Friday, October 09, 2015

The Triumphant Return of The Beltway Iron Rule of David Brooks

As his party's presidential race is consumed by liars and lunatics and his party's Congressional majority immolates itself down to the subatomic level live on national teevee, Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times has chosen as the subject of his internationally syndicated column, this:

Yes, David Brooks wrote that.

David Brooks, whose history of lies, denials and reversals is as long and as ponderous as the chains of Marley's Ghost wrote that.

David Brooks, who remains simultaneously employed at five of the most influential jobs in the media solely because his colleague have all signed blood oaths to never, ever talk about all the things he has gotten horrendously wrong over the years wrote that.

David Brooks -- whose full-time vocation is rewriting Conservative history over and over again to excise the massive and growing list of icky, traitor-y stuff -- wrote that.

In fact, Mr. Brooks goes all the way back back to days when he was merrily penning Liberal hit-pieces for Bloody Bill Kristol, extolling the virtues of the Bush tax cuts and declaring unconditional victory in Iraq to smack around Hillary Clinton because, over time, she has changing her positions on several issue in order to align them with the position of her party.

Here's how he describes the process:
All presidential candidates face a core problem. To win their party’s nomination in an age of growing polarization they have to adopt base-pleasing, pseudo-extreme policy positions. But to win a general election and actually govern they have to adopt semi-centrist majority positions.

How can one person do both?
Only in the well-appointed asylum of Mr. Brooks' imagination would any sane person consider protecting the civil rights of all Americans, raising the minimum wage, taking some very simple steps towards curbing gun slaughter and the rest of the basic Democratic Party package be considered "pseudo-extreme policy positions". But like an aging, DT drunk, these days Mr. Brooks must have three quick shots of Both Siderist popskull every morning just to fight off the shakes long enough to crank out this drool.

Speaking of which...
Nobody had figured this out until, brilliantly, Hillary Clinton. She is campaigning on a series of positions that she transparently does not believe in. She’ll say what she needs to say now to become Bernie Sanders in a pantsuit (wait, Bernie Sanders already wears a pantsuit!). Then, nomination in hand and White House won, she will, it appears, transparently flip back and embrace whatever other positions she doesn’t believe in that will help her succeed in her new role.
Hey, I have an idea!   Let's hop in the wayback machine and see how Mr. Brooks framed his staunch defense of Mittens "Etch-a-Sketch" Romney just three short years ago in a column entitled (I am not kidding):
The Upside of Opportunism
First and foremost Mr. Brooks states as empirical fact that the re-election of Barack Obama would doom us all.

Because Both Sides!
Then Obama would go to the House. He’d ask Eric Cantor, the majority leader, if there were votes for such a deal [Grand Bargain!]. The answer would probably be no. Republican House members still have more to fear from a primary challenge from the right than from a general election challenge from the left. Obama is tremendously unpopular in their districts. By running such a negative presidential campaign, Obama has won no mandate for a Grand Bargain. Obama himself is not going to suddenly turn into a master legislative craftsman on the order of Lyndon Johnson.

There’d probably be a barrage of recriminations from all sides. The left and right would be consumed with ire and accusations. Legislators would work out some set of fudges and gimmicks to kick the fiscal can down the road.

The ensuing bitterness would doom any hopes for bipartisan immigration reform...
Sounds pretty scary kids!  Whatever shall we do?

Well, according to Mr. Brooks, it is precisely because his Republican Party is so unhinged (again, I am not kidding) that we must have a Republican president.


Because the while the GOP may be insane, we have Mr. Brooks' personal assurance that his party would not be insane enough to destroy its own leader just to score purity points with the base:
Now let’s try to imagine the world if Mitt Romney were to win. Republicans would begin with the premise that the status quo is unsustainable. The mounting debt is ruinous. The byzantine tax and regulatory regimes are stifling innovation and growth.

Republicans would like to take the reform agenda that Republican governors have pursued in places like Indiana and take it to the national level: structural entitlement reform; fundamental tax reform. These reforms wouldn’t make government unrecognizable (we’d probably end up spending 21 percent of G.D.P. in Washington instead of about 24 percent), but they do represent a substantial shift to the right.

At the same time, Romney would probably be faced with a Democratic Senate. He would also observe the core lesson of this campaign: conservatism loses; moderation wins. Romney’s prospects began to look decent only when he shifted to the center. A President Romney would look at the way Tea Party extremism had cost the G.O.P. Senate seats in Delaware and Nevada — and possibly Missouri and Indiana.

To get re-elected in a country with a rising minority population and a shrinking Republican coalition, Romney’s shape-shifting nature would induce him to govern as a center-right moderate. To get his tax and entitlement reforms through the Democratic Senate, Romney would have to make some serious concessions: increase taxes on the rich as part of an overall reform; abandon the most draconian spending cuts in Paul Ryan’s budget; reduce the size of his lavish tax-cut promises.

As President Romney made these concessions, conservatives would be in uproar. Talk-radio hosts would be the ones accusing him of Romneysia, forgetting all the promises he made in the primary season. There’d probably be a primary challenge from the right in 2016.

But Republicans in Congress would probably go along. They wouldn’t want to destroy a Republican president...
Thus demonstrating three of the most important truths in American politics today.

First, as Brother Charlie Pierce has said repeatedly, in the Beltway "anything that every politician since Pericles has done becomes dubious when done by a Clinton."

The leading English-language antonym of "prescient" remains "David Brooks".

Second, nobody in the Beltway media can be bothered to read old David Brooks columns. Not even David Brooks.


Jimbo said...

Brilliant hoisting of Brooks on his ole petard. Watching him on the NewsHour with his nervous, smarmy smirk make transparently contradictory remarks, sometimes in the same sentence, it's as if he is consciously trolling himself. The man is just weird.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Maybe I am indulging in stereotypes here--for all I know, Brooks may have been a studmuffin in his college years--but I suspect Drifty is correct that Brooks hates hippies because hippie or quasi-hippie dudes were more popular with the ladies than the Young Americans for Freedom or Randroid uebermensch-wannabe types of dude were.

Robt said...

[ The serene and soothing effect of a Babbling Brooks ]

"Obama won no mandates?

Brooks on the other paw would surely argue GW Bush won all kinds of political mandates and political capital to spend. When 5 Supremes rule that this time and only this one time, they would over ride the "State Rights" Commandment and send white smoke out of the halls of the SCOTUS arse in favor of the royal Bush family.
The even minded Sullivan on Bill Mahr displayed his bi partisanship on the show verbally on video.
Perhaps Brooks could go on Real Time and convince people how non partisan he can be too.
I mean you know, both sides.
How does Brooks explain the (heads and tails) of the coin when it comes to the House of Reps majority divided. Does he write how a majority House divide will cause America to fall?
Does he write flowery blossoms of all 20 sides within the House GOP "do it" ??

This no win scenario with Brooks is ridiculous.
Only when the GOP wins does a mandate of the people pulse.
The people demanded torture, Gov't spying on them, Wall Street bailouts, invasions of other countries and mandate after mandate.

What happened to Bush's privatize Social Security mandate?
Those evil partisan wascally liberals?

Might it have something to do with monied benefactors?
The NRA/ weapons merchants require a mandate for guns everywhere to everyone (including terrorists). Now those that did not care for owning a gun must consider ownership because of the dangers of everyone else. Sales up, profits up. Economic growth up? American society in dire jeopardy.

mandates for GOP are pay back for financing their elections and only the Citizens United elite can have mandated issues.

dinthebeast said...

To quote the dearly departed Molly Ivins: "If his IQ drops a couple of more points, we're going to have to start watering him twice a day..."

-Doug in Oakland