Tuesday, January 31, 2017

David Brooks, Two Inches To The Right

In case you hadn't caught on by now, Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times is not really a person.

Mr. David Brooks is a brand.  Mr. David Brooks is a profitable multimedia Conservative corporation that specializes in one and only one service.   Like a bank or insurance company or funeral home, Mr. David Brooks sells reassurance.  He specializes in very high-dollar, high-influence clients. Addlepated university presidents, for example.  CEOs.  Political professionals.  Beltway media assholes.  Sclerotic, plutocrat shut-ins. And so on.

His job for the last 20 years has been to reassure his clients that no matter how fucking insane, obstructionist, incompetent, vicious, dishonest, seditious and pig-ignorant the Republican Party may appear to be on any given day, it's not really as bad as you think.  In fact, the real Republican Party -- the secret Republican Party which operates behind a curtain that only Mr. David Brooks can peek and sets policy using a code only Mr. David Brooks can decipher -- is doing just fine.

Everything is under control.

And if there are evident cracks below the water-line?  Well you can trust Mr. David Brooks when he tells you that they're very tiny cracks -- inconsequential really -- and certainly weren't caused by the captain and crew of the USS Saint Ronald Reagan ramming the ship repeatedly into every fucking iceberg in the North Atlantic on purpose.

And if steerage is already filling up with ice water and people down there are drowning and pleading for help?  Well if that is happening -- and Mr. Brooks is not saying that it is, just if it is -- it's probably a result of the 1960s and/or Woodstock and/or the disordered communities that the peasants come from and all the unauthorized and irresponsible sexytime they keep having.   And anyway, once the captain and crew of the USS Saint Ronald Reagan guides the ship safely to port, a Grand Bargain will be waiting at the docks to solve everything.  So really, it's best to just ignore whatever you think you're hearing from below-decks have the band play a little louder until we arrive,


Mr. Brooks' main delivery system for his product is a prominent, twice-weekly column on The New York Times op-ed page which is breathlessly retweeted as the Wisest Thing Evar by respected university presidents, CEOs, political professionals, Beltway media assholes, sclerotic, plutocrat shut-ins and so on.  Also by the large Asian server farms which the NYT employs to drive up buzz about its columnists.  His New York Times op-ed column has also provided Mr. Brooks unlimited access to the public via weekly gigs at NPR and PBS, frequent guests appearance on Meet the Press, Aspen Institute talks, college lectures and so forth.   For those who say they do not understand who the Hell still heeds an obvious fraud like David Brooks, clearly he is selling a product that major media outlets are happy to buy.


Reassurance that the Republican Party is doing great and that anyone who says otherwise is just a stupid Liberal doody-head who doesn't know what's what.
The New Stupid Party

LONG AGO, the Republican party was nicknamed the Stupid Party, and at times Republicans have done their best to live up to the label. But after the past week, it is perhaps time to acknowledge that when it comes to brainless, self-destructive behavior, the Democratic party has achieved a level of excellence that will be unsurpassed in our lifetime...
That was from a column from 16 years ago in which Mr. Brooks reassured his Weekly Standard readers that anyone who thought George W. Bush' economic policies would burn through the Clinton budget surplus and plunge the federal government back into massive deficits was a Liberal idiot who should just shut the fuck up.

This is from a column from 15 years ago in which Mr. Brooks spent several hundred words saying pretty much the same thing.
The Pelosi Democrats   
Are they going to become the stupid party?  
ARE THE DEMOCRATS about to go insane? Are they about to decide that the reason they lost the 2002 election is that they didn't say what they really believe? Are they about to go into Paul Krugman-land, lambasting tax cuts, savaging Bush as a tool of the corporate bosses?...
Back then Mr. Brooks also wrote extensively about what an awesome military and foreign policy genius George W. Bush was and how there was going to be all kinds of Hell to pay for those stupid, hateful, lying, antisemitic Liberals now that the Iraq War was an unmitigated success.

Yes he wrote those things.  All of those things.  But among Beltway media assholes there is an important but conspicuously unwritten rule that translates as, "You suck my dick, I'll suck yours, and we'll both pretend the last 10 years never happened!"

This is also known among the cognoscenti as the Beltway Iron Rule of David Brooks:

And the Beltway Iron Rule of David Brooks is absolutely necessary because the product that Mr. David Brooks has sold every day of his professional life depends on Mr. David Brooks lying to his readers ever day of his professional life.  Because the only way for Mr. Brooks to continue to reassure the deluded shut-ins who buy his bullshit is by telling them one of his three standard lies.

The first and happiest lie is that Republican Party is doing just great!  This is Mr. Brooks' favorite lie, but one which the actual day-to-day atrocities of the Republican Party have kept him from rolling out lately.

Mr. Brooks second and most reliable lie -- the lie that tries to explain away the daily Republican atrocities any idiot can see right in front of them -- is that any acts of obstruction or vandalism or treason you think you're seeing being committed the Republican Party can be easily explained away as "the extremes on Both Sides" ruining everything for everyone: a condition that will be rectified right quick once the Sensible Center (translation:  Joe Lieberman) rises up and reasserts itself.  Upon this lie Mr. Brooks and a number of his fellow Beltway frauds have built an entire, very profitable cult (The High and Holy Church of Both Siderism.)  It is a lie that Mr. Brooks deployed relentlessly during the 2016 presidential campaign and it is a lie about which I have already written several hundred more times than is good for my mental health.

Mr. Brooks third and most reassuring lie of all is that, whatever you may have thought about the Republican Party in the past (a "past" during which Mr. Brooks was busy reassuring you that everything was just fucking fine so please stop talking about it), as of today the Republican Party has turned the corner, purged itself of any weirdness and is about to do great things!

Here are two textbook examples of that lie from just two short 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....

 -- David Brooks, "The Republican Party In Triumph", November 5, 2014
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
Mr. Brooks then spent much of his time between June of 2015 and July of 2016 reassuring his readers that it was absolutely impossible that his brand-new, freshly detoxed, eager-to-please, Reasonable Republican Party would select Donald J. Trump as their nominee,

Then he spent much of his time between July of 2016 and November of 2016 reassuring his readers that it was absolutely impossible for Donald J. Trump to be elected president.

And thus we came to the last leg of a long and ugly journey.

You see, for the last 30 years or so, dirty hippies like me have been using whatever tiny platform we could scrape together to warn our dozens of readers that the Republican Party was being destroyed from its base all the way up to its leadership cadre by Hate Radio and Newt Gingrich and Fox News and Breitbart and on and on and on.  And for the last 30 years, liars like Mr, David Brooks of The New York Times have been handed huge megaphones by major American media corporations to reassure their hundreds of thousands of listeners and readers and that the Republican Party was as sound as the pound and that the dirty hippies were all nuts.

The scam which men like Mr, Brooks have been  running might be best understood by comparing it to the housing market debacle of 2008 and the subsequent global economic collapse.  Mr, Brooks packaged and sold his public a load of reassuring bullshit which The New York Times and NPR and PBS and NBC were willing to rate as AAA because everyone had a financial and political stake in pretending it was true. And to date no one but a few contrarian Liberal bloggers have evidenced any interest in looking at the actual base of the actual Republican Party for fear of discovering that it really has been a shitpile of paranoia, racism, conspiracy-mongering and malignant ignorance all along.

And just as with the looters and liars at the heart of the housing market disaster. the people like Mr. Brooks who built and sold these lies to the public for the last 20 years assumes no risk for catastrophes their lies have wrought.  In fact, they've all prospered rather handsomely.

But what happens when the lies run out?

Ah, there's the rub.

What happens when Mr. Brooks can no longer pretend that the current crisis simply doesn't exist or is the byproduct of Extremes on Both Sides? When the rough beast finally slouches all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to be born?

Well then comes the Biggest Lie of All!  The whopper that unrepentant con men like Mr. David Brooks only uncork for the rarest occasions.  

From Mr. Brooks in The New York Times today:
In the first place, the Trump administration is not a Republican administration; it is an ethnic nationalist administration...
Yes, the administration of the fascist man-baby who ran as a Republican, was cheered by giant crowds of Republican base voters, who won virtually every Republican primary by wide margins, who was nominated at the Republican National Convention, who was elected as a Republican and who has had his ass kissed by an endless procession of Republican elected officials...

...is not Republican.

Says David Brooks.

The man who reassured his readers just two years ago that the GOP was back and better than ever baby!

And this is why the Beltway Iron Rule of David Brooks is so rigidly enforced.  Because Mr. David Brooks' whole career -- and those of his dozens of Beltway cronies and fellow travelers -- now depends entirely on selling his core readership of dotty university presidents, CEOs, political professionals, Beltway media assholes and sclerotic, plutocrat shut-ins on this last and greatest lie.  A lie that would have his readers believe that in the handful of months between the 2014 midterms and Donald J. Trump announcing his candidacy in 2015, the entire base of the Republican Party not only lurched suddenly and cataclysmic so far to the Right that it elected The Bastard President, but that this massive, tectonic lurch of the entire Republican base happened so stealthily that America's Most Respected Conservative Public Intellectual never even suspected it.

That literally overnight and without any warning whatsoever, Mr. Brooks Republican Party suddenly became a party of Fausts, and 
The deal they’ve struck with the devil comes at too high a price. It really will cost them their soul.
A Party which is
[ideologically] noxious.
Led by a man whose
...incompetence is a threat to all around him.
...the aroma of bigotry infuses the whole operation, and anybody who aligns too closely will end up sharing in the stench.
...it is hard to think of any administration in recent memory, on any level, whose identity is so tainted by cruelty. 
With most administrations you can agree sometimes and disagree other times. But this one is a danger to the party and the nation in its existential nature. And so sooner or later all will have to choose what side they are on, and live forever after with the choice.
Golly.  You know, Mr. Brooks has constructed such tirade of indignation that it's easy to miss the secondary lies he has wired into his column.  For example:
Trump exceeded expectations with his cabinet picks...
The other honorable senators will have to choose: Collins, Alexander, Portman, Corker, Cotton, Sasse and so on and so on.
No, these are not honorable senators.  Especially Cotton, who is as cruel and ignorant a wingnut thug as has ever warmed a seat in the World's Greatest Deliberative Body.  And no, Trump's cabinet picks did not exceed expectations, except in the sense that everyone knew that most of them would be awful, but they they exceeded that prediction by being so much worse than anyone feared.

But all of it -- all the smaller lies and all the feigned indignation -- were assembled in the service of protecting the single, huge and indispensable lie on which Mr. Brooks' career hangs.   

Mr. Brooks' whole future -- his whole brand -- depends on reassuring doddering university  presidents and CEOs and political professionals and Beltway media assholes and sclerotic, plutocrat shut-ins that what they are seeing now with their own eyes is somehow not the Republican Party.  That somehow, just two months ago, in the dead of night, 63 million vandals broke into the Party of Lincoln while all the real Republicans were busy reading Burke or masturbating to Knute Rockne, All American and trashed the place.  

And of course this claptrap will almost certainly fool America's out-of-touch university presidents and CEOs and political professionals and Beltway media assholes and sclerotic, plutocrat shut-ins because deep down they still desperately need to be fooled

They need to be reassured.  

Because after buying Mr. Brooks' bullshit for so many years, they are not psychologically equipped to face the terrible truth that Brooks has been telling them fairy tales all along.  

That the dirty hippies have been right all along.

And that Donald Trump is really nothing more than a manifestation of the actual Fox News/Hate Radio/Breitbart Republican Party as it has been for decades...

...nudged a couple of inches to the right. 


  1. The Free Trade Beneficiaries have decreed: Distract and put distance between us and Trump.

    You can see it with Buffet. You can see it with Zuckerberg. You can see it with the Kochs.

    And David Brooks, like the good PR hack that he is, is working as hard as possible to make sure the Brand survives this outburst of ethno-nationalist populism.

    Because EVEN IF all Muslims are banned, and TEH WALL is built, and all illegals deported, and all Jewish Community Centers burned, and all African-Americans denied voting rights...

    ...those uppity white trashbags would still be in their Hoverounds, still checking their blood glucose, and still demanding workers' comp, cheap pain pills, and still collecting Social Security. They would still demand cheap college and cheap schools, but no taxes.

    So now we see the true depths David Brooks is willing to go: even as the Jew-hating ethno-state is being formed around him, he must defy populism and redistribution to his dying breath. After years of reassuring Republicans nothing they did mattered, he suddenly has to count on them having consciences and insight and honor.

    But no matter how many times he invokes hymns to St. Reagan, no matter how many paeans he sings about Burkean Principles, David Brooks will never realize that he is appealing to an Imaginary Conservativism That Exists Only In His Head. He is Edmund in the Chronicles of Narnia, wondering why the White Witch isn't being nice to him anymore and feeding him Turkish Delight Tax Cuts, and is instead herding him into the gas chamber.

    "But...Hillary Clinton's poor judgement about her e-mails..." whispered David Brooks, as the Zyklon-B invaded his sinuses.

  2. Funny...

    when Trump declared is candidacy, he wasn't a Republican.

    when he steam-rolled to a primary win, Trump was a Republican.

    when he was grabbing pussy and 8 points down during the general, Trump wasn't a Republican.

    when he won in November and the DOW topped 20,000, Trump was a Republican.

    Now that he signed an EO that struck to a market fundamental of the 1% (ie. free flow of people into and out of the developing world), which tanked the DOW and has huge implications for the Fortune 500...Trump isn't a Republican.

    I am sure when, if, he delivers on all the tax cuts and deregulation, and his Supreme Court pick, Trump will be a Republican again.

    Whether or not Republicans win or lose seats in 2018 will definitely determine if he is one or not.

  3. No one -- not yastreblyansky, Pierce, or anyone else -- exposes Brooks for the fucking fraud he is better than you do. I'm not just talking about "take-downs" and "burns"; I'm talking about insightful, incisive calling out of modern Republicanism and Both Siderism that really fucking matters (even though it puts you in a corner). I don't know how you keep doing it, but I really hope you do. You give (a smart, funny) voice to the rage inside my head. I wish more people could hear you, but, you know, there is a club...
    Thanks, Driftglass

  4. From your pen to the non-fascists in my circle who have taken to sharing bobo's every utterance lately as some great proof that reasonable republicans exist and should be taken seriously. That doughface donny is some aberration. That deflection and reality control are not the core of the republican message. And that we could reach these ignorant fascists if only we could tell them the truth about the grand project. I salute you DG and all of the insightful members of this community.

  5. Troublesome on so many levels.............
    Like this small piece;
    "With most administrations you can agree sometimes and disagree other times. But this one is a danger to the party and the nation in its existential nature. And so sooner or later all will have to choose what side they are on, and live forever after with the

    * Notice that the danger spoke of is first to the "political Party". Then the nation.
    Of course understanding the use of the term, "nation", we are addressing the American people.

    * The eventual choice of taking sides has already been established buy the GOP. It is the going thru the motions to accomplish the atrocities.

    * This part about living with their choices and the results. They merely require their zombie marching order networks to broadcast assimilated marching orders to defy any accountability. We can see how newt suffers from his actions. Cheney, et al.
    Death, torture vast deficits (that doesn't matter). Until a Dem takes over and is blamed for 8 years of built up debt in the 3 month of his presidency.

    It is like the KellyGirl, political mercenary with no allegiance to America but only her survival to remain in the upper economic class of society.
    This is why she will spend her life telling America on the TV that she has children she cares about and that is why she would never do anything wrong or deceitful.
    --To the contrary,
    As we find out Trump's SCOTUS picks mother who worked in the Reagan EPA and got booted from it. Could not get confirmed to any other position thereafter. her son found his way through the elite passages to his SCOTUS nomination by selling justices to the highest bidder.
    Where in the god old days you actually had to work to sell justice to the highest bidder as Justice Roberts performed in Bush V Gore.

  6. Thank you. I knew I had to see what your response was to that bit of writing.
    You never disappoint.

  7. ".it is hard to think of any administration in recent memory, on any level, whose identity is so tainted by cruelty."

    yes, its VERY hard to remember an administration that identified TORTURE as their go-to interrogation technique and developed an entire global program around it. It's VERY hard, especially when you've spent the last 15 years sweeping that under the rug and "forgetting" about it.