spent their money, look at the Rape Caucus they ran for the Senate, look at the collection of flakes and demagogues who ran in their presidential primaries, look at who they nominated for President and what he had to say to the base of the Party to secure that nomination.
And if you want to know where Mr. Brooks stood on the policies and positions of the Republican Party and the American Conservative Movement during various critical moments in recent American history, you have but to read his own words.
Finally, as all Brooks scholars know, one of the shiny objects Mr. Brooks uses to distract his readers away from his horrible record of being wrong about everything is to regularly predict that the Right is juuuuuust on the verge of leaving --
Pabulum with a PurposeBeneath the much-mocked superficiality of the Philadelphia convention is a serious effort to transform the GOPAUG 14, 2000The GOP is not intolerant...
-- the Past-Which-Cannot-Be-Mentioned behind --
Yes, There Is a New EconomyThanks to once-in-a lifetime productivity gains, Bush's plans are easily affordableMAR 19, 2001...This year's tax and budget debate really comes down to one essential question: Is the money going to be there? The Congressional Budget Office projects surpluses of about $ 5.6 trillion over the next 10 years. The Republicans insist that those projections are conservative, so the government can afford to return $ 1.6 trillion to the taxpayers and still have money left over for Social Security, Medicare, and an $ 800 billion contingency fund. The Democrats cry that projections are notoriously inaccurate, that the tax cuts will blow a hole in the budget, and that the Bush administration's risky scheme (which sailed through the House last week) would cast us back into the days of piling debt.
-- and leaping boldly into its bright --
The Reemerging Republican MajorityWill Bush's popularity transform his party?FEB 11, 2002
...President Bush has broken the libertarian grip on the GOP.
-- Brooksian --
Competent Conservatives, Reactionary LiberalsJAN 15, 2001
We seem to be entering a period of competent conservatism and reactionary liberalism. George W. Bush has put together a cabinet long on management experience and practical skills. But liberal commentators and activists, their imaginations aflame, seem to be caught in a time warp, back in the days when Norman Lear still had hair....
*(Your humble scrivener cannot help but note in passing that Human Tadpole Ramesh Ponnuru made his media bones with a book entitled "The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life".)