Friday, July 22, 2016

My Last Pointless Post About David Brooks: UPDATE


Because once Donald Trump ascends to the Peacock Throne there will be no need for carping losers like me to carp any longer about the outsized and toxic influence of well-heeled parasites like Mr. David Brooks of New York Times.

After all, Mr. Trump has promised to immediately wipe every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things will pass away.

So we've got that going for us.

And then, on the Second Glorious Day of his 1000 Episode Reich, he has solemnly promised to loosen enough libel laws and appoint enough mob lawyers to his People's Revolutionary Supreme Court to silence his America-hating critics for good and all.

But, until that great coming home day for Murrican Freedumb, we shall have to endure many media indignities, including and especially the pious whining of cosseted Beltway Conservatives who have spent their entire adult lives leveling ideological forests and blasting through political mountains in order to make straight the way for the very monster from which they now, suddenly, recoil in horror.

So what is Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times up to the day after the newly anointed leader of his Party delivered his rousing "Ein Volk.  Ein Reich.  Ein Con Man" speech to a mob of ecstatic Trumpshirts?

Well lemme tell ya, Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times is not happy.  No, not happy at all.

Welcome to a world without rules. (I want you to read this paragraph in your super-scary movie trailer voice.) Welcome to a world in which families are mowed down by illegal immigrants, in which cops die in the streets, in which Muslims rampage the innocents and threaten our very way of life, in which the fear of violent death lurks in every human heart.
driftglass:  In other words, welcome to the world of Fox News and Hate Radio as it has existed for the last 20 years.  Welcome to the world of the Republican base voter.  Welcome to the world whose existence David Brooks has been paid a lot of money by the New York Time to pretend does not exist.

Sometimes in that blood-drenched world a dark knight arises. You don’t have to admire or like this knight. But you need this knight. He is your muscle and your voice in a dark, corrupt and malevolent world.
driftglass: You mean like this guy?

Such has been the argument of nearly every demagogue since the dawn of time. Aaron Burr claimed Spain threatened the U.S in 1806. A. Mitchell Palmer exaggerated the Red Scare in 1919 and Joe McCarthy did it in 1950.
driftglass: You mean like this guy?  (From CBS News, September 8, 2004)
Cheney: Wrong Vote Invites Attack

Vice President Dick Cheney says the United States will risk another terrorist attack if voters make the wrong choice on Election Day, suggesting Sen. John Kerry would follow a pre-Sept. 11 policy of reacting defensively.

"It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States," Cheney told supporters at a town-hall meeting Tuesday.
And such was Donald Trump’s law-and-order argument in Cleveland on Thursday night. This was a compelling text that turned into more than an hour of humorless shouting. It was a dystopian message that found an audience and then pummeled them to exhaustion.
driftglass: You mean like these guys?

Brooks, still freaking out:
Trump has replaced biblical commitments with a gladiator ethos. Everything is oriented around conquest, success, supremacy and domination. This was the Lock Her Up convention...

On the other hand, there are good reasons to think that this law-and-order focus is a significant mistake, that it over-reads the current moment of Baton Rouge, Dallas and Nice and will not be the right focus for the fall.

In the first place, it’s based on a falsehood...

driftglass:   Because, yeah, when has a Republican campaign based on monstrous falsehoods ever succeeded?

Brooks, winding down:
There’s no actual agenda being put in its place, just nostalgic spasms that, as David Frum has put it, are part George Wallace and part Henry Wallace. Trump’s policy agenda, such as it is, is mostly a series of vague and defensive recoils: build a wall, ban Muslims, withdraw from the world.

This is less a party than a personality cult. Law and order is a strange theme for a candidate who radiates conflict and disorder. Some rich children are careless that way; they break things and other people have to clean up the mess.
But then, what are we to make about Brooks, from less than two years ago?
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.
Perhaps that Mr. Brooks is a Stone.  Cold.  Liar.

You see Mr. Brooks, some of us remember that a rich Republican child named Bush already spent eight, long and ugly years smashing everything he touched.  And we also remember that you were pretty okay with that right up until the screeching of the wheels coming off the Bush Administration combined with the roar of a bunch of loud-mouthed, disreputable Liberals finally made a din so fucking loud that even you could no longer ignore it.

At which point you abruptly abandoned your position as the Beltway's leading Bush New York Times-friendly water-boy and morphed seamlessly into the Beltway's High Priest of Both Siderism.

And I have already pounded my head bloody against that wall 1,000 times, so why go into it again?

Instead let's leave it at this.  When the corporation interests you serve so dutifully -- the corporations who pull your strings and fill your pockets and own your industry -- decided to let the Bush Administration and their cronies like you in the media and the GOP's wretched, racist, pig-ignorant base completely off the hook for the crimes they committed against this country during the worst Administration in modern American history...

,,,and then decided to let them get away with lying about it...

,,,and then decide to let them get away with sabotaging every effort to clean up the wreckage and ruin they left in their wake...

,,,and then decide to let them get away proclaiming as an article of Party Faith that the reason the damn gummint don't work no more and all the jobs are gone is because the Kenyan Usurper and his Red Witch have secretly colluded with foreigners and degenerates to betray us all into the hands of criminals and terrorist...

...that was when the rise of a beast like Trump became inevitable.


By the way, something kind of amazing seems to have happened to Mr. Brooks' column in the last 12 hours. Three different sections which are cited at Daily Kos and The Rectification of Names in which Mr. Brooks explicitly slaps around "mealy mouthed pseudo-Trump accommodationist[s]" and praises Ted Cruz's political acumen appear to have been completely excised sometime during the night.

For the record, here they are, as near as I can figure:
But this is not a normal convention. Donald Trump is dismantling the Republican Party and replacing it with a personality cult. The G.O.P. is not dividing; it’s ceasing to exist as a coherent institution.

The only speaker here who clearly understands this is Ted Cruz. He understands that the Trump phenomenon is probably not going to end the way a normal candidacy ends. It’s going to end catastrophically, in November or beyond, with the party infrastructure in tatters, with every mealy mouthed pseudo-Trump accommodationist permanently stained.

I’m not a Cruz fan, but his naked ambition does fuel amazing courage. As the Republican Party is slouching off on a suicide march, at least Cruz is standing athwart history yelling “Stop!” When the Trump train implodes, the docile followers who are now booing and denouncing Ted Cruz will claim they were on his side all along.
Also for the record, if Mr. Brooks' speculation that, once this shit all goes south on them, the accommodations will all claim they never believed what they now claim to believe sounds at all familiar to you, well it should.

It is the exactly same line Mr. Brooks was running back in 2003 when he was eagerly writing columns about what Hell there would be to pay for the dirty hippies "Now that the Iraq War is over"...
In other words, there will be no magic "Aha!" moment that brings the dream palaces down. Even if Saddam's remains are found, even if weapons of mass destruction are displayed, even if Iraq starts to move along a winding, muddled path toward normalcy, no day will come when the enemies of this endeavor turn around and say, "We were wrong. Bush was right." They will just extend their forebodings into a more distant future. Nevertheless, the frame of the debate will shift. The war's opponents will lose self-confidence and vitality. And they will backtrack. They will claim that they always accepted certain realities, which, in fact, they rejected only months ago.
Turns out it Mr. Brooks was a way.  There was a group of ideological dead-enders who were incapable of admitting that they were wrong.  A group who frantically backtracked, lied, "extend[ed] their forebodings into a more distant future" and threw their energies into shifting the frame of the debate so that "right" and "wrong" no longer mattered.

That group was called Conservatives.

Conservatives like David Brooks.

Turns out it Mr. Brooks was also a way.

At no point did those who were catastrophically wring about the Iraq War ever lose their "self-confidence and vitality".  Bulwarked as they were by an army of crackpot billionaires and corporations with infinitely deep pockets, they just kept lying, denying and refining their argument that history began on January 20, 2009 and that anything anyone may or may not have said before then was lost to memory of man.

And they are all still doing quite well.  I hear that many of these liars and frauds are honored guests on various serious political teevee shows.  Some of them are cited as wise and sage thinkers on NPR. Many are  are invited to give TED talks and sit on panels at the Aspen Institute and occasionally advise presidents.

I hear that some of them even have jobs-for-life at the New York Times.


RUKidding said...

"Some rich children are careless that way; they break things and other people have to clean up the mess."

So Melania and Ivanka Trump plagarized, respectively, Democrats Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Of course: IOKIYAR always applies. Always. Everyone is still tirading about Gaffy Joe Biden's plagarism scandal back in 1987 - for which Biden acknowledged, apologized, took responsibility and it contributed to him losing the chance at the Pres nomination.

Trump? Republicans? Never. IOKIYAR. Do anything and everything you want. No consequences. No personal responsibility ever. The end.

No matter what contrition and remediation Democrats might do for their mis-deeds, etc, they are ALWAYS wrong and always to be attacked and excoriated. Always. Forever.

Anyway, I guess DFB can kinda sorta get away with his kinda sorta plagarism of F. Scott Fitgerald's "Great Gatsby." I guess DFB kinda sorta changed the wording just enough to get away with it.

"THEY were careless people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made."
F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"

Oh but really, DFB: IOKIYAR. And if Trump should win (shudder), you'll bend your knee quick-fast and kiss Trump's heiney YUUUGELY. Count on it. Loser.

Jon Harman said...

Sick of your "I told you so" rantings. Get over it. I have liked many of your insightful comments in the past, but this past month has been awful. Have you run out of new ideas?

banker puppy said...

DFB will probably write several similarly toned columns in the next few months. This post neatly addresses them all in advance.

trgahan said...

Brooks' column suggests he (and his handlers) are either stupid or naïve enough to actually think Trump is just a momentary hissy fit by the base that will be under control by 2018 OR that hubristic enough to believe he (on the behalf of his handlers) can convince us that that is reality and the reasonable center in ascendant until Trump v. 2.0 shows up in 2020.

bowtiejack said...

Some of your best stuff.

I live in NY City and bought my last copy of the Times as a result of l'affaire Judith Miller. Their taking on of Brooks around the same time she left has only confirmed the wisdom of my decision.

mainmata said...

Bravo, I cannot add anything to that awesome rant. And the clip from Newsroom was a perfect cherry on top.

MedicineMan55 said...

I give endless slack to Drifty's "I told you so" rants, particularly now, when we are living through the very end days of the GoP's chickens coming home to roost. I don't know how anyone who has been plugged in to politics for the last decade (or more) could not tear at his hair and rend his garments while shrieking "where did you think this was all going, you assholes?!"

keith gargus said...

Even with the sound off the Yam was a menace. The staging, his orange hue with the Mussolini scowl, that's all theatrics right out of the WWE playbook. The difference is the Vulgar one isn't kidding.
Bobo, and the rest of the enablers, should do more than write these prosaic sighs, they should light their hair on fire and spend the next four months doing street corner preaching against this monster. And beg the nation for forgiveness for their sins.

Neo Tuxedo said...

cosseted Beltway Conservatives who have spent their entire adult lives leveling ideological forests and blasting through political mountains in order to make straight the way for the very monster from which they now, suddenly, recoil in horror.

"And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man's laws, not God's — and if you cut them down — and you're just the man to do it — d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?"

I don't know how anyone who has been plugged in to politics for the last decade (or more) could not tear at his hair and rend his garments while shrieking "where did you think this was all going, you assholes?!"

Because they didn't listen; they're not listening still; maybe they never will.

Jeff Olson said...

Keep it up, Driftglass! For those of us who have been right all along, we need simple corners on the intertubes to say (and read) exactly that: I told you so. And not just I told you so as in pulling some wild ferret out of my ass from the talking points of the day, but I told you so because of facts and laws and trends and background and arguments in a decade long record still available, searchable and unredacted by unpaid interns.

On another note - Seems to me the problem DFB has with DJT is now what he is saying, but how he is saying it. I read the transcript - such as it is - of two Trump speeches - the acceptance speech and another from last week - and the content is largely standard faire for the Republican set. But, he is shouty. He uses declarative prose and absolutes. Amplified and focused like a Phil Spector prelude. If a folksy ivy-leaguer with a blue blood pedigree bumbled through the same ideas - presented in a calmer, less, erm, shouty way - why DFB and David Duke and the whole gang would be nodding sagely about the precarious state of the nation and world. Not unlike 16 years ago. But, crazy uncle liberty and aunt shoutycracker have the mike. And that is how you stir up the pig people.

Our only hope, and their bane, is that those pig people cannot be rousted in November, that they are, in fact, the minority in about 27 important states. Will they collapse in Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia? Is voter ID and the disenfranchisement campaign enough to keep that minority competitive? Is Hillary's GOTV game strong enough to counter the constant barrage of hostile messaging from corporate headquarters? Have 30 years of baseless attacks so disheartened Hillary's natural constituency that they won't turn out?

If I was still working in this game, these are the questions I would be looking to answer - knowing that DFB will never, ever use his 800 words twice a week to say - Yes, Hillary - all that stuff we said about her since 1992, yeah, that was bullshit we didn't think really mattered, but sold papers so we kept writing it. Yeah, it was all b.s. from the beginning, No, Trump is a psychopath and completely useless human being - no one can, in good conscience vote for this mook.

Until that day comes, keep this beacon, and your 'I fucking told you so' lit. We will keep reading.

Green Eagle said...

A lot to discuss here, but I just want to make one point. Ted Cruz did not "stand... athwart history yelling “Stop!” At most, he stood athwart history not yelling start loud enough to suit the crazies. He did not say that it is wrong to vote for Trump; he said "vote your conscience," which is a ludicrous thing to do in front of an audience of 3,000 without a conscience among them.

RUKidding said...

Yes, but: the "vote your conscience" is big fat old dog whistle/code words that the GOP political junkies picked up on loud and clear. Make no mistake: the pig people at the convention were most likely political junkies, and they got Cruzer's message, which was: I'm not endorsing Trump & don't recommend voting for him. That's why the NY delegation went nuts booing and hissing.

Hey, I dislike Cruz hugely, but count me among the somewhat (only somewhat) impressed with what he did. I have to give the sleazebag some props for not caving in and utterly debasing and embarressing himself like many others - Christie (especially), Huckabee, Santorum, lil Marco, Paul Ryan, Mitch the Bitch McConnell, etc - who kowtow to the Orange Fuckstick.

Sure, Cruz is running for 2020, so it's all about him, but at least he didn't sell his entire soul to the devil - or at least not in terms of the RNC convention.

I, too, enjoy the "I told you so" columns. So frustrating to read these jerks, and they DO have a certain amount of influence, whether we like it or not. We all need the stress valve to bitch about this sh*t, especially now. If people don't enjoy reading such posts, well, there's loads of other places to land on the Internet.

banker puppy said...

Count me as one who's not enamored with the I-Told-You-So diet. I just listened to Clinton give a speech about the future. Yes, there are times when calling out the lies and the sham rhetoric is important, and that's what driftglass seems to be passionate about. And he should stick with his passions. For me, there's not enough juice in it.

Belvoir said...

This was outstanding, Driftglass. Brooks's weird gloating in 2004, kicking dirty hippies and anti- war liberals over the hideous invasion of Iraq is unforgivable, as the Mideast burns. Yet David Fucking Brooks is still employed, rather than shunned and disgraced, as he should be.

Bernard Eckholdt said...

Boy, when you get started/on a roll!. incredibly great pieces. of what we had to live through. the destruction of the American way for money, by the Republican steamroller. To see all these pieces of history/hate in their own way consolidating the country in a cauldron of hate and division.

you really do it well. these injections of hate into the body politic has killed off what once was America. to see how long and easily the American public has been fed this "shit." it's no wonder we are in the state we are. Blowback from the seeds of hate planted. you are so talented. you will never be a member of "that Club," i bet.

XtopherSD said...

If you google search for the phrase "Donald Trump is dismantling the Republican Party and replacing it with a personality cult" there are over 400 hits - tons of other sites picked up that juicy line. If you search for the word 'dismantling' on the NYT page with Brooks' article, you won't find it.