Tuesday, January 29, 2013

*David Brooks Reveals Plans to Build a "Super Awesome Tree Fort" -- UPDATE


First and bestest, it won't have all that stupid, crappy stuff going on all the time with those mean kids from down the block like the old tree fort had:
But, so far, there have been more calls for change than actual evidence of change. In his speech, for example, Jindal spanked his party for its stale clichés but then repeated the same Republican themes that have earned his party its 33 percent approval ratings: Government bad. Entrepreneurs good. 
In this reinvention process, Republicans seem to have spent no time talking to people who didn’t already vote for them.
While losing the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, the flaws of this mentality have become apparent. 
Those jerks will not be invited, because the awesome new tree fort'll be in David Brooks' own back yard!  
It’s probably futile to try to change current Republicans. It’s smarter to build a new wing of the Republican Party, one that can compete in the Northeast, the mid-Atlantic states, in the upper Midwest and along the West Coast. It’s smarter to build a new division that is different the way the Westin is different than the Sheraton.
He already has a buncha boards and nails and stuff.  He even has juice boxes! 
Americans are still skeptical of Washington. If you shove a big government program down their throats they will recoil. But many of their immediate problems flow from globalization, the turmoil of technological change and social decay, and they’re looking for a bit of help. Moreover, given all the antigovernment rhetoric, they will never trust these Republicans to reform cherished programs like Social Security and Medicare. You can’t be for entitlement reform and today’s G.O.P., because politically the two will never go together.
And a ladder!
The second G.O.P. wouldn’t be based on the Encroachment Story. It would be based on the idea that America is being hit simultaneously by two crises...
And really cool passwords!
...which you might call the Mancur Olson crisis and the Charles Murray crisis. 
And even though it will look exactly like the Democratic Party, it won't be because...it'll be even cooler!
The second G.O.P. ... would be filled with people who recoiled at President Obama’s second Inaugural Address because of its excessive faith in centralized power, but who don’t share the absolute antigovernment story of the current G.O.P.
And to join, all you have to do is swear on the graves of your ancestors that you will never, ever mention the many, many, many columns David Brooks has written over the years pretending that Republican bigotry and lunacy was trivial or non-existent...mocking Liberal concerns over the fallout from catastrophic Republican policies as stupid, shallow or disloyal...extolling the brilliant job that George W. Bush and John McCain were doing reforming the GOP...and repeatedly predicting a long, glorious Republican renaissance of competent leadership, budget surpluses and juice boxes for all!

BooMan weighs in:
David Brooks: Stupid as a Boiled Ham
by BooMan
Tue Jan 29th, 2013 at 09:42:45 AM EST

You knew that at one point David Brooks would suffer enough cognitive dissonance to lead him to make a permanent break with the Republican Party. That day has not yet come. Instead, because his paycheck depends on his willingness to ignore all cognitive dissonance, Brooks has today decided to advocate the creation of a second Republican Party. This party won't be based in the South or the Mormon Mountain West. It won't be completely paranoid about the ever-growing encroachment of the Nanny State. Possibly, it won't be bug-eyed nuts about Sharia Law and Latinos who behead white people in the Arizona desert...
Shakes sticks a fork in it:

The GOP isn't even honest about who they are when they're navel-gazing. Americans expect politicians to lie to us, but we expect them at least not to lie to themselves.


To absolutely no one's surprise, former George W. Bush speechwriter and very last kid picked for GOP dodgeball every time, David Frum, has offered to stock Mr. Brooks' awesome new tree fort with pizza rolls and porn that all look amazingly like every Liberal critique of the Right for the last 40 years:
What have the immoderate Republicans of the Tea Party era accomplished? Bupkus.

What went wrong? Many things, but start with this: Tea Party Republicans terrified the country. In 2011, they came within inches of forcing an entirely unnecessary government default. In 2012, they campaigned on a platform of ending the Medicare guarantee for younger people (while preserving every nickel of it for the Republican-voting constituencies over age 55) in order to finance a big tax cut for the richest Americans. Through the whole period 2009-2012, senior Republicans engaged in strident rhetoric of a kind simply not used by major party figures since the demise of Burton K. Wheeler and Alben Barkley. “Death panels” and “Ground Zero mosques”; Michele Bachman, Herman Cain and Donald Trump taking turns as the Republican front-runner; speakers of state legislatures praying for the death of the president and a former speaker of the House denouncing the president as a Kenyan anti-colonial alien to the American experience—we could fill this page with examples of important Republicans currying favor with their voting base by behaving in ways that the non-base would regard as reckless, racist, or just plain repellent.

I concur with Voegeli and Hayward about the need to restrain the growth of government. A preference for leaner, more efficient government is the concern that unites all Republicans. But it is more than a coincidence that the more ferociously and apocalyptically Republicans talk about government, the less Republicans actually do about it.

Here it seems to me is the core problem: the big winners under the American fiscal system are the elderly, the rural, and the affluent—Republican constituencies. It’s not easy to balance the budget or shrink government spending to any significant degree in ways that don’t pinch Republican voters much harder than they pinch Democratic voters.

To escape that reality, some conservative thought leaders have constructed an alternative reality. In this alternative reality, “welfare” not Medicare is the number one social spending cost.

In this alternative reality, government employment has not fallen by more than 500,000 since 2008.

In this alternative reality, half the country is deemed not to pay any tax—because this alternative reality refuses to count payroll taxes, excise taxes, and state and local taxes as taxes.

In this alternative reality, Medicare is counted as a program that is “paid for” by its beneficiaries contributions while unemployment insurance is not—even though the latter statement would be much closer to true.
Longtime readers are already hip to the fact this is not exactly a trailblazingly new tactic for Messers Brooks and Frum:
Both Mr. Frum and Mr. Brooks are sticking to the most tried-and-true method of Beltway Insider lying -- namely, heroically disavowing any knowledge whatsoever of their own previous and well-documented actions...

* Because "David Brooks calls for a 'Windows 95' that will be just like the Mac except slower, crashier and "'more epistemologically modest.'" was too long to pack into a title (and h/t to Lars Olsson for the spot-on video):


brother yam said...

Americans are still skeptical of Washington. If you shove a big government program down their throats they will recoil.

Like the ACA. We Americans were appalled at the ACA.

But many of their immediate problems flow from globalization, the turmoil of technological change and social decay, and they’re looking for a bit of help.

And the Republicans are going to help how? If you lose your job because some Platinum member of the GOP are you to be in line before or after the folks whose houses were destroyed by a natural disaster.

Not that it matters, you aren't getting any help anyway.

Unknown said...

I was gonna say "Don't worry; Brooks will forget about all of this just in time to paste a Christie-Rubio bumper sticker on his forehead for 2016," but then I realized that he'll simply write a column that proclaims that Christie/Rubio/Jindal/Martinez et al are EXACTLY the kind of reformed, "second" GOP he was talking about. So lo and behold, no need for that second wing. He's probably got the column half-done already. (The 2014 midterms, in which the usual pack of howler monkeys will make the usual midterm gains, will simply get a shrug.)

The fact that they'll all be seen hugging Michele Bachmann will be explained away by, um, humility, I guess.

gratuitous said...

And isn't David just so brave and courageous? Now that the flop has flopped, suddenly Mr. Brooks and indeed a number of folks at the New York Times are coming out to tell us that they saw the Republican charade all along. Oh, now that the fail has failed so spectacularly, they can tell us all with clear-eyed brilliance just how doomed the Republican program was.

In real time, though? Not a peep. Not a word. What's now characterized as "strident rhetoric" and an "alternative reality" was the sweeping vision of irresistible Republicanism that was going to overwhelm the country, brush aside that namby-pamby Democratic nonsense, and bring about a whole new country with Mitt Romney fearlessly leading us into the new millenium.

But now, boy, the Republicans have learned oh so much, and just watch out! 2014 will be 1994 all over again. Or 1864. Or 44 BCE. It'll be something, we're just not completely sure what.

Kevin Holsinger said...

Good afternoon, Mr. Glass.

I was going to say something about Mr. Brooks and his GOP 2.0 being like if Moses tried to lead the Egyptians out of Egypt.

But, given your theory that he's trying to become the hero of his own rewritten history", I'm wondering whether he might see himself like Surak, the guy who brought Logic to the Vulcans...


Anonymous said...

``You can’t be for entitlement reform and today’s G.O.P., because politically the two will never go together.''

What on EARTH is he yammering about?

Cliff said...

It’s smarter to build a new division that is different the way the Westin is different than the Sheraton.

Kinda like how Brooks' taint is different from his asshole? I mean let's get technical here.

I concur with Voegeli and Hayward about the need to restrain the growth of government.

It seems like "small government" is the entryway drug on the right, but I may be putting the cart before the horse.
It could also be the Mike Myers mask they use to disguise the unsavory face below.

Tommy said...

All the Bobo photo shops are brilliant, but I think this one is my favorite.

Frank Moraes said...

As with all "reasonable" Republicans, I don't understand why Brooks is a Republican if he really holds the opinions he implies. And that's why I think he is anything but reasonable. But if you dig down deep into his work, what you find is a guy that is mostly a social liberal. It is on economic issues that he is conservative. This is due to an embarrassing debate he had as a young man with Milton Friedman. According to Brooks, he was a liberal then. But Friedman managed to shoot down all of his arguments. This says much more about Brooks' intellectual skills than it says about anything else. And so he's left being a media lackey for conservative ideas that he understands no better than liberal ideas he long ago repudiated.

Batocchio said...

The chief lie David Brooks is selling is himself. To middle-information NPR listeners desperate to believe in a sensible, bipartisan centrism, Brooks sells himself, the false promise of a "reasonable conservative" supposedly representative of a host of other "reasonable conservatives" who he'll have you believe are the core, not a fringe (or hunted-nigh-to-extinction) element of the Republican Party. And these conservatives, Brooks will assure you, all act in good faith and do so too believe in the social contract, but gosh darn it, they just have philosophical differences with liberals, and what can ya do? Clearly the best course is to slap the label "sensible centrism" on conservative policies so we can all come together in the spirit of bipartisanship, like Tip and Ronnie. Oh, and Bush and 50 years of conservatism go down the memory hole; Brooks also conveniently forgets the stances he's personally taken over the years, and even those he's shilled over the past few months. He is a shameless party/movement hack, and that's being noticed more and more because the product he's trying to sell is growing increasingly erratic.