"The Other View From Trump Tower" Edition
When you are hiding out from the Home Guard in an abandoned community health clinic, wondering what sacred democratic institution President Trump is going to set fire to next and nothing to read but old copies of the New York Times, you may begin to ask yourself just who in the Almighty fuck was David Brooks writing for back when he had that license-to-print-money-job-for-life at the New York Times?
That is an excellent question and often the reasons are often misunderstood.
In his professional life, Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times has almost never written a column of "news". David Brooks has never in his professional life written a column for people like you or me or most of the other 300 million other resident of the Disunited States of America.
David Brooks writes fairy tales for the comfort and amusement of very small and targeted audience: a tiny clutch of deluded multi-millionaires/billionaires, plutocrat influencers, college presidents, Aspen Institute though leaders and the like. Creatures who wield enormous power in the world.
These people know nothing whatsoever about the actual country in which they live, and they have no wish to know about it. Instead, like Prince Prospero, they pay good money to seal themselves off from the weary world, and then hire sycophants like Brooks to spin them reassuring fairy tales about life beyond the walls:
When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys. This was an extensive and magnificent structure, the creation of the prince's own eccentric yet august taste. A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron. The courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts. They resolved to leave means neither of ingress or egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of frenzy from within. The abbey was amply provisioned. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the "Red Death."
And for a very long time, being the royal fool and fabulist at the court of the American plutocracy was a very fine job to have and, ironically, fundamentally the same con that made goons and racists like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh wealth men: telling the desperate and the gullible the lies they want to hear.
And what do Mr. Brooks' clientele want to hear him whisper into their tiny, hairy ears?
First, that they need to humbly heed the native wisdom on the common folk --
...it seems important to be humbled and taught by this horrific election result. Trump’s main problem in governing is not going to be some fascistic ideology; his main problem is going to be his own attention span, ignorance and incompetence. If he’s left to bloviate while others are left to run the country and push through infrastructure plans, maybe things won’t be disastrous.
-- because the Trumpshirts are surely not as awful as all that:
In the first place, emotions like disgust don’t do justice to the complexity of Donald Trump’s supporters. The disgusted posture risks turning politics into a Manichaean civil war between the alleged children of light and the alleged children of darkness — between us enlightened, college-educated tolerant people and the supposed primitive horde driven by dark fears and prejudices...
...we simply don’t yet know how much racism or misogyny motivated Trump voters. It is true that those voters are willing to tolerate a lot more bigotry in their candidate than I’d be willing to tolerate. But if you were stuck in a jobless town, watching your friends OD on opiates, scrambling every month to pay the electric bill, and then along came a guy who seemed able to fix your problems and hear your voice, maybe you would stomach some ugliness, too.
Second, it is obligatory to state that Both Sides are really off the rails here:
Donald Trump is probably going to make the G.O.P. the party of individual/closed. He’s going to start with the traditional Republican agenda of getting government out of the way, and he’s going to add walls, protectionism and xenophobia...
The Democrats are probably going to be the party of social/closed. The coming Sanders-Warren party will advocate proposals that help communities with early education programs and the like, but that party will close off trade, withdraw from the world, close off integration with hyper-race-conscious categories and close off debate with political correctness.
And third, having listened to the native wisdom of the common volk, Mr. Brooks' plutocrat cronies need to get to work immediately reinforcing the shit out of Prince Prospero's wall by financing the creation of a Third Party full of David Brookses and situated as far the Hell away from the Trumpsturm (and the dirty Liberal hippies) as humanly possible:
Which is why I’ve been thinking we need a third party that is social/open. This compassionate globalist party would support the free trade and skilled immigration that fuel growth. But it would also flood the zone for those challenged in the high-skill global economy — offering programs to rebuild community, foster economic security and boost mobility. It would integrate the white working class and minority groups by emphasizing that we are all part of a single American idea.
Yeah, baby! Flood the fucking zone!
So what does David Brooks' Friday column ("The View From Trump Tower") have to do with the Sunday Gasbag Cavalcade?
See, unlike the Brits who sacked the guy who got the rise of Hitler 100% wrong and replaced him with the guy who had been cast-out as a crackpot for warning that the threat from Hitler was real and immediate, the Beltway Media never, ever discards its hacks, no matter how ludicrously wrong they are, week after week, year after year.
Every week, the same stale human husks are trotted out to mouth the same platitudes to reassure the same shut-ins who desperately want to believe they want to go on believing in a fantasy of America that no longer exists,
Which is how I know, sight unseen, that when Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times becomes Mr. David Brooks of PBS he will dine out on the same, moldy, Beltway-reassuring bromides about the need to humbly heed the native wisdom of the common folks like this who are obviously deeply concerned with economic fairness and health care policy:
DAVID BROOKS (PBS): ... On the one hand, Trump appalls me. I won’t be shy about that. But having -- with the elective democratic process having taken its turn, I sort of feel we have to owe some respect to the process and owe some respect to the electorate and the people who voted him, on the assumption that they have something to teach us.
And so all these people are marching in the street. There is all this hostility. I find myself — and I think this was the president’s attitude and frankly Hillary Clinton’s attitude — of respectful pause. Maybe I will be as upset at Trump as I was in another week, but what do they try to teach us? Just try to understand what the situation we’re in is.
-- because the Trumpshirts are surely not as awful as all that:
...But, you know, you’re living in a town, there are no jobs in the town, you know your friends are dying of O.D.-ing on opiates or something, you’re having trouble paying your bills, you’re playing by the rules, and other people are getting benefits without playing by the rules.Maybe you’re willing to tolerate a lot of bigotry from Donald Trump if you say, just change things, just change things.
And when Mr. David Brooks of PBS morphs into Mr. David Brooks of "Meet the Press", he will yet again sup richly on the same horse-shit once again...
Humble yourselves, ye pundits:
DAVID BROOKS: Well, it is a good week for humility for pundits. I think the twenty-first century happened, basically. That this century started on 9/11. And basically, it's been a century of counter reaction to globalization and the meritocracy.
Because the Trumpshirt have valid reasons for voting for a lying racist maniac:
DAVID BROOKS: I'm guilty of that because I use that shorthand too. And, and you saw so much sense of moral injury when you went around the Trump world, which I've been doing the last seven months. It's, "I used to have a code of respectability, and those people are trying to take it away." And the number of times this year I heard, "Flyover country. You guys think we're flyover country." Well, of course, you've always heard that, but I heard it, like, every hour.
And really, wasn't this just as much the fault of the Democrats as the GOP? Because Hillary Clinton -- I kid you not -- changed her mind on TPP:
DAVID BROOKS: ...And to me, the crucial moment of the Clinton campaign was when she gave up on the trade deal that she had helped negotiate.CHUCK TODD: Huh.DAVID BROOKS: Because she, that said, "I don't really believe in what I think I believe in my whole life. I'm about to renounce it in order to win your vote." So it was a character issue. And then it, she couldn't have an affirmative case of, "What I believe in, the world I believe in," which is a global world, but also a very supportive world.
And then comes the pitch for the Third Way that will save Mr. Brooks paymasters from the scary brown-shirts they helped create:
DAVID BROOKS: ...And so for those of us who believe in it, there has to be a movement that says, "We still believe in trade. We still believe in international engagement for America. But for those losers or those who are suffering, we've got your back."
Want to know why I track Mr. Brooks' progress?
Because he is the bought-and-paid-for voice of the American plutocracy -- the authorized Metratron of the ruling class. What comes out of his mouth, is what is on their minds. Which is why his blindness is so illuminating -- because what he will not say, they will not see.
And all Mr. Brooks is capable of seeing is the Official, Beltway-approved "View From Trump Tower".
What he cannot see -- what none of his Beltway cronies or collaborators will see because it would freak out their patrons -- is this other, more intimate, ground-level view from the same tower:
What he dare not see are the real Conservatives we on the Left have been nose-to-nose with for far longer that Mr. Brooks has been America's Most Respected Conservative Public Intellectual.