Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The First Rule Of Right Club Is:

You do not talk about Right Club.

Which is why Dave Brooks is the undisputed King of the Right.

Because according to Mr. Brooks, there is literally no problem anywhere on Earth for which Conservatism has ever been to blame.

In the Right Club, Every Single God Damn problem is either exclusively the fault of the Dirty Hippies and Woodstock or somehow equally shared by all of our "elites", every leader of both parties in every branch of government, and, apparently, every living person in America.

After speaking glowingly about how snappy and cheerful all of his tony friends are when he greets them at any of New York City's many fine piazzas and palazzos, Mr, Brooks gets right down to turning our national frown upside-down by diagnosing for the umpteenth time what is really wrong with this grumpy ol' nation.  We're all of us just too darned partisan!
The truest thing to say is this: We are living in an amazingly fortunate time. But we also happen to be living during a leadership crisis, and a time when few people have faith in elites to govern from the top. We live in a vibrant society that is not being led.

We don’t suffer from an abuse of power as much as a nonuse of power. It’s been years since a major piece of legislation was passed, and there’s little prospect that one will get passed in the next two.
As you will no doubt notice,  no one in particular is at fault here.  Not one political party or another.  Not one ideological damp or another.  Just "leadership".
This leadership crisis is eminently solvable. First, we need to get over the childish notion that we don’t need a responsible leadership class, that power can be wielded directly by the people. America was governed best when it was governed by a porous, self-conscious and responsible elite...
Not the Rush Limbaugh Party.  

The "Government Is the Problem" Party.  

Not the gun-waving, tyranny-shrieking inbred halfwits of the Tea Party.  

Not "Going Galt" meatsticks.

Just "powerful people".  Generically.
Powerful people might follow a code of public spiritedness. That means restraining your partisan passions and parochial interests for the sake of domestic tranquility. Re-establish the lines between public service and private enrichment.
Who practice "political bigotry" on both sides.
In 1960, 5 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of Democrats said they would be displeased if their children married someone of the opposite party. By 2010, Cass Sunstein observes, those numbers had jumped to 49 percent and 33 percent. How small-minded can you get?
No, there is not a single problem today that cannot be overcome with a couple of technical fixes to our electoral process.  

Which will never happen,  Because our political process is fucked in the head.

Thanks to David Brooks' Republican Party:
Fourth, put congressional reform atop the national agenda. More states could have open primaries. Nonpartisan commissions could draw district lines. Presidential nominees should get an up-or-down vote within 90 days. 
Year in, year out, I have never read a public writer so widely hailed and wise and sage by our political establishment who was more shit-his-pants, abjectly terrified of the obvious truth about his own party and profession, or more willing to pathologically lie about it -- badly  -- every day of his professional life.  


KaJo said...

"America was governed best when it was governed by a porous, self-conscious and responsible elite..."

Brooks must be talking about those folks who just came back from an arduous 5 week vacation, worked 8 days, and left for another 7 week vacation.

THOSE "responsible elites".

ssj said...

"...few people have faith in elites to govern from the top." "….childish notion that we don’t need a responsible leadership class…" "America was governed best when it was governed by a porous, self-conscious and responsible elite…"
I always thought David Brooks was a prissy snob; I never realized he was an elitist moron.

Anonymous said...

I can end the partisanship in Washington and solve David Brooks' "leadership crisis" very easily. The fact is the average (and I mean that in the purest sense) American is lightyears to the left of the current Republican party. They may not be liberals, buy they're a damn sight better than the GOP. I know this because these are the people America has deemed too poor or dark skinned to be allowed to participate in elections without being hamstrung by lengthy lines and outright misinformation.

To paraphrase Col. Walter E. Kurtz, give me an FEC committed to full participation in every federal election and even a fraction of the defense budget and our problems with these Tea Party types would be over *very* quickly.

Cirze said...


You are a man after my (our) heart(s).

Never have I laughed/cried so much when reading such a stellar depiction of our national reporting (lack thereof, actually) quandary with a particular heart twist as we begin heavily bombing in the next war. Perhaps last war (for the U.S. anyway).

You are a jewel.

And never in the rough.

Love you guys!

Robt said...

I haven't heard of any reports that Brooks has moved or is moving to Kansas, have you?

Where has Brooks clearly exulted Kansas
Brownback was (is) the right wing evangelical anointed by the almighty himself.
Brownback has carried out the religious tight conservative playbook, using Kansas as the incubater of what God tells him to do.
God told Brownback to cut taxes-he pick-eth up the sword and cut-teth taxes for lord. It hacked away at education for the children so they can be home schooled in the Lords name?
The state's credit rating has been dropped. Because the Lord would want it that way.
He raised taxes on solar panels on private homes, because God wanted Kansans to burn oil and coal at the Koch Brothers prices.
"God said unto Brownback, make my people dependent on carbon fuels" so he did.
--Does Brooks espouse the greatness of conservative and religious doctrine rule? You know, the governance that forces a way of life on you in the name of a political ideology and a religion?

Doesn't Brooks rail about the fading faith that has doomed America? Isn't Kansas evidence of Brooks' elaborative over all message of guidance to his opinion what would make America great ?

I have this uncanny suspicion that Brooks will never take on his life time espoused utopia that resembles in reality the state in which the state of Kansas is actually in presently. At the hands of a one time conservative presidential hopeful. Wasn't Brownback the reincarnation of Reagan but with midwestern evangelical conservatism.
* Staring the beast through tax cuts commanded Brownbacks God. So with the taxes paid for a functioning Government. Brownback cut taxes in certain places and --Whoola! No state revenues for the functioning BIG societal state government
that brooks preaches against and which Brownback realized.
Oh where will Brownback get his Governor's paycheck from? The Koch Bros?

Jado said...

"America was governed best way back when I deluded myself that the rapacious animals I helped to elect were actually enlightened benevolent leaders with the best intentions for the country at heart, and not actually narcissistic kleptomaniacs who burned down the functions of government in pursuit of power. But as long as I don't look too closely at objective evidence, I can probably continue the delusion. And get paid handsomely all the while."


bowtiejack said...

Why, it's almost like Brooks won't acknowledge "the elephant in the room".

Hey, that's a great metaphor. Maybe he could plagiarize it.

Anonymous said...

"...it's been years since a major piece of legislation has been passed.."
I couldn't even finish your article Driftglass before clicking onto comments to write this...just what the @#% would David Brooks call the Affordable Care Act? A MINOR piece of legislation? Or maybe because he can afford the best health care available it's not a law that registers on his radar much. Or maybe he's got PTSD from it, the ACA being so assaulting to his sensibilities that he's blocked it from memory so as to protect his weak ass mind. Ok, now that I've gotten that off my chest, I'm heading back into the fray to read the rest...thankfully you Driftglass, are the only medium in which it seems possible to read this milquetoast republican without wanting to punch a wall.

casimir said...

Since anyone who refers to him/herself as a Republican is either a sociopath or completely oblivious to the economic/social/political trajectory of the past 50 years, yes I would be displeased if my daughter were to wish to marry one.

dinthebeast said...

Anon at 10:27AM: The ACA was passed in 2010, four years ago now.

Bowtiejack: The newest Crack The Sky album has a song on it called "Big Elephant" that goes there.

-Doug in Oakland

steeve said...

"just what the @#% would David Brooks call the Affordable Care Act?"

He'd call it years old, and be right. But how strange that he doesn't hate the party that keeps trying to repeal and undermine it.

The ACA is a perfect example of Brooks-approved government. A Heritage Foundation plan where the only compromise was made by the only party Brooks asks to compromise. He should be praising it week after week, in every column, and excoriating those against it. Unless he believes in money more than his own ideas, of course.

gratuitous said...

"We are living in an amazingly fortunate time." I presume Mr. Brooks is using either the royal "we" or including his tapeworm. Because he is indeed living in an amazingly fortunate time to be drawing such a phat paycheck for his "work."

Robt said...

Since the A.C.A. originated in some form or another from the Heritage Foundation, (before the insane Ex Sen. Jim Demint of S.C. took it over).
Do you believe today that Heritage could brainstorm in that manner today? And, Seeing how conservatives disavow the A.C.A. knowing the A.C.A. conception is of their ideology which does not get acceptance of their own ideas.
Can conservatives ever again hold out any Heritage thought policy seriously in the future?
And Gratuitous,
"phat pay check for his work"?
You call it work? Really?

Anonymous said...

"He'd call it years old and be right."

Well....it's been 4 years since it was signed into law though it only took effect in January of this year. I think that makes it debate worthy as far as calling it "old" legislation. Couple that with how widespread and far reaching it's effect has been hardly makes it something that can be dismissed as yesterday's news. But I will agree with you Stevee about how Bobo should be excoriating the Republicans for their attempts to tear it down considering it came from their think tanks.

Robt said...

When it comes to the GOP alternative to health care, "allowing sale across state lines". Which continues to linger as their mantra.
I get my insurance through my company. They purchased it in a state where their corporate HQ resides. The plant I work for is another state, but I relieve the insurance purchased from the other state all the same.
How did those wascally corporate exec's smuggle my insurance across state lines without the GOP smelling it?

Did my state health insurance commissioner look the other way or is just napping?

So if you were Brooks, how do you wordsmith this into religious conservative principles being attacked and how it pertains to the liberals who are out to break the Reagan light bulbs on the shinning city?

gra said...

I did put "work" in quotation marks.

CM said...

//Did my state health insurance commissioner look the other way or is just napping?//

No. This plan from out of state still will have to meet insurance requirements of the state you reside in. But when republicans say they want insurance companies to be able to sell insurance across state lines they mean that they can offer plans across state lines that only meets the requirement of the state in which insurance company wants to operate. Big difference.

Robt said...

So when conservatives say "sell health plans across state lines"

Are they saying have the Big bad Federal Gov't strip away state Rights ?

That States shall not have the right to set standards of insurance policies for their individual states?

My company purchases insurance in one state for people in another state.
"That is different, how?

That it had to meet approval of our state health insurance commissioner?

Robt said...

oh your good,

Your absolutely correct about placing the word work in quotation.

CM said...

//That it had to meet approval of our state health insurance commissioner?//

Yes. If republicans have their way the insurance companies will just have to get the approval of one state from which they offer the plan to people in other states. Your state health insurance commissioner should not prevent you from buying that product. By preventing you from buying that out of state product your state bureaucrats are infringing on your individual freedoms and liberties according to republicans.

Habitat Vic said...

CM. Yep, that is exactly what the conservatives want when they tout selling health insurance across state lines.

I can see it now: Fred Thompson in that slow deep Southern drawl, pitching Patriot Jesus Health Insurance Company. Low rates! Even lower benefits! Rejection letters include quotes from the bible (Old Testament only, of course).

At the end of commercial a 100-mph announcer mentions the company is HQ'd in Bumfuck, Louisiana and only licensed to meet its local insurance regulations.

MCPlanck said...

Brooks is now openly advocating for monarchy.

Wow. Just wow.

I hate that guy so much, words fail.

Anonymous said...

If someone can write "Nonpartisan commissions could draw district lines" and actually believe that, they have no business being listened to.

A friend once posted praise for David Brooks. He was amazed when I told him that Brooks is a moron. Asking why I thought that way, I just replied with your website link. Says all I ever could and more!

CM said...

//A friend once posted praise for David Brooks.//

I have the same problem. Several of my liberal and left of center friends tell me Brooks is a genius. I find it hard to argue against them. I too point them to this blog. Not sure if it makes any difference though. They somehow buy into both-siderism more easily than me. After all there is a certain non-falsifiability to the "both sides do it" proposition. It is just that "not to the same extent" is lost in the debate.

Kathleen said...


Yup. I know what you're talking about. Some of my friends - highly educated, accomplished, smart women - think Brooks, Friedman and Dowd are wonderful thinkers/writers and NPR tells the truth about everything. This is what drives me crazy about many liberals. They think there is always "another side" to consider, even when that "other" side is just plain malicious and destructive.

steeve said...

"allowing sale across state lines"

The media could have ended that on day one by "and that covers pre-existing conditions ... how?" Their failure to point that out (and the fact that the US pays twice as much as everyone else for the same care) cements the fact that every viewer they have is one more than they deserve.

CM said...



Another amazingly shallow writer. Unfortunately all the business execs I know have his book "The World is Flat" in their office. Fortunately they don't have the time to read it.

Kathleen said...

@CM Is the book "Who Moved My Cheese" still popular in those circles?