The second happiest words on teevee this week* are these:
So you'll have to buy your Both Sider smack somewhere else.
Like. say, from the PBS News Hour:
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, [Democrats] made a big mistake.There's -- Mark's right. There's no question there's been a deterioration of norms, but that's no reason to basically begin the erosion of the institution of the Senate, what makes the Senate special. When you go to the Senate dining room and you look at the senators, they actually do talk to each other across party lines. They have working relationships. It's not great. It's not the way it used to be.But they basically have working relationships. And they were able to pass legislation, even immigration reform, a couple weeks or months ago, because they have to do that, because to get a lot of stuff passed, including nominations, you have got to get 60 votes. And it's very rare that one party has 60 votes. So, they're used to working across party lines, in a way they just aren't in the House.And so, if you take away that 60-vote thing, starting now with some of the nominations, but probably going within a couple of years to the Supreme Court nominations and maybe the legislation, you basically are turning the Senate into the House. You're basically beginning the erosion of what makes the Senate special, beginning the erosion of minority rights.You're creating a much more polarized body over the long term. So, if you think partisanship and polarization are in short supply, well, then this was a good move, because we're going to have more of it, I think, in the medium and long term.
I have to give Mark Shields (David Brook's Lou Costello) credit for pointing out that Mr. Brooks' analysis is patently absurd. That the Senate has already become a shithole of Republican obstructionist nihilism thanks entirely the coordinated sabotage of the institution by Republicans:
MARK SHIELDS: David's -- David's analysis is, as always, interesting, but erosion of partisan -- of comity and good feelings is not beginning with this. This is not -- this is not a cause.This is an effect of what has happened. I mean, this is a consequence of what has been going on. In running administration, Judy, personnel is policy. If you can't have your own people at a department or an agency, you can never -- you can never execute or be responsible for -- for the administration of justice and the law, which is your obligation. ...
But Mr. Brooks did not get to be the Sage of the Beltway without a truly epic capacity to ignore observable reality in favor of his prefabricated Both Sider advice that he best way for Democrats (and this advice always applies exclusively to Democrats) to get a bully to stop punching them in the face and taking their lunch money is to continue giving that bully their lunch money and offering their face up for punching:
DAVID BROOKS: ...In the first place, what you're going to get is much more polarized judges. Now you have to kind of pick a nominee who is going to get some votes from the other party. Once this rule is in place, you don't have to do that. Both parties are going to go to their bases and we will have a much more polarized judiciary than we have now as a part of this.Then the final thing to be said, I agree with Mark, there's been a deterioration of norms, but the way to fix that is try to get people to behave better. We fix the norms. You don't want to break the fundamental structures and rules of the body. To me, that's basically giving up.And so we're sort of sentencing ourselves to a long period of greater polarization and partisanship.
And so. like the rich, shallow, delusional Neddy Merrill in John Cheever's surreal "The Swimmer", our Mr. Brooks continues to plunge indefatigably onward towards an institution which he keeps insisting is warm and vital, but which we all know by the end of the story (Spoiler Alert) has been decrepit and abandoned for years.
* The happiest words are...
* The happiest words are...