"Why should I live in history? Fuck, I don’t want to know anything anymore. This is a world where nothing is solved."
It is rumored that this was part of the original draft of today's David Brooks column in The New York Times.
But after his interns carried him off to bed, after they leeched out all the self-pity and tequila, they produced a final draft which was much better calibrated to fit within Mr. Brooks' Great Project:
Longtime readers know of my crazy 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 an entire, fictional alternate history of Modern Conservationism, which is being created right before our eyes by the slow, steady accretion of one godawful Whig Fan Fiction column at at time.
And so, after a little wordsmithing, here is part of the final draft as it appeared in The New York Times this morning:
Donald Trump gave us Trumpism at its best on Tuesday night. And that was useful because it gave us a view of the political movement he represents, without the clownish behavior.The first thing we learned was that Trumpism is an utter repudiation of modern conservatism...
This is, of course, arrant piffle (sorry for the salty language kids.)
"Trumpism" is not the repudiation of Modern Conservatism, it is Modern Conservatism's apotheosis. Nothing more than "Republicanism" stripped of its veneer of Beltway respectability. The raw, toxic core of Conservatism's Pretty Hate Machine (that certain disreputable hippies were writing about all the way back in 2006) with all the coolant boiled away...
The Liquid Bobo Koolant
The Koolant system that keeps it all from blowing apart at the seams and melting itself back into the masturbatory fever dreams of every wannabe Jefferson Davis circulate a viscous Koolaid-based composite goo made up of 43% David Brooks, 27% Tom Friedman, 23% Tim Russert, 12% Joe Klein and 10% David Broder.You say that’s 115%? Well fuck you and your fancy, liberal, Jebus-hating elitist “arithmetic” anyway.If you press your ear to the containment shell you can hear it murmuring through the pipes:“There are no crazies here.”“The Southern Strategy is a myth.”“Ignore Falwell, Dobson, and Reed. They’re Men of Faith.”“Ignore Schlafly, Limbaugh and Hannity. They’re just firm”“Ignore Robertson, Perle and Nordquist. They’re just amusingly provocative.”“Gingrich isn’t a fascist; he’s just ‘controversial’.”“Coulter isn’t really serious, even though she is the keynote speaker and commands top dollar at national Republican events, Republican media outlets and sold-out Wingnut Christian rallies.”“That carcinoma spreading across your face. It looks just the Jesus, so you know it can’t be bad for you!”“The Moderates really run the party.”“The Center is where all right thinking people should be, despite the fact that in the last 30 years the Right has dragged the Center a million miles into Crazyville.”“No matter how completely the GOP rapes American values, without a sliver of evidence to support this assertion you should still somehow believe that Liberals are either just as bad or worse.”“The GOP cares about idiots like you.”“There is no core in this reactor.”
But of course America's Most Ubiquitous Conservative Public Intellectual cannot -- dare not -- say any of this. So for Mr. David Brooks, the timeline of Modern Conservatism has to be a Flat Circle.
"Everything Reagan's ever done, or will do, Reagan's gonna do over and over and over again." wept Brooks. "And again. And again. Forever."
This was obviously too weird and unsettling for a New York Times op-ed, so his interns quietly tweak it a little bit here and there.
For the last 40 years, the Republican Party has been a coalition of three tendencies...
There used to be Republican foreign policy hawks, people who believed that it was in America’s interest to serve as a global policeman, actively preserving a democratic world order...
There used to be social conservatives, who believed that the moral fabric of the country had been weakened by secularism and the breakdown of the family...
Finally, there used to be fiscal hawks who worried about the national debt...
Yeah but see, none of this is actually true.
For example, the "Republican foreign policy hawks" who were only too happy to pile on Bill Clinton when he sent troops into battle in places like Kosovo (What? You don't remember that?)...
Republican Statements When Clinton Went to War"You can support the troops but not the president." --Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years." --Joe Scarborough (R-FL)
"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?" --Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99
"[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy." --Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)
"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy." --Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy." --Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush
"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area." --Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)
"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today." --Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is." --Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)
... were the same "Republican foreign policy hawks" who lined up to cheer on Dubya (and call the rest of us traitors) as he lied us into the wrong fucking war.
And then lined up to cheer on Dubya (and call the rest of us traitors) as he completely botched that war.
And the same is true of those alleged Republican "fiscal hawks" who have a long and well-documented history of only giving a shit about the national checkbook when a Democrat is in the White House. Then and only then do these "fiscal hawks" suddenly appear out of nowhere to flood the airwaves with demands that Democrats not only clean up the fiscal disasters that Republicans created through crackpot economic schemes and giant tax cuts for the rich, but that Democrats should not be allowed to raise taxes one thin dime to do it.
You see, there is nothing more sacred on Earth or in Heaven to these "fiscal hawks" than tax cuts for the rich, which is why their first and only answer to any fiscal question is always "Slash programs for the poor and working class."
Ah, but when there is a Republican in the White House? Spending the nation's treasury like Donald Trump on a real estate shopping spree with Vladimir Putin's credit card? Well then the story is entirely different.
“Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter,”
-- Republican Vice President Dick Cheney, 2002"The Democrats cry that projections are notoriously inaccurate, that the tax cuts will blow a hole in the budget, and that the Bush administration's risky scheme (which sailed through the House last week) would cast us back into the days of piling debt...
"As productivity grows, the economy will grow. As the economy grows, revenues will grow, maybe beyond what the CBO projects. The real question about the Bush tax cuts, then, is not, Can we afford them? The real question is, Why are they so small?"
-- David Brooks, 2001
And as to the third element of Mr. Brooks' Imaginary Conservatism -- those noble "social conservatives" -- the less said about the Falwell/Robertson/Reed cabal of Bible-thumping perverts who helped gut the Party of Lincoln to advance their radical theocratic agenda the better.
But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.-- Matthew 23:13
The terrible truth that no one can bring themselves to say out loud is that Modern Conservatism has been a scam from the start. A massive fraud, gathering speed and careening down a steep and terrifying road towards Trump for the last 30 years. A corrupt cult that hired men like David Brooks for the same reason the mob hires pricey lawyers: to rig up alibis for their despicable enterprise and explain away their loathsome behavior.
"It was all a dream," David Brooks moaned, barely coherent, curled up in his tub, hugging a nearly-empty bottle of Gran Patrón Platinum. "A dream that we had inside a locked room, a dream about being a True Conservative."
"And like a lot of dreams, there's a monster at the end of it."
Well that wouldn't do. Not one little bit So after they got him into his Edmund Burke pj's and tucked him in, the dutiful interns of America's Most Ubiquitous Conservative Public Intellectual went to work spending the rest of the night turning Mr. Brooks' incoherent babble into 800 Beltway-friendly words that would exonerate men like Mr. Brooks by pretending that the monster at the end of the dream of Conservatism just suddenly appeared, unbidden, from nowhere, as if by magic...
...instead of being built and animated, step-by-step, over the last 30 years by men like Mr. Brooks.
Here is what they finally settled on (emphasis added):
...For the last 40 years, the Republican Party has been a coalition of three tendencies. On Tuesday, Trump rejected or ignored all of them.
There used to be Republican foreign policy hawks, people who believed that it was in America’s interest to serve as a global policeman, actively preserving a democratic world order. Trump explicitly repudiated this worldview, drawing instead a sharp distinction between what’s good for America and what’s good for the rest of the world.
There used to be social conservatives, who believed that the moral fabric of the country had been weakened by secularism and the breakdown of the family. On Tuesday, Trump acted as if this group didn’t exist. He didn’t mention a single social issue — abortion, religious liberty, marriage, anything.
Finally, there used to be fiscal hawks who worried about the national debt. Trump demolished these people, too, vowing a long list of spending programs and preservation of entitlement programs.
The Republicans who applauded Trump on Tuesday were applauding their own repudiation. They did it because partisanship is stronger than philosophy, but also because Reagan conservatism no longer applies to current reality...
And thus does Mr. Brooks' Great Project grow another chapter.