Tuesday, December 19, 2017

David Brooks: Oops He Did It Again

Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times has one job.  And I mean that literally.  One job.  The job of defending the Beltway's most important institution -- the High and Holy Church of Both Sides Do It.

Just one job.   And that one job keeps the Sulzberger dynasty passing him down, generation after generation, like a family heirloom or some genetic defect brought on by ideological inbreeding.  It keeps him in print, on teevee, on the radio and on the Respected Public Intellectual lecture circuit.

And since Mr. Brooks' one job is defending a flagrant and easily debunked lie, it is equally important that Mr. Brooks Both Siderist collaborators and fellow travelers in the media never, ever let Mr. Brooks or any other Defender of the Faith appear in any venue where anyone who is not of the body --

-- might drop by and start throwing inconvenient facts around. 

Both Siderism is a team effort, because the lords and ladies of the Beltway are all keenly aware of the disastrous professional and financial consequences that would come crashing down on their collective heads should their mighty and powerful and ridiculous and incredibly fragile enterprise ever collapse.

Which is why I though Mr. Mark Sheilds' little insurgency on The News Hour last Friday was worthy of special note.  You can read the whole thing here (part of my award-ready, Crisis on Infinite Conservatisms series), but put as succinctly as a wordy son-of-a-bitch like me can manage, Mr. David Brooks performed his one job by floating the lie that income inequality in America has gone unaddressed lo these many years because...

...Both Sides!

Because "the two last administration’ and political establishment going on 12 years now".  Because Republicans something something and because Barack Obama wasted all of his time on a relatively trivial problem like health care.  
David Brooks: ... And so, the Obama administration, given this big problem, decided to spend their entire administration talking about the health insurance markets, which is really related to but tangential...
It was not at all remarkable that Mr. Brooks would lie this baldly on national teevee, because constantly lying in defense of the High and Holy Church of Both Sides Do It is his one job.  No, what was remarkable was that his normally harmless, jowly sidekick actually pushed back on this particular lie in real-time.
Mark Shields:  Not to be prickly, but I just point out that Barack Obama confronted the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. I mean, getting out of that was the prime concern. He brought us back from the precipice. I agree with you on the expanding inequality, but it was’t comparable in any way of 105 sustained months of job growth and economic growth under Barack Obama that was inherited by Donald Trump and is about to be squandered in this giveaway.
Thus embarrassed on national teevee, Mr. Brooks retreated to a completely incoherent, emergency backup lie.  OK, sure, the Great Recession was pretty bad for Little People Who Are Not David Brooks, but once President Obama fixed that, he refused to pivot to "the Michigans, the Pennsylvanias, the Ohios, and either done infrastructure".

And Holy Fact Check Jesus, Mark Shields actually pushed right back on that lie too.
Mark Shields:  You’re right, but I just point out one thing, and that is saving the United States automobile industry, Ohio and Michigan, were not minor accomplishments and they were opposed by the Republicans and the Republican standard-bearer.
So having been publicly schooled on the difference between actual, American political history and the particular brand of Both Siderist bullshit he was slinging, you would think Mr. Brooks would lay off telling that particular lie at least for a little while.

But you, dear reader, would be wrong.

From his impregnable Both Siderist sniper's nest high atop The New York Times, here is Mr. David Brooks today:
The central problem of our time is the stagnation of middle-class wages, the disintegration of working-class communities and the ensuing fragmentation of American society.

Our political leadership has shown an amazing ability to look the other way. George W. Bush fought a war on terror. Obama devoted his presidency to expanding health insurance. Donald Trump is all talk and no policy.
For the benefit of future generation who might are sifting through the rubble of our civilization looking for answers, it it worth mentioning that the balance of Mr. David Brooks' column is devoted to pimping the magazine of his friend and acolyte, Yuval Levin, as "a foundry of ideas to enhance social mobility".

It is also worth mentioning that many of the bold, new ideas for social mobility that Mr. Brooks bulletted in his column -- Labor Force Participation, Ex-Offender Policies, Career Pathways -- were, in fact, championed by the Obama Administration.

For example, here is Senator Barack Obama touting innovative programs like Austin Polytech High school, which is based on building career pathways and training to industry certification standards in manufacturing and engineering:

And here is my own, partial list of the Obama Administration's dozens and dozens of programs specifically targeting manufacturing career training and promotion.

But somehow, less than a year after President Obama left office, Mr.  David Brooks cannot remember a single fucking detail about any of the Obama Administration's myriad initiatives to tackle the problem of social mobility.  Nor does Mr. Brooks ever even hint at the real reason why virtually none of these program were ever scaled up into amply funded, national policies.

Senate blocks new Obama jobs bill
Senate blocks $60 billion infrastructure plan, another part of Obama jobs bill
Also from November 2011:
Third Obama jobs bill blocked in Senate
Mr. Brooks dare not mention any of this because it would be ideologically and professionally catastrophic to the cause of Both Siderism to be forced to admit that President Obama was, in fact, striving mightily to enact exactly the kinds of policies that David Brooks is now touting.  And that the only reason those things remain undone is because of the intractable, lockstep obstruction and sabotage of Mr. Brooks' entire Republican party --
Republicans’ mindless obstruction has helped create something far worse
-- which they adopted as a premeditated electoral strategy the very day Barack Obama was inaugurated.

And because he is not merely a highly paid professional liar, but a very lazy highly paid professional liar, Mr. Brooks could not even be bothered to whip up some brand new fairy tale to pad out his shitty column once his old line of bullshit was shot full of holes.

Instead he just laid in the cut and waited until Mark Shields was gone, and went right back to recycling his now-thoroughly-debunked old lies on the op-ed page of The New York Times.

And the truly sad and scary part?

This is not Mr. David Brook failing at his job.  

This is Mr. David Brooks doing his job.

His one and only job

Behold, a Tip Jar!


Jonny Scrum-half said...

Damn, you are good. It's really an indictment of our society that people like David Brooks are famous and rich from their banalities and lies, while you're a blogger whose real name I don't know and don't feel particularly inspired to try to find out.

Really, thanks for your work. It's great, and important.

Robt said...

Because Brooks has always went a long way to stay silent on reality. To actually have to take a stand and plant his feet firmly.
He watches it all coming down on others. Distant others. That empathy signals are low power and unintelligible.

The thing is,
When they decide he is not needed to spew for them. His value drops.

They will come for him as well. And he must convincing himself that Alex Jones, Paul Ryan, Putin and the Kochs will speak up for him . As there will be no one else left to do so.

Why don't people recognize Lies imitating lies and all the effort, expense and years of studying the Art of Propaganda..
Why there are not annual awards for best Lie, best supporting liar, Best produing liar is beyaond me.

Steven said...

Brooks is an invincibly 'centrist' fathead, and disingenuous to boot.

Average corporate rate in Europe is 15%, David? OK, but hmm, what *else* is different about Europe vs America in terms of taxes and job security and social safety nets? Obama proposed cutting it to 28%? OK, but (1) that's 7 points higher than the GOP's number and (2) what *other" things was Obama championing for average folks, like health insurance and minimum wage hikes?

At the end he tosses up his soft little hands and just acknowledges the decadence of the GOP electorate: "The less Republicans do for workers, the more alienated they become and the more they vote Republican." You got that right, Dave.

trgahan said...

"...Labor Force Participation, Ex-Offender Policies, Career Pathways.."

Don't have to time to read it, but I assume Mr. Brook's acknowledged in his column that the Republican Party and it's propaganda network would attack with the fire of a thousand suns ALL of those "bold, new ideas" as mere Bolshevism meant to give righteous Real American white people's stuff to lazy, shiftless, undeserving brown people, right?

JDM said...

Our political leadership has shown an amazing ability to look the other way. George W. Bush fought a war on terror. Obama devoted his presidency to expanding health insurance. Donald Trump is all talk and no policy.

Didn't Sesame Street use those in their "one of these things is not like the other" bits?