The triumphant return of The New Old David Brooks.
It is always adorable when Mr. Brooks writes about "Teh Liberals".
Or, rather, "Teh Neopaleoliberals", whatever that is:
The New Old Liberalism
This neopaleoliberalism is built less on going after Wall Street and the rich and more on a tremendous faith in government to manage the economy more intelligently than the private sector. It’s less a negative assault on the elites and more an optimistic faith in the power of planning. The private sector is not evil or power hungry, just kind of dumb.
This David 1.0 -- The Weekly Standard David -- temporarily setting aside his humble, moralizing David 2.0 sackcloth and ashes to snark at the folly of those darn Liberals. Out from behind his facade, the Old David assures me that the content of Hillary Clinton's policy address was stupid and wrong.
Not Bernie Sanders (Ooga!Booga!) stupid and wrong, but still...
She has echoes of Hubert Humphrey or George McGovern in her voice, or a more liberal Michael Dukakis.She’s way to the left of where her husband was and to the left of where Barack Obama was in 2008 or 2012. But she’s responded to the reality of growing inequality with a revived paleoliberalism, not with the edgier, angry economic policy you find among Bernie Sanders and the cutting-edge left.
Personally I find this faith epistemologically naïve. Clinton seems to have no awareness that many of the programs she endorsed have been tried and did not work. The Obama administration spent mightily on green energy jobs programs and they did not work to significantly increase employment. Empowerment zones, which she endorsed, have mostly failed to help low-income neighborhoods. Clinton displayed no awareness that most federal requirements involve difficult trade-offs. According to the Congressional Budget Office, raising the minimum wage to even $10.10 an hour would increase pay for millions of workers, but would cost roughly 500,000 jobs.
Old David is back, boldly oer'leaping 40 years of Conservative catastrophe and his own, decades-long record of fraud and failure to make making broad assertions about those damn Liberals without citing a single study or linking to a single source.
And he'll get away with it too, because there is a story the Beltway tells itself. It's a very old story -- a fairy tale -- but it comforts them and makes them rich and they control the cameras and who get to sit in front of them, so by dint of sheer repetition, it is the story much of the country believes to be true.
In this story, the Republican Party is run by a competent team of businessmen and political managers who have to ride herd on a rambunctious but mostly well-intentioned coalition of interests brought together by a sincere interest in
destroying the federal government, eliminating taxes and regulations for the wealthy and bombing the shit out of anyone who looks at us funny, all while singing "Oh What a Friend We Have In Jebus" running the country like a profitable business for the good of everyone. Sure, every now and then, one of the minor factions of the party runs a little wild and has to be brought back into line, but hey, at least they're not dirty fucking hippies, amirite!
One of the chief promulgators of this fairy tale is a man named David Brooks who has many different media jobs, all of which depend on his job-for-life at the New York Times. For nearly 20 years, Mr. Brooks and his imitators have been selling a political version of the infamous Friedman Unit --
The Friedman Unit, or simply Friedman, is a tongue-in-cheek neologism. One Friedman Unit is equal to six months, specifically the "next six months", a period repeatedly declared by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman to be the most critical of the then-ongoing Iraq War even though such pronouncements extended back over two and a half years.
-- in which some noisy but ultimately trivial wing off his Republican Party might be getting a little rowdy, but the Responsible Adults who really run the show would soon bring them to heel, don't you worry.
I mean, at least they're not Howard Dean, amirite!
For example. here is Mr. Brooks in 2001 reporting on rise of "competent conservatism":
Competent Conservatives, Reactionary LiberalsJAN 15, 2001We seem to be entering a period of competent conservatism and reactionary liberalism. George W. Bush has put together a cabinet long on management experience and practical skills. But liberal commentators and activists, their imaginations aflame, seem to be caught in a time warp, back in the days when Norman Lear still had hair....
Here is Mr. Brooks in 2002 reporting on the end of libertarianism in the GOP:
The Reemerging Republican MajorityWill Bush's popularity transform his party?FEB 11, 2002
...President Bush has broken the libertarian grip on the GOP.
And through the administration of George W. Bush, candidacies of John McCain and Mitt Romney, the rise of the Fake Tea Party and the his hysterical freakout over President Obama starting to treat the GOP like the criminally insane revival meeting they truly are, David Brooks and his army of imitators have been remarkably consistent: there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the Republican Party which completely ignoring the evidence of the last 50 years and kicking out a few of the louder brownshirts won't fix.
Sure there are a few speed-bumps along the way to finishing the Whig Party of Mr. Brooks' dreams, but at least they're not Paul Krugman amirite!
The Pelosi Democrats
Are they going to become the stupid party?
NOV 18, 2002, VOL. 8, NO. 10 • BY DAVID BROOKS
ARE THE DEMOCRATS about to go insane? Are they about to decide that the reason they lost the 2002 election is that they didn't say what they really believe? Are they about to go into Paul Krugman-land, lambasting tax cuts, savaging Bush as a tool of the corporate bosses? Are they about to go off on a jag that will ensure them permanent minority status in every state from North Carolina to Arizona?
The problem, of course, is that a long time ago the fairy tale stopped being convenient narrative hammock in which lazy media grifters could repose in comfort and instead became their basic input/output system. The thing that boots them up every day. The thing that tells them who they are, what their function is and how they should treat all the other devices to whom they are attached.
And because it is part of the basic code which operates the entire machine, it is not a thing to be questioned or tampered with in any way.
Which is why Old David can warn of the terrible dangers of neopaleoliberalifragilisticexpialidociousness or whatever and be taken seriously.
Or reemerge on The News Hour on Friday to announce for the umpteenth time that his Republican Party has turned that corner, the noisy rabble are fading away and Responsible Republicans like David Brooks are once again safely assuming command:
DAVID BROOKS: No. It was a matter of days or even hours. They had to formulate things.What matters is that whether the Republican Party rediscovers where George W. Bush was on immigration, where John McCain was on immigration, where a lot of — where Bob Dole — where a lot of previous nominees have been.And the party has wandered into an anti-immigration or an anti-immigration reform direction as a result of the rise of the talk radio part of the party. But that part of the party is waning, frankly, and I think it will be very possible for Jeb Bush or Rubio, whoever the nominee is, to be where McCain was and to be where George W. Bush was.Those are not ancient history of the Republican Party. The party will rediscover that moment.
Old David is back, secure in the knowledge that not one of his fellow Beltway grifters will say a word against him.