Friday, June 07, 2013

The Soft Bigotry of Lowered Observations


One day, long after Mr. Brooks' betters have done all the heavy lifting and taken all the risks and stunted their careers laying down across the wire of transgressive opinion, the subject of the collapse of the Conservative Movement will have become utterly well-trodden ground.  Boring.  One day, saying that the Right went fucking barking mad will be as well-established and accepted a fact as Lee's surrender at Appomattox and students of contemporary political  history will sit in semicircles pitching theories about how it all happened and how it all was allowed to go so ruinously, wrathfully wrong  for so long in an environment where such ideas are 100% safe and consumer-tested. 
On that day, like a tourist trundling across Cemetery Ridge on a Segway sixteen decades after the battle ended, David Brooks will cautiously, blandly venture the opinion that maybe, just maybe, the cause of so much of our self-inflicted agony over the last several decades has been that one of our two major political parties was hijacked by bigots and lunatics.  
Today was not that day.
Instead, today America's Most Famous Conservative Public Intellectual wrote one more column about how the dysfunctional calamity our federal government was the unloved bastard child of the Both Sides.
 The Obama administration only has a year before the lame-duck status sets in. Yet you don’t get a sense of urgency. White House officials seem busy running the government, but they are not filling the public space with a transformational second-term agenda. 
Republican leaders aren’t offering bold plans either. They seem more worried about offending pieces of the current coalition than in attracting new ones. 
The heart of the problem is that nobody wants to champion proposals that have no chance of passing. Washington is immobilized by interest groups, polarization and a lack of federal dollars.
The rest of the column contains some banal observations about municipal government (Republican mayors use tax money to fill potholes!  Democratic mayors have lunch with restaurant owners!) but as always, it mostly acts as the apple into which Mr. Brooks slips his Centrist razor.
And he will continue to write this same column over and over again until it becomes a bad career move not to move on to something else.

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