But never jam today.
-- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There
Again and again, linear time keeps letting David Brooks down.
Because David Brooks is a man who has literally built an entire industry out of predicting that the madness and racism at the heart of his GOP either does not exist at all, or is merely a transient nuisance -- acne on the ass of the Imaginary Republican Party of St. Ronald Reagan which, if everyone would just shut the hell up and ignore the man behind the curtain, will be cleared up momentarily
Here are a few of his greatest hits...with emphasis added to suit myself:
From September, 1999
ONE NATION CONSERVATISMHow George W. Bush and John McCain -- without quite realizing it -- are creating a new Republican philosophy...together, Bush's Compassionate Conservatism and McCain's New Patriotic Challenge are steps toward a fresh vision for the Republican party. Indeed, if you meld the core messages of the two campaigns, you get a coherent governing philosophy for the post-Clinton age.
From January, 2001
Competent Conservatives, Reactionary LiberalsWe 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....
From February, 2002
The Reemerging Republican MajorityWill Bush's popularity transform his party?...President Bush has broken the libertarian grip on the GOP.
And jumping all the way forward to November, 2014, everything was lookin' good!
The big Republican accomplishment is that they have detoxified their brand. Four years ago they seemed scary and extreme to a lot of people. They no longer seem that way. The wins in purple states like North Carolina, Iowa and Colorado are clear indications that the party can at least gain a hearing among swing voters. And if the G.O.P. presents a reasonable candidate (and this year’s crop was very good), then Republicans can win anywhere. I think we’ve left the Sarah Palin phase and entered the Tom Cotton phase.
Until, one year later, in November of 2015 --
The G.O.P. at an Immigration CrossroadsIt’s no exaggeration to say that the next six months will determine the viability of the Republican Party.
-- David Brooks was once again forced to fall back on his own version of the Friedman Unit to warn American that pretty soon now, if someone other than David Brooks didn't Take Steps some Very Bad Things might start to happen.
And now, four months later...
A Little Reality on ImmigrationDonald Trump built his campaign on the promise to build a wall along the Mexican border. The idea is attention-grabbing (and unworkable). But the striking thing is that it’s not too far away from the current Republican orthodoxy.Not long ago you could be a movement conservative and be for reasonably open immigration policies. Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, Steve Forbes and George W. Bush all took open positions on immigration.But times have changed...
This is followed by a laundry list of "facts" and "figures" showing that the new Republican orthodoxy is, well, "nuts" I suppose would be the non-technical term for it.
You remember "facts" and "figures", right? Those pesky reminders of external reality which David Brooks' GOP long ago decided to exile from their batshit cult of blissful, belligerent ignorance? Well for some reason Mr. Brooks decided to take them out for a walk around the burnt out ruins of the Party of Lincoln, and then wrap up his wholly empty gesture by framing his column as some sort of open letter to the Spirit of Imaginary Reagan Past (who Mr. Brooks is far too twisted up with denial and self-loathing to admit was the man who pointed the GOP towards the abyss and put a cinder block on the accelerator) and the Spirit of Imaginary Reagan Yet To Come:
Donald Trump’s G.O.P. is a rear-window party pining for a white America that is never coming back. Ronald Reagan’s G.O.P., and maybe some future G.O.P., will fix the immigration system and attract the people who will make the country innovative, dynamic and interesting for decades to come.
Because the rule with David Brooks is, Burke tomorrow and Burke yesterday, but never Burke today.