Friday, January 27, 2017

David Brooks: The Great Project Continues, Ctd.

Chapter XXXVII:  In The Beginning There Was Reagan...

Longtime readers know of my crazy long-since-proven-beyond-any-doubt theory that Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times does not write editorial columns twice a week per se, but is instead engaged in a massive, long-range project to assemble a sweeping, fictional alternate history of Modern Conservatism*, which is being created right before our eyes by the slow, steady accretion of one godawful Whig Fan Fiction column at at time.

Put another way, every month Mr. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. pays Mr. David Brooks a princely sum to mutilated American history and arrange its body parts on the editorial pages of The New York Times to suit the infantile fantasies of a tiny clutch of his wealthy cronies. And for reasons no one in-the-know dares to speak of, Mr, Brooks has been allowed to dine out on the feeble-mindedness of the Sulzberger family for longer than anyone thought possible time. 

This was written by me, ten long years ago, and to The New York Times' eternal shame, with a few, minor tweaks and name changes, I could have been written this morning ("A Rose for Bobo -- Part 3-of-4"):
Bobo’s runty, privileged, gated-community self-image could not bear up for one second if he were ever obliged to lock eyes in the clear, noon light with the vast, greasy army of bigots and madmen to whom he offers pastel-toned cover-fire from the good, gray pages of the New York Times.

And yet all around him he sees the Conservative Revolution evaporating not from external threats or Dirty Hippy sappers inside his perimeter, but in a toxic cloud of wholly internal corruption, incompetence, delusion, fascism, demagoguery, racism, homophobia and a slimy and hateful perversion of genuine Christianity.

There is, in the end, no one to blame for the ruin and failure that Conservatives have left in their wake but that army of bigots and lunatics who have always been at the core of the Modern Conservative movement.

And they won’t even go decently into hiding so that men like Bobo can plausibly pretend they don’t exist!

In fact, quite the opposite has always been the case: Falwell and Roberston, Limbaugh and Coulter, DeLay and Gingrich, Atwater and Rove and all the rest of that sick, sadistic litany of degenerates and frauds have always been the leering, drooling, outspoken, very public and unapologetic soul of the GOP.

And Bobo has finally reached that place where reality and delusion can no longer be coaxed into coexisting.

So like Ishmael and Queequeg in “Moby Dick”, to save himself from going under forever, Bobo clings to Reagan’s coffin; to that last soggy relic of those Glorious Wingnut Days of Yore That Never Were which has not yet been entirely smashed to matchsticks and sent to the bottom of the sea by the deranged leaders of his doomed tribe...
Well today was a fucking banner day for Mr. Brooks' Great Project.  Because today, rather than dicking around with painstaking revisions and redactions and emendations and rectifications and rescripts and updates to the horrifying history of his Republican party (all bolted awkwardly together with Both Siderism), Mr, Brooks finally decided to go 100% Ministry of Truth.

In one stroke, everything you remember about, well, everything, has been wiped away and replaced with One, Simple Truth:  
In The Beginning There Was Reagan...
Think I'm kidding? From today's New York Times ("The Politics of Cowardice"):
This is a column directed at high school and college students. I’m going to try to convey to you how astoundingly different the Republican Party felt when I was your age.

The big guy then was Ronald Reagan. Temperamentally, though not politically, Reagan was heir to the two Roosevelts. He inherited a love of audacity from T.R. and optimism and charm from F.D.R.

He had a sunny faith in America’s destiny and...
Then, of course, comes the usual saccharine yadda yadda yadda homily to St. Ronnie, but what you need to keep your eye on is how Mr. Brooks handles the next implicit question from his imaginary high school students (poor bastards).  Specifically,  "What happens after Ronald Reagan single-handedly beats Ivan Drago and saves Murrica from the horrors of a balanced budget?"

Well, according to University of Chicago history baccalaureate David "Even David Brooks" Brooks, absolutely nothing happens.  Reagan just goes on being awesome until -- suddenly -- Trump!
When [Reagan] erred it was often on the utopian side of things, believing that tax cuts could pay for themselves, believing that he and Mikhail Gorbachev could shed history and eliminate all nuclear weapons.

The mood of the party is so different today. Donald Trump expressed the party’s new mood to David Muir of ABC, when asked about his decision to suspend immigration from some Muslim countries: “The world is a mess. The world is as angry as it gets. What, you think this is going to cause a little more anger? The world is an angry place.”
What you just read was Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times eradicating the last 40 years of American political history in one stroke.

See, the good old, high cotton days of simply lying about derangement of his Republican party are gone now: Mr. Brooks can no longer earn his keep by simply lying over and over and over again to his core readership of doddering plutocrats by pretending that his Republican party had just gone a little "funny in the head" for awhile, but by Jiminy Cricket, the Grand Old Party had finally have turned the corner:
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....

 -- David Brooks, "The Republican Party In Triumph"November 5, 2014

And now the GOP is as fit a fucking fiddle, thank you very much!
Every party in opposition goes a little crazy. For Republicans in the early Obama era, insanity took the form of the Sarah Palin spasm. Veteran politicos took the former Alaska governor seriously as a national figure. Republican primary voters nominated the likes of Todd Akin, Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle. Glenn Beck seemed important enough to hold a big rally at the Lincoln Memorial.

Fortunately, serious parties eventually pull back from the fever swamps. That’s what’s happening to the Republican Party...

-- David Brooks, "The Governing Party", November 6, 2014

Because the actual, depraved history of Mr. Brooks' Republican party has now become a needy, greedy mistress who has gotten way too volatile and career-threatening to be bribed or flattered into shutting up any more.

And so more drastic and permanent measures are called for.  Which is why today Mr. Brooks took Clio the Hot Recent-Divorcee of History out behind The New York Times, shot her in the head, and shoved her corpse down the same Memory Hold into which he previously dumped Ronald Reagan's Philadelphia, Mississippi speech, the Limbaugh/Gingrich takeover of the Republican Party 23 years ago, and the entire George W. Bush administration.

In Mr. Brooks' new reality, everything wrong with the Republican Party came on overnight, with no warning whatsoever, and all of it is entirely Donald Trump's fault.
Trump has changed the way the Republican Party sees the world. Republicans used to have a basic faith in the dynamism and openness of the free market. Now the party fears openness and competition... 

It’s not that the deals had changed, or reality. It was that Donald Trump became the Republican nominee and his dark fearfulness became the party’s dark fearfulness.
Words fail.  

However, as luck would have it, in Mr. Brooks' pearl-clutching denunciation of Donald Trump as the sole cause of the destruction of his Republican party rather than the logical and predictable end product of the 40 years of Republican treachery, racism and madness that Mr. Brooks is too chickenshit to acknowledge, Brooks provides the perfect coda to his own, contemptible career:
We have a word for people who are dominated by fear. We call them cowards.

Yes we do.

*Thanks for the catch


jim said...

Sigh ... if only Reagan could get necromanced back from compost in all the smug glory of his vapid AIDS-epidemic-enabling, death-squad-cuddling prime & do history some actual fucking good just for once - by making Zombies stop being trendy.

Meanwhile: UH OH - SHIT JUST GOT REAL-ly really really gobsmackingly awkward. A sadly not-rare case, the Franks were rejected in their efforts to become American refugees; Anne Frank could be an awesome sassy elderly author chilling in Brooklyn right now - if she'd just been given a visa.

Geo fromNJ said...

"...but is instead engaged in a massive, long-range project to assemble a sweeping, fictional alternate history of Modern Conservationism...".

In this context, the word is "alternative". "Alternate" means to move back and forth or to move from one state to another.

Jimbo said...

As a lifelong conservationist (and now also a climate change researcher), I hope you actually meant to write "conservatismist" or something similar. In any event, the modern GOP are most definitely not in favor of conservation (well, ok, Lindsay Graham and Jeff Flake are pretty solid on this subject but that's about it). The GOP are radical reactionaries, not conservatives. We need to call them by their real names. The actual conservative part of the party, in the truest sense, died many years ago in the 1960s and 1970s. And the Lincoln part of the party has been dead for well over a century.

Bobo has nowhere to go at this point; he should stick to his quaint moralistic homilies. My very old mom, who's a rabid Democrat from a union family nevertheless likes reading his comforting homilies. A surprising lot of people who otherwise are solid Democrats do too. Virtually none of them know or understand his Nat Review past or his bothsiderism trolling. That's reality.

Kevin Holsinger said...

Good morning, Mr. Glass.

"This is a column directed at high school and college students."

Are there a lot of high school students reading David Brooks in between the latest Young Adult fiction? I think you need to ask one of your kids about this.

Be seeing you.

Petite Maman said...

Last week I wrote the NYT saying I would subscribe to the paper if they canned David Brooks. I don't expect to have to ante up.