Friday, January 31, 2014

Ain't No Party Like a Whig Party


'Cause a Whig Party is Imaginary (UPDATE)

In today's New York Times, David Brooks invites the President of the United States to come down into the dark and eat chicken with him:

But before we get to that, let me take a moment to gloat immodestly...

Longtime readers of this blog know that, post by post, year by year, I have built what I believe to be an irrefutable case that New York Times columnist and America's Most Ubiquitous Conservative Public Intellectual, David Brooks, has given up writing about Reality as you and I understand it altogether, because over the last few decades Reality has hurt his tender, fee-fees so very deeply.  

And so, like most Conservatives, rather than face a Reality which has rudely demonstrated over and over again that you really do not have the slightest fucking clue what you are talking, Mr. Brooks has instead taken refuge down a Centrist rabbit hole of his own making, inventing an entire alternate history in which the last twenty years simply never happened (from a disreputable and long-forgotten wag of my acquaintance, with emphasis added to catapult the propaganda):
Second, it is now painfully clear that Mr. Brooks is engaged in a long-term project to completely rewrite the history of American Conservatism: to flense it of all of the Conservative social, political  economic and foreign policy debacles that make Mr. Brooks wince and repackage the whole era as a fairy tale of noble Whigs being led through treacherous hippie country by the humble David Brooks.

And odds are he'll get away with it too.
So imagine my LMFAO complete lack of surprise to discover Mr. Brooks generously confirming my belief that he has not just been taking a very, very long Gentleman's Intermission from Reality, but is now actively suing Reality for divorce on the grounds of Loss of Consortium.

Because Both Sides!

And, yes, because The Fucking Whigs!
[President Obama] might start, for example, by scrambling the current political categories. We now have one liberal tradition that believes in using government to enhance equality. We have another conservative tradition that believes in limiting government to enhance freedom. These two traditions have fought to a standstill and prevented Obama from passing much domestic legislation of late.

But there is a third ancient tradition that weaves through American history, geared directly at enhancing opportunity and social mobility. This is the Whig tradition, which begins with people like Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and Abraham Lincoln. This tradition believes in using the power of government to give marginalized Americans the tools to compete in a capitalist economy...
And, yes, you can search Mr. Brooks' entire column and not find the word "Republican" anywhere. Nor will you find a single word about obstructionism, or Tea Baggers, or the entire history of a Movement to which David Brooks sold his immortal soul for a nice house in a tony suburb.

Instead, as always, you will find David Brooks just free-style ass-whistling in the pages of the New York Times.  Making his usual, vague, mumbly gestures in the general direction of an inexorable "American history" which has somehow, inexplicably, led us to this terrible impasse because...something something...Both Sides!......something something...

You will find no mention of the terrible wingnut Doomsday Machine that Conservatives like David Brooks

eagerly helped construct and set in motion -- a machine built to create precisely the havoc which Mr. Brooks now weeps over.

Instead, what you will find America's Most Ubiquitous Conservative Public Intellectual counselling President of the United States to (no kidding) completely give up on trying to get anything done (Because, again, Both Sides!) --
President Obama can spend the remainder of his term planting a few more high-tech hubs, working on reforming the patent law and doing the other modest things he mentioned in his State of the Union address. And if he did that, he might do some marginal good, and he would manage the stately decline of his presidency during its final few years.

Or, alternately, he can realize that he is now at a moment of liberation. For the past five years he has been inhibited by the need to please donors, to cater to various Congressional constituencies and to play by Washington rules.

But the legislating phase of his presidency is now pretty much over. Over the next few years he will be free to think beyond legislation, beyond fund-raising, beyond the necessities of the day-to-day partisanship...
-- and instead spend his remaining years in office barnstorming the country on behalf of David Brooks' Imaginary Whig Party:
President Obama could travel the country modernizing the Whig impulse, questioning current divisions and eroding the rigid battle lines. More concretely, he could create a group of Simpson-Bowles-type commissions — with legislators, mayors, governors and others brought together to offer concrete proposals on mobility issues from the beginning to the end of the life span
I would end this with a flourish of fancy adjectives, but frankly I'm tired, and have little to add to what that disreputable, permanently-underemployed potty-mouth of my acquaintance already said back in 2012:
Like a sculptor inspecting a magnificent slab of raw statuario marble, the wise critic carefully circles today's amazing, mile-high-shitpile of a David Brooks column once... twice... thrice... before unwrapping the tools of his trade.

And then the wise critic stops and realizes the futility of such an enterprise.

Because long ago Mr. Brooks simply stopped writing "columns" full of "facts" about "stuff" and started writing a collection of Whig Fan Fiction short stories.

These stories are not about the world as it actually exists, but the world as Mr. Brooks wishes it to be.  And since he is not a very good fiction writer, there are many, many points where the gears of the real world and his fake Whig World grind and howl, forcing Mr. Brooks to apply gallons of fictive lubricant to keep the keening noise of the real world ripping Whig World off its hinges from drowning out the tepid drone of his writing.

When Mr. Brooks needs an imaginary moral high ground of Centrism on which to stand, he conjures an imaginary army of Dirty Fucking Hippies on the Left that exactly counterpoises the very real mob of Pig People on the Right... 
UPDATE:  Charles Pierce weighs in:
Dear Jesus, he's gone mad. This reads like Smithsonian combined with Parade -- "My Life Had No Meaning Until I Met Millard Fillmore." Oh, and Lincoln stopped being a Whig, and the Whigs stopped being a party, because of an issue involving a certain group of "marginalized" Americans that Brooks is too polite to mention here.
President Obama could travel the country modernizing the Whig impulse, questioning current divisions and eroding the rigid battle lines. More concretely, he could create a group of Simpson-Bowles-type commissions - with legislators, mayors, governors and others brought together to offer concrete proposals on mobility issues from the beginning to the end of the life span...
Kill me now. I mean it. Kill me right now with an entrenching tool. This is the orgasmic howl of the Beltway Gollum -- One, two, many Simpson-Bowleseses, precious, precious, yes, YES, YES!!!!...


Anonymous said...

Honestly, as long as Brooks keeps saying that the rich people from the big coastal cities are actually great men, that taxation should be kept low, the welfare state must be shrunk, that poverty is the fault of the impoverished, he's fine.

That's all people care about.

Social Security delenda est. That's the great bipartisan theme that everyone who's not in flyover loves to sing.

Kathleen said...

Ohhhhh! I just hope that scary Richard Sherman fellow behaves himself at the Simpson-Bowles this Sunday and doesn't ask for handouts for his t****y friends! Any lack of decorum on his part would upset Mr. Brooks mightily, I suspect. I eagerly await Mr. Brooks' Burkean admonitions. What? Richard Sherman is playing in the Super Bowl, not the Simpson Bowles? Never mind. (Face drops into bowl of gruel attendant has placed on the table.)

Anonymous said...

A group of commissions.

That's what he thinks is going to save us. A group of commissions.

I got an idea: How about two really big commissions? One with 100 people in it and another with, like, 435? And they can decide everything? And once in a while we, the people, get together and decide who's on the commissions?

Naah. It'll never work. Unless you specify that commission members can't hate America. But you can't make a rule like that, because freedom.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Obama's time would be better spent touring the country, convincing the nation's CEOs and banksters that they've "earned" quite enough of money by now. And in a last ditch effort to rescue the Gipper's legacy and prove trickle down effective, start relinquishing their grip on the people's capital. Think of the children, Mr. Obama...

blader said...

Brooks no doubt believes that a wave of bipartisan support for this idea is just offshore, as long as they come up with a "Commission on the Colored Problem"

not to mention...

"Commission on Our School Taxes, Our Choice, Our Jesus"

Aulton White said...

Well it would help to have current information. You wrote: "'Cause a Whig Party is Imaginary". You are wrong. The Whig Party is very real and growing. Go see for your self at or as well as many other states. Look for us on Facebook as well.

Pinkamena Once More said...

You maintain that fantasy, "Aulton". You live in that alternate reality and make sure you don't stain ours by brushing against the walls on your way out.