Tuesday, August 29, 2017

David Brooks: If I Forget Thee, O Atwater

May my right hand forget her cunning.
May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth
If I do not remember you. *

For a long time, the business of lying about the Republican Party has been very good for Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times.  And, as longtime readers know, carefully documenting exactly how Mr. Brooks has made a fortune lying about the Republican Party has been one of the motifs on this blog since I opened the joint way back in the Spring of 2005:
...it is now painfully clear that Mr. Brooks is engaged in a long-term project to completely rewrite the history of American Conservatism: to flense it of all of the Conservative social, political  economic and foreign policy debacles that make Mr. Brooks wince and repackage the whole era as a fairy tale of noble Whigs being led through treacherous hippie country by the humble David Brooks.
But now the Republican ship is going down.


How Trump Kills the G.O.P.

And once again no one is rattier or scuttling away faster from the scene of the crime than Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times who has begun to notice a whiff of a hint of a scent that, by golly, there may just be something wrong with his Republican Party!

Unlike Chuck Todd, who just two weeks ago definitely tagged 2015 as the year the Noble Republican Party suddenly went mad -- 
CHUCK TODD: ...  Amy Walter, look, it is not new to have this fringe. The Republican Party for a long time has fought very hard to keep these people out, you know. The Democratic Party pushed them out. Republican Party pushed them out. Until 2015, there's been this sense that there was a permission slip.
-- Mr. Brooks remains carefully hazy about when exactly The Good Old Days ended and The Bad People began secretly infiltrating his Noble Republican Party., but it is definitely of very recently vintage --
But the Republican Party has changed since 2005. It has become the vehicle for white identity politics. In 2005 only six percent of Republicans felt that whites faced “a great deal” of discrimination, the same number of Democrats who felt this. By 2016, the percentage of Republicans who felt this had tripled.
-- and he definitely had nothing whatsoever to do with it.

This is, of course, fully in keeping with the real reason Mr. Brooks was hired by The New York Times, and the reason he has kept that job (and his job at NPR, and his job at PBS and his recurring role on "Meet the Press", and ...) despite the fact that he is a very bad writer who recycles the same, shitty talking points over and over and over again and who has been wrong about pretty much everything since forever:
...the New York Times has employed Mr. David Brooks at heavy expense for the sole purpose of spinning comforting and imaginative fairy tales about a wholly imaginary "Republican Party" which exists as a collective hallucination in the minds of Mr. David Brooks, a few hundred other, lesser confidence men who live off of the same grift, a handful of extremely wealthy idiots who desperately want to believe what Mr. Brooks writes, and many thousands of cultural cowards who want to feign political sagacity while hiding out in the safe confines of the seemingly-indestructible Both Siderist bunker which Mr. Brooks has built for them.

You see, Mr. Brooks' relationship with the actual here-and-now here in America has always been a lot like Mr. Brooks' marriage:  a disaster Mr. Brooks which has been trying to get as far away from as humanly possible, because it is the graveyard of all his ridiculous postulating and pontificating about Man and God and Culture.  This is why Mr. Brooks has always reserved his biggest, gassiest lies for long paeans on the subject of Conservatism's amazing imaginary past -- which is always juuust out of sight in the Republican rear-view mirror -- and Conservatism's awesome imaginary future -- which is always juuust over the Republican horizon.
Mr. Brooks has been so phenomenally successful at trafficking in this ludicrous lie for so long because Mr. Brooks' "beat" has never been the actual Conservative movement, or the actual Republican Party as we who live out here in the actual United States of America have known it and seen it up close and personal for our entire lives.

No, Mr. Brooks' actual beat has always been Washington D.C.'s well-insulated corridors of political power and the dinner parties of his fellow Beltway parvenus and sycophants, where never was heard a racist word.  Except from those so-called "progressives"!  From Mr. Brooks again:
Between 1984 and 2003 I worked at National Review, The Washington Times, the Wall Street Journal editorial page and The Weekly Standard. Most of my friends were Republicans.

In that time, I never heard blatantly racist comments at dinner parties, and there were probably fewer than a dozen times I heard some veiled comment that could have suggested racism. To be honest, I heard more racial condescension in progressive circles than in conservative ones.
Nope!  No racists here!  In fact as recently as November 2014, here is what Mr. Brooks was writing about the state of his Republican Party.
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. The wins in purple states like North Carolina, Iowa and Colorado are clear indications that the party can at least gain a hearing among swing voters. And if the G.O.P. presents a reasonable candidate (and this year’s crop was very good), then Republicans can win anywhere. I think we’ve left the Sarah Palin phase and entered the Tom Cotton phase. 
--  David Brooks, November 5, 2014.
At roughly the same time that Mr. Brooks was adding to his already prodigious mountain of money by mesmerizing his vast and influential audience with comforting fairy tales of the Awesome New Republican Party that was definitely not scary or racist, in a far off in the corner of the internet where they keep the pariahs who will not shut up about how fucked-in-the-head the GOP really is, I was writing once again about how strongly the Beltway media had come to resemble the revelers at Prince Prospero's plague party in Edgar Allan Poe's The Masque of the Red Death:

THE "Red Death" had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal --the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.

But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys. This was an extensive and magnificent structure, the creation of the prince's own eccentric yet august taste. A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron. The courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts. They resolved to leave means neither of ingress or egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of frenzy from within. The abbey was amply provisioned. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the "Red Death."

It was toward the close of the fifth or sixth month of his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most unusual magnificence...

Well now the Red Death of Republican's Pretty Hate Machine -- which Mr. Brooks fucking well knows has been the engine of the GOP since before Mr. Brooks was in long pants -- has finally breached the Beltway's gates of iron and bullshit.  And  now, just one election after pronouncing the GOP fit as a fucking fiddle, here is Mr. Brooks assay of his Republican Party (complete with the obligatory hand-wave of bullshit Both Siderism to keep his employers happy, which I have helpfully highlighted for you):
...[Donald Trump] established his political identity through birtherism, he won the Republican nomination on the Muslim ban, he campaigned on the Mexican wall, he governed by being neutral on Charlottesville and pardoning the racialist Joe Arpaio.

Each individual Republican is now compelled to embrace this garbage or not. The choice is unavoidable, and white resentment is bound to define Republicanism more and more in the months ahead. It’s what Trump cares about. The identity warriors on the left will deface statues or whatever and set up mutually beneficial confrontations with the identity warriors on the right. Things will get uglier.

And this is where the dissolution of the G.O.P. comes in. Conservative universalists are coming to realize their party has become a vehicle for white identity and racial conflict. This faction is prior to and deeper than Trump.

When you have an intraparty fight about foreign or domestic issues, you think your rivals are wrong. When you have an intraparty fight on race, you think your rivals are disgusting. That’s what’s happening. Friendships are now ending across the right. People who supported Trump for partisan reasons now feel locked in to support him on race, and they are making themselves repellent...
For those of you who never read it, here is how Poe end's The Masque of The Red Death:
And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.
Seems about right to me.

*(Yes, I did indeed abuse Psalm 137 for the title of this post.)

Behold, a Tip Jar!


Otto66 said...

By the title I was expecting something different. What you gave us was Brooks, Trump and Poe. Damn fine writing.

Robt said...

But there were problems,
some republican muts became immune or deaf to the Dog Whistles. The Dog whistles only heard by the now Rabid dogs only and never reached the ears of others to answer the call or bring in new muts.

Besides the 3 corner hats with tea bags hanging from the rims how do they differ from the white sheered hood people?
The John Birch Society? Alt Right" Republicans are very good at cutting of the bottom of a blanket, sewing it to the top of the blanket and marketing how it is new and improved and raise sales revenue.

Just as the pat Roberston Prophecy of God punishing Texans for their sins and lack of repentance to the religious conservative Piety. As these rugged conservative cowboy self sufficient reach out for the Socialism life preserver. As Ted Cruz and Cornyn get jelly in the conservative Knees. Should we hold strong in the Free market "sink or swim" ideology when they are so weak. Or do we stay out of the way of God's wrath?

But there again, it could be the price of Climate Change denial.
To be sure, Brooks "doesn't" write of his findings of the mystical Many, many sides of bothsiderisms for the Alt Right crowd to read. He is paid to fluff the pillows of those that pay to fund these hate groups of the party he subscribes (for a nice fee). It is their primary voter base is distracts and layers with frosting.

Unknown said...

Blessed art thou who takes his little brain farts and dashes them against the rocks!

dinthebeast said...

"Each individual Republican is now compelled to embrace this garbage or not."

Actually David, each individual human being has always been compelled thus, only your goddamn Republicans by the numbers are far more likely buy it than anyone else, and have been for my entire lifetime.

-Doug in Oakland

freshsideofhell said...

Thank you Mr. Driftglass. Behold....Hope.

trgahan said...

Ok...ok...I get it Beltway Punditry!

Until further notice the Intellectual Conservative and/or Both Sider Centrist stance is:

Trump Sucks, You (whomever wrote the piece) and Conservatism had NOTHING to with it, and the Left, as a monolithic whole with NO EXCEPTIONS!!, is as violent and illogical as any MAGA hat wearing Trump voter, only acting this way for relief from their economic anxiety and the opioid problem, cheering status to white supremacy and Presidential pardons for a bigot with a badge who murdered and tortured brown people.

Neo Tuxedo said...

Actually, Tom, until further notice the Intellectual Conservative and/or Both Sider Centrist is the same as it ever was:

"every time a Republican assaults someone, somewhere out there is a Liberal who is at least equally to blame for it[, and] every time a Liberal does something wrong Conservatism is vindicated and Ronald Reagan smiles down on us from Heaven."

(Same as it ever was, and look where my hand was...)

Dr.BDH said...

Imagine if the Democratic Party had ever proffered a candidate as wretched as Nixon, Agnew, Bush, Cheney or Trump. Some demagogic purveyor of lies about how the wealthy will be shot and their riches distributed, how the Christians will be burnt and the children forced into gay abortions with Muslims, and how the gunowners will be sodomized with their weapons and imprisoned among swarthy trangendered pacifists. If any candidate had ever risen from the Democratic ranks, the and only then could the Brookses of this world have claimed "both sides do it."

Unknown said...

When I read the second paragraph in Brooks commentary, namely "A greater percentage of congressional Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act than Democrats".

I knew he was full of shit, brimming over, really.

Yes, a greater percentage of NORTHERN DEMOCRATS AND NORTHERN REPUBLICAN politicians voted for the Civil Rights Act.

Region, not party affiliation, is the indicator of votes. I found this information a while ago, and cut an paste it, but it is worth pointing out the bullshit behind the GOP's "Democrats are the party of KKK" and "Republicans supported Civil Rights"...

"Congressional votes for the Civil Rights Act in 1964 are recorded, so we know which state they represented, and how they voted:

For the states that represented the Union in the Civil War, aka, the northern states: 95% (144 out of 152) of House Democratic representatives voted in support of the Civil Rights Act.

For the former Confederate States, only 9% (8 out of 91) of House Democratic representatives voted to support it.

In the Senate: 98% (45 of 46) of Democratic Senators from the northern states supported it, vs only 5% (1 of 21) of Democratic Senators from the southern states.

Overall, Republican support by region was even clearer. Senate Republicans from northern states voted 84% (27 of 32) in support of the Civil Rights Act

ZERO Republicans from the southern states serving in either the House or Senate voted in favor of it.

It is a pretty clear picture that South vs North was the primary determining factor, not political party, unless you see how clearly southern Republicans felt about it (it looks like at least one party hasn’t changed much -- that would be the Republicans).

Not to mention the KKK seemed to not show up to support our Democratic candidate this round (or ever, can’t remember them supporting Bill Clinton, or President Obama, weirdly), while they did show up to openly support Trump, a Republican (weird, it makes no sense, since us ‘Democrats’ are the true party of the KKK, according to their revisionist history). "

Robt said...

--ER, Nice breakdown. Breitbart would probably give you a medal for "Fake News: Never checking the facts before disagreeing and condemning you. Not sure if it is the, "Snow-Fake: award.

Nice breakdown all the same.
As we watched the Republicans use their power and funding to use the SCOTUS for a case in which they insulated themselves from but not inoculate. A case brought for the 5 conservative justices to legislate from the bench. That in which republicans did not want to be seen publicly with.

A legislating from the 5 activist conservative judges to provide an edge in electioneering to strengthen the GOP's grip on power in congress.

That case, gutting section 6 of the Civil Rights Act.

Allowing states to suppress the vote without getting approval.

Knowing all any state under this provision of approval merely had to go 10 lousey years without any racial election suppression tactics.

SCOTUS told Congress to recalculate the provision regulating these states. Have the republican house and senate (to your knowledge) ever mentioned any of it since?

SCOTUS was very aware of the republican extreme partisanship employed. Right down to their latest Supreme Gorsuch. Who I call the "Fascist fiddler".. You will see why I call him that as time passes with his rulings.

Unknown said...

Enough with the movement conservatives clutching their pearls. The only beef they have with lil' Donny is that he's vulgar and won't abide by their sacred talking points. I doubt there is a single gooper who, in their heart of hearts, has an issue with any Trumpism. Style, not substance.

Neo Tuxedo said...

I haven't seen any, keith. The most amazing specimen is a commenter over at The Erstwhile Conservative who calls himself ansonburlingame (the actual Anson Burlingame must be busy, or he'd rise from his grave and, as the offended party, challenge him to rifles at 10 paces the way he did this object's real spiritual ancestor). He insists he didn't vote for, and doesn't support, Him, Trump, and I'm willing to give him credit for the vote, but I've pointed out at least once that, if he voted for Nixon, or Red-Ink Ronnie, or Huge Rebel Gas Work, the only meaningful complaint he can have with Dolt 45 is failure to use his inside voice, and that's using a generous definition of "meaningful".

jim said...

Seems the party of Sarah Palin was the party of Tom Cotton on TeeVee for circa 15 nanoseconds before decaying into the party of Vidkun Quisling.


Brigid said...

Thank you for your documenting of David Brooks's apologia project. I've been saying this for years.

Patricia Kayden said...

Very well said. Great breakdown of the Civil Rights Act votes to show that it is a lie to suggest that Republicans supported it while Democrats did not.

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