And, having writ, moves on.
Nor all thy Piety nor Wit,
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out
A Word of it.
Mr. Brooks today:
The Truly Grand Bargain
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: December 3, 2012
Sometimes you have to walk through the desert to get to the Promised Land. That’s the way it is for Republicans right now. The Republicans are stuck in a miserable position at the end of 2012, but, if they handle things right, they can make 2013 an excellent year — both for their revival prospects and for the country.
To save you the trouble of wasting valuable cranial hard-drive space, let me summarize Mr. Brook's advice to the GOP on converting their pulverizing repudiation at the polls into pure dilithium crystals of awesome:
- Mr. Brooks' advice is based entirely on the assertion that the GOP is run by grownups who are deeply interested in fiscally responsibility. Of course this is the same, Centrist Opposite-Day popskull nonsense on which Mr. Brooks is constantly drunk. Not only is there no evidence to support this assertion whatsoever, there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary: the GOP has a decade's long record of being profligate assholes who run up colossal deficits on purpose to enrich their friends and to so bankrupt the government as to make the maintenance of programs they loathe impossible.
- The problem is those damned entitlement that are "structured to bankrupt our children." Except, no, they're not. There is nothing wrong with Social Security that a small fix can't mitigate for the foreseeable future, and nothing wrong with Medicare that addressing skyrocketing health care costs can't begin to bring under control.
- Putting air-quotes around the facts and ascribing the narrowest, most partisan motives to Barack Obama -- "President Obama needs rate increases to show the liberals he has won a 'victory,'," -- will balm the GOP's hurt fee-fees.
- And for Christ's Sake, don't mention how much we piss away on the Pentagon's bloated, two-front-war, cost-plus-plus-plus budget. Stick to sticking it to widows, orphans, the elderly and the poor...all in the name of tomorrow's children.
So lying about the true nature of the GOP + reality-denial + deliberately misdiagnosing the real problem + invoking Majyk Conjure Words like "Simpson-Bowles" and "Grand Bargain" over and over again + a little Fake Centrist "compromise" cherry on top = ...
...the inevitable package would please Republicans. The House would pass a conservative bill. The Senate would pass a center-left bill. The compromise between the two would be center-right.
Dean Baker drives in a spike or two:
Charles P. Pierce shoves the meat thermometer in up to the knuckles:
David Brooks Thinks When Democrats Win Elections They Have to Give Everything to Republicans
...From Jason Linkins at Arianna's House Of Pilfered Pleasures:
Recognizing their weak position, he says that Republicans should be prepared to allow the top tax rate to rise to 36 or even 37 percent, but in exchange:
"Republicans should also ask for some medium-size entitlement cuts as part of the fiscal cliff down payment. These could fit within the framework Speaker John Boehner sketched out Monday afternoon: chaining Social Security cost-of-living increases to price inflation and increasing the Medicare Part B premium to 35 percent of costs."Excuse me, but what planet is David Brooks on? This would be comparable to Japan asking for Hawaii and parts of California as it was negotiating its surrender in World War II.
If nothing happens right now, the top tax rate goes to 39.6 percent on January 1, 2013. Let's say that again just in case David Brooks is reading. If nothing happens right now, the top tax rate goes to 39.6 percent on January 1, 2013. There is nothing that John Boehner and the Republicans can do to stop this.
Furthermore, President Obama has a mandate to raise the top tax rate to 39.6 percent. Brooks probably missed this, but we just had a lengthy election campaign where taxes on the rich were the central issue. President Obama won.
Incredibly, Brooks' proposal for "medium size entitlement cuts" would take a much bigger bite out of the income of retirees than his bold concessions on taxes would take out of the income of the rich. The cut to the cost of living adjustment would reduce lifetime benefits of seniors by around 3 percent. For the third of retirees that rely on Social Security for more than 90 percent of their income, this would be a cut in their income more than 2.5 percent.
Over in the op-ed pages of The New York Times, David Brooks continues his reliable Ahab act, yearning to see some sort of "Grand Bargain" harpooned and reeled onto the capacious poop deck of his imagination. As per usual, in Brooks' world, it's the Democrats who somehow remain the impediment to all of these ambitions, and in this missive, it is because they've yet to concede enough to the opposition they've just defeated in an election to make the Bargain truly Grand.
Charles P. Pierce shoves the meat thermometer in up to the knuckles:
...NYT comment section regular "Gemli" sums up the sentiments of the many hundreds of people who pushed back hard against Mr. Brooks' desperate deceptions and falsifications:
If you're following all this at home, and are unfortunately out of good whiskey, let's see where the column has traveled so far. America thinks the Republican suck because, in many ways, they do, especially when it comes to obstructionism in the Congress. So the solution is to propose unpopular policies that the country already has rejected, and ones that the president and the Democrats are guaranteed to reject out of hand. Then, you go to the country that already hates those policies and already thinks you suck, and are obstructionist, and say, "Hey, the system doesn't work and we're ready to move!" As far as hard-headed political advice goes, I'll stick with my Magic 8-Ball, thanks.
The idea of a Grand Bargain is a fine one, as long as both sides bargain in good faith. That faith has been broken repeatedly over the last four years. Republicans were willing to deceive the public, refuse to govern, insult and demean the president, and embrace retrograde and offensive attitudes toward women, minorities, immigrants and gays and lesbians. The tone of the Republican players has not changed much, but the tone of the pundits has softened considerably. Now they chide the extreme elements of the party that they championed before the election. They admit to the most obvious and glaring failings of the G.O.P., as if that will wipe the etch-a-sketch clean. Republicans haven't suddenly become honorable because their lies failed to win the election.The goal should not be to cut "entitlements," but to provide retirement security and affordable medical care to all who paid for the privilege. If that means raising the cap on Social Security contributions, or bargaining for cheaper drug prices and slowing the outrageous inflation of the entitled medical industry, then so be it.The goal should not be a "center-right" solution. Today's right is so extreme that the so-called center is nowhere near a balanced, reasonable point that meets the needs of most people...
So much for Mr. Brooks today.
Here is David Brooks circa 2003 (with a little emphasis added to guide the eye):
The Collapse of the Dream PalacesFrom the April 28, 2003 issue: Mass destruction of mistaken ideas.APR 28, 2003, VOL. 8, NO. 32 • BY DAVID BROOKS
GEORGE ORWELL was a genuinely modest man. But he knew he had a talent for facing unpleasant facts. That doesn't seem at first glance like much of a gift. But when one looks around the world, one quickly sees how rare it is. Most people nurture the facts that confirm their worldview and ignore or marginalize the ones that don't, unable to achieve enough emotional detachment from their own political passions to see the world as it really is.Now that the war in Iraq is over, we'll find out how many people around the world are capable of facing unpleasant facts. For the events of recent months confirm that millions of human beings are living in dream palaces, to use Fouad Ajami's phrase. They are living with versions of reality that simply do not comport with the way things are. They circulate and recirculate conspiracy theories, myths, and allegations with little regard for whether or not these fantasies are true. And the events of the past month have exposed them as the falsehoods they are....