Friday, October 05, 2018

David Brooks: The Man With No Character Arc

After being gifted a 10-week "book leave" from his employer to travel around the country scolding Americans for failing him, Mr. David Brooks of The New York Time is back at The New York Time with his hot take on the sturm und drang of the Kavanaugh nomination.  

And it has everything!  Starting with his hand-waving insistence that everyone would have been so much better off if the Supreme Court had just wandered away and gotten lost in the woods, leaving the Imaginary Centrist Majority to decide who gets which civil rights on a state-by-state, case-by-case basis. 

You know, like in the Jim Crow South.
When Blackmun wrote the Roe decision, it took the abortion issue out of the legislatures and put it into the courts. If it had remained in the legislatures, we would have seen a series of state-by-state compromises reflecting the views of the centrist majority that's always existed on this issue. These legislative compromises wouldn't have pleased everyone, but would have been regarded as legitimate.
But you know how Liberals are!  They had to go and overreach and ruin everything!
Instead, Blackmun and his concurring colleagues invented a right to abortion, and imposed a solution more extreme than the policies of just about any other comparable nation.
Actually, no.  They articulated a right to privacy (do you ever get a single thing right?) which is as implicit in every other right mentioned in the Constitution as is the right to breathe, which the Founders also did not specify, because I guess they never anticipated the existence of The New York Times, or that it would one day decide that a myopic fop named David Brooks should have his own column-for-life.

This is followed by a great deal of Peevish White Noise strung together to form sentences. Phrases like “right and left” and “pro-life or pro-choice” and “tit-for-tat” in which Mr. Brooks reduces the clear, sharp facts at hand into a slag heap of false equivalence -- 
Religious conservatives became alienated from their own government, feeling that their democratic rights had been usurped by robed elitists. 

Liberals lost touch with working-class Americans because they never had to have a conversation about values with those voters...

Dozens of groups on the right and left have been created to destroy nominees who might oppose their side of the fight.

Each nomination battle is more vicious than the last as the methodologies of personal destruction are perfected. You get a tit-for-tat escalation as each side points to the other's outrages to justify its own methods...

At first the Senate Judiciary Committee was chiefly infected by this way of doing business, but now the entire body -- in fact, the entire capital -- has caught the abortion fight fever...
-- which finally lands here:
The fact is, the entire country is trapped. Harry Blackmun and his colleagues suppressed that democratic abortion debate the nation needs to have. The poisons have been building ever since. You can complain about the incivility of politics, but you can't stop the escalation of conflict in the middle. You have to kill it at the root. Unless Roe v. Wade is overturned, politics will never get better. 
Yes, for the sake of humility, civility, the peace of mind of the Imaginary Center and David Brooks' aching back, we Libtards simply must back the hell off, shut the hell up off and give Erick Erickson, Jerry Falwell Junior and Aunt Lydia exactly what they want.  
Because winning always calms fascists and theocrats right down.
But here's the thing.

None of this is from today's David Brooks New York Times column.

(Sorry for the deception. After nearly 14 years writing about this goof, just to keep my sanity, I sometimes get a little...whimsical.)

No, this is from Mr David Brooks circa 2005.  
Roe's Birth, and Death

APRIL 21, 2005

Justice Harry Blackmun did more inadvertent damage to our democracy than any other 20th-century American. When he and his Supreme Court colleagues issued the Roe v. Wade decision, they set off a cycle of political viciousness and counter-viciousness that has poisoned public life ever since, and now threatens to destroy the Senate as we know it...
And about which I wrote this post, also from April, 2005, because Jesus Haloscan Christ, I have been at this a long time:
BoBo pleads for “compromise”. Again.
So join me the Political Pensieve as we cut  to the end of that dusty, old post which I hauled up from from the depths of the Bush Administration to see just how little has actually changed:
...“Fact is” you wormy little Quisling, the Dems spent the 90’s compromising their fool asses off – precisely like it says right here on the prescription that Dr. BoBo wrote out for us.

For their troubles they got Newt Gingrich and his GOPAC Little Red Hatespeech Book launching a carefully planned, deliberately executed verbal blitzkrieg again the Democratic Party. A coordinated national campaign of that came with a detailed list of words (Free In Every Box of Cracka’ Jacks!) to be used to demonization and humiliate Democrats at every opportunity.

For their troubles we get Tom DeLay rising like the Asshole Kraken from the absolute depths of bigoted-ignorant-demagogue-politics to become a proud leader of your party. And trailing behind him like the smelly brown tail of a feculent comet, all the rest of the escapees from “The Island of Doctor Moreau” that own and operate the GOP.

For their troubles they got the Democratic President of the United States hunted like a wild animal for seven years – for sport – by Republicans riding along on a rhetorical tsumani of Absolute Ethical Standards. Virtually shutting the country down to impeach him for a b-l-o-w-j-o-b, not because you wanted to -- Heavens No! -- but because any hint of impropriety on the part of any president need to be ferreted out, no matter the cost.

Well the per-capita number of Ferrets in your party has certainly skyrocketed since then, so where are all the investigations of the possible High Crimes and Misdemeanors of the administration of George Walker Bush? Where are the Select Committees? The Special Prosecutors with unlimited lines of credit? Has Cheney been excoriated and rebuked for secretly rigging up a new energy policy? Has GW been subpoenaed yet? Has Rice? Perle?

Of course not, BoBo, because your party is infested top to bottom with CHUDS and poltroons, liars and hypocrites, Elmer Gantrys and Jeff Gannons. You already own the Executive and Legislative branches and the only thing standing between them and the Jesusland, Inc. fantasy that you all cream over is the courts…

…so let’s expend a Brooksie columns beating up on judges by cowardly proxy. Hey, how about Liberal Supreme Court Judges? Who are dead? And how about we try to throw the dogs off the scent by waving the word “Abortion” around and seeing if that’ll confuse them.

Face it, BoBo in the sharp illumination of your party’s own words and deeds, you sound idiotic, but hey, if you really want to disarm and play nice, fine. And since we spent a decade trying to find compromise with the "Napalm a Progressive for Christ" wing of your party (now better known now simple as The Republicans) and got our skulls bashed in with big, old GOP crowbars for our trouble, how about you going first, and we’ll meet you at the half-way point.

The REAL halfway point, which at the rate your party has being sprinting into the doughy arms of the Fundamentalists, is now about nine billion miles to your left.

I pulled this this post from this period for one, very specific reason:  because at this exact moment -- early-to-mid-2005 -- it was increasingly clear that the Bush Administration was doomed.  That its collapse was inevitable and becoming impossible to deny.  Which is why, at this very same moment, Conservative Beltway hacks like Mr. Brooks (who had been such stalwart Bush Administration water carriers) began to quietly jettison the "Bush is a genius and Liberals are idiots" rhetoric they had been riding since the 2000 election and looking for an escape hatch. 

And in that moment of psychological and professional desperation -- in their frantic search to find some pseudo-intellectual legerdemain which would simultaneously absolve them of all responsibility for the monster they had created while at the same time allow them to continue enjoying the careers they had garnered by feeding that very monster -- the foundation stones of the High and Holy Church of Both Sides Do It were laid down.

It was hugely popular.  Almost overnight it became the official state religion of the mainstream media, and you can certainly understand why.  By declaring across-the-board that everyone would henceforth always be considered equally to blame for everything just as the Dubya Administration began its bloody, catastrophic final chapters as the Worst Presidency in History (little did we know) suddenly no one was individually responsible for anything!


That was the starting gun for the smothering avalanche of ruin and bullshit that followed.  Every thug and bigot and lunatic on the Right all got the message loud and clear: from now on, no matter what acts of corrupt, seditious, racist vandalism they carried out to destroy Barack Obama, no one in the media would blame them without first blaming...Obama and the Left as well.  And if they ever got tangled up in their own hypocrisy by some dirty hippy comparing their words and actions during the Age of Dubya and their words and actions under Obama...well guess what Libtard?  The past never happened!


Suddenly Republicans weren't Republicans anymore.  They were Teabaggers.  Or Libertarians.  Or Constitutionalists.  Or Constitutional Originalists.  Or Christian Patriots. Or (hands-down my favorite) Independents.  And apparently none of them had ever even heard of this "George W. Bush" person.

And suddenly the crimes of the Republican Party were not the fault of the Republican Party at all.  It was all the fault of  "Bushism" or "Delayism", just as today we are told over and over again by these same wretched liars that "Trumpism" is the real culprit.  Which brings us right back to Mr. David Brooks, once again calling in from almost 13 years ago:
But Republicans need to do more than bump DeLay. They need to put the entire leadership team up for a re-vote. That's because the real problem wasn't DeLay, it was DeLayism...
And of course, in accordance with the tenets of the new High and Holy Church of Both Sides Do It, the actual depravity of Right during the time of Tom DeLay had to be exactly balanced out by the fictional Extremes On The Left.  Once again, from the depths of the Bush Administration, we find Mr. Brooks lighting a path that every other duplicitous Beltway hack would follow:
But the experience of DeLay and the net-root DeLays in the Democratic Party amply demonstrates that means determine ends. Hyper-partisans may have started with subtle beliefs, but their beliefs led them to partisanship and their partisanship led to malice and malice made them extremist, and pretty soon they were no longer the same people.
In this way -- by using his New York Times column to hammer home the Big Lie of Both Sides Do It week after week, year after year, by sheer, bludgeoning repetition -- Mr. David Brooks became the Pope of this new Beltway media religion.  And that is why, from that day until this, regardless of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary and regardless of the fact that many of his most loyal running buddies from back in the day (Tom Friedman) --
It would be easy to blame both sides equally for this shift, noted Ornstein, but it is just not true. After the end of the Cold War, he said, “tribal politics were introduced by Newt Gingrich when he came to Congress 40 years ago,” and then perfected by Mitch McConnell during the Barack Obama presidency, when McConnell declared his intention to use his G.O.P. Senate caucus to make Obama fail as a strategy for getting Republicans back in power.
-- have finally (Max Boot) --
“We Need to Destroy the Republican Party”: A Conservative Luminary Calls for a Clean Start
In which Max Boot says the GOP is racist, the Iraq War was wrong, and Trumpism is a cancer...
-- stopped attending (Jennifer Rubin) --
None of this is desirable, nor would it have been conceivable had Trump picked another justice. However, in producing a worthless investigation and declaring open season on sex-crimes victims, Republicans push women out of the party and onto political war-footing. If power politics is what the Republicans want, women and others in the anti-Republican coalition (male and female Democrats, independents and ex-Republicans) will learn to play just as fiercely...

For me, I’ll recollect Ford’s trembling voice acknowledging that she might be “annihilated” for her effort to spare the country from a grievously unfit justice. She got that right.

-- regular Both Siderist services (for now), pretty much every single fucking column which Mr. Brooks has ever written for the Times has been nothing more than a very small variation on this Very Big Lie.

Including today.
A Complete National Disgrace
The Kavanaugh hearings as American nadir.

...Persuasion is no longer an important part of public conversation. Public statements are meant to mobilize your mob. Senator Cory Booker can’t just sort through the evidence. He has to get Spartacus-like histrionic in order to whip Democrats toward his presidential candidacy. Kavanaugh can’t just dispassionately try to disprove the allegations made against him. Instead, he gets furious and stokes up culture war rage in order to fire up the Republican base.

This past month we’ve seen thousands of people convinced that they know how Kavanaugh behaved because they know how “privileged” people behave. We’ve seen thousands of people lining up behind Kavanaugh because they know that there’s this vicious thing called “the Left,” which hates them.

The members of the public no longer reason with one another. They fall into predictable party-line formation and then invent post-hoc, bad-faith rationalizations to give cover to their ideologically driven positions (Drank too much! Bad temperament! Bad yearbook entry!)...

It’s clear that we need a new sort of environmental movement, a movement to police our civic environment. That environment isn’t polluted by a vague condition called “polarization.” It is polluted by the specific toxic emissions we all produce in our low moments. Those emissions have to be precisely identified, classified, called out as shameful...
Today we find Mr. Brooks once again reducing the facts at hand to a slag heap of self-absolving false equivalence.  We find the same "you should all be ashamed" finger-wagging from Captain Humility that he has been peddling for decades.  We find the same pedantic refusal to look at the shitpile of rage, ignorance and bigotry his Republican Party has become because that is what it was always designed to be.

Today we find that, having gone through the crucible of the Dubya Clusterfuck, the Obama Years and now the Trump Fiasco, the author of The Road to Character has no Character Arc at all.

Mr. Brooks has found his lodestar and will never give it up.

He remains the same myopic, self-righteous charlatan he always was.

The same myopic, self-righteous charlatan he always will be.

I don't have a book to sell you.
Or a newspaper sending me on "book leave".
Or a column in any publication anywhere.
And I probably never will.
What I have is this Tip Jar.


dinthebeast said...

Oh fuck you, David. The first written instance mentioning abortion (according to Google) was 1550 BC, you despicable fuck, and no-one, not even evangelical Christians gave two shits about it (except the Catholics) until your Republican party decided to make it a political issue and doom countless luckless poor women to gruesome deaths at the hands of "back alley" abortionists or their own desperate efforts to just not be pregnant any more.
Medicine has moved on from those dark days, and we don't need you or the fucking SCOTUS to drag us back there.

And once again you have framed the actual details of your goddamn Republican party "how privileged people behave" along with scary fairy tales about the "left" to try and negate the actual goddamn crimes on full display as partisan bickering that we need to move away from "for the good of the nation" (read that "to provide you and your friends with serviceable, unincinerated lifeboats).
Perjury, motherfucker. You used to think it was impeachable when Bill Clinton did it about a consensual blowjob.
And no other judicial nominee would be confirmed after promising the partisan revenge Kavanaugh did, under oath, to the senate, on national television, so please take your accusations of destructive partisan overreach and stick them in your butt with your head, which would at least have the positive quality of being amusing.

-Doug in Oakland

Ed Smart said...

David Brooks says the word elite instead of poking needles into the eyes of kittens.

Abu Scooter said...

Yeah, Bobo has quite the talent for stuffing more "white" into "white noise."

David Pickering said...

Severely pissed off this evening after the Senate vote on Judge Rapey McBrewsky. I sent some money Heidi Heitkamp's way since she showed way more courage than Joe Manchen. I donated to the PAC that promised to fund Susan Collins' opponent if she voted "Yes". I also donated to the campaign of Janet Garett who's running for Congress here in Ohio against the loathsome Jim Jordan.

I also dropped some coin into the tip jar here. Always enjoy it when you rip the latest David Brooks abomination to shreds.

Robt said...

After reading your post of DFB. I left me without a full conclusion to your scribbed point.

Is BFB suffering from the many personalities within him fighting for dominance?


Is it why they had to send the HewBot back in time to destroy all humans.
After sending the DRB-Bot to destroy humans. Only after finding the DFB-Bot programming , (Made in Somalia at a low, lower, lowest bid cost) was too faulty to carry out its Final Solution?

Like a well written puce. Leaves the reader asking questions of what the sequal might bring.

Dr.BDH said...

So many NYT approved comments lauding Brooks for saying, "If we didn't have abortions, these sluts would get what they deserve" but in some respectable dogwhistle code. Male readers of the NYTimes are proportionately as misogynestic as the VFW at any Mississippi truck stop wasteland.