Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Beware of Brooks Bearing Gifts


Nought from the Greeks towards me hath sped well.
So now I find that ancient proverb true,
Foes' gifts are no gifts: profit bring they none.

-- Sophocles

Dear Mayor Pete,

I wish you well on your run for the White House and I am delighted that my party has fielded such an impressive array of presidential candidates this year.  All Democrats should be proud of the fact that we provide such a clear, sane contrast to the racist, bugfuck Republicans that even America's most well-know independent is once again changing his party affiliation to once again run as a Democrat.

And now, a word of warning.

You got a glowing column from Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times today. 
Why You Love Mayor Pete
Buttigieg detaches progressive policy from the culture war.

By David Brooks

Pete Buttigieg has some kind of magic right now. His campaign bio, “Shortest Way Home,” was the 25th-best-selling book on Amazon when I checked on Monday...
I urge you to enjoy it, pass it around to your friends, clip it for your mom to put on her fridge, and then forget about it and move on with your life as if it never happened.

In other words, take Mr. Brooks literally but not seriously.  And here's why.

Long ago when the Earth was new and David Brooks was younger than you are now, Mr. Brooks chose to lash himself to the mast of the Republican party and the Conservative movement.

And at the time it was a good career move.

After all, Reagan had taught Republicans that it was possible to conceal their party's dour racism behind quotable quips and a sunny smile, and that serious questions about their supply-side looting of the middle class could be easily deflected by talking a lot about "freedom" and continually flaying the government as evil and corrupt.  And so Mr. Brooks joined Team Evil, worked at a string of right-wing publications --
BROOKS: Yes, I started out on the left in college. And then I went to the right. I worked with National Review. I worked at the Washington Times. I worked with the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page. I worked at the Weekly Standard.
-- and the rising tide of Beltway media mediocrity that lifts all hacks did the rest.  And for years things went along smoothly for Mr. Brooks until, one day, just as those crazy Liberals had warned,  the sunny, Reagan Freedumb Mask behind which the GOP had been camouflaging its depraved agenda began to crumble --

OZZY


-- under the sheer tonnage of the corruption, incompetence and treason the Bush Administration.

And so, in order to stay on good paper with Team Evil, Mr. Brooks went along with the Conservative mob,  stridently espousing more and more and ludicrously indefensible positions (about which I have already written hundreds of times) on every subject from the Bush tax cuts to the Iraq War, while enthusiastically hippie-punching his critics every step along the way.

Then, as it always does, Reality caught up with the Republican freak show.  And as their loud, blustery nonsense about the inerrant genius of George W. Bush began to fall to rags and tatters and the public got a good, long look at the monster that had been lurking behind the mask, it became irrefutably clear that the stupid, crazy Libtards which Conservative pundits had been so cheerfully slandering had actually been right about the Right all along.

All of which was very bad news for Mr. Brooks.

Hired by the The New York Times in 2003 when Hate Radio, Fox News and the Bush Administration bestrode the political universe like a colossus, we now catch up with Mr. Brooks in 2006 as the Bush Administration is in a state of full collapse, Hate Radio and Fox News in full denial, and the air is thick with powerful sense that a cosmic comeuppance was just around the corner for the entire Republican Party and all of its media enablers, apologists and propagandists.

And so, being a practical careerist, Mr. Brooks began shopping for a Democrat who would offer Republicans like Mr. Brooks a cushy truce under the most favorable terms possible.  A Democrat who spoke passionately about an America which did not exist -- who could squint his eyes hard at a bitterly divided Red and Blue states and passionately declare all he saw was a united, purple nation.  An America where everyone agreed that Republicans like Mr. Brooks shouldn't be held accountable for any of the horrid shit they had said and done.  An America eager to put a wretched and ruinous past behind them and get on with the binding up of our nation's wounds, while -- and this is important --  never mentioning that those wounds had been inflicted on the nation, on purpose, by Republicans.

And so, in October of 2006...
Run, Barack, Run

David Brooks OCT. 19, 2006

Springfield, Illinois

Barack Obama should run for president.
Of course, then-Senator Obama had many fine qualities to recommend him.  And the keen observer will probably notice that Obama's political profile in 2006 bears a strong resemblance to Mayor Pete's profile in 2019.   Obama was also an improbable Democrat who didn't have much of a record outside of his home state.  He also had a funny name.  And a formidable intellect.  He also came from the Midwest and had worked at the grassroots of his community, but also packed a Harvard pedigree and had written a best-selling biography.

But for Mr. David Brooks, Barack Obama's most important virtue was that, of all the candidates in the field, Obama seemed most likely to let Republican swine like Mr. David Brooks off the hook.

For example, Mr. Brooks saw Obama's youth and relative inexperience as positive attributes because something something less inclined to judge people:
Second, he should run because of his age. Obama’s inexperience is his most obvious shortcoming. Over the next four years, the world could face a genocidal civil war in Iraq, a wave of nuclear proliferation, more Islamic extremism and a demagogues’ revolt against globalization. Do we really want a forty-something in the White House?

And yet in his new book, “The Audacity of Hope,” Obama makes a strong counterargument. He notes that it’s time to move beyond the political style of the baby boom generation. This is a style, he said in an interview late Tuesday, that is highly moralistic and personal, dividing people between who is good and who is bad.

Obama himself has a mentality formed by globalization, not the S.D.S...
Mr. Brooks' was optimistic that Obama wouldn't get all angry n' Liberal 'n shit, because you know how much the Beltway aristocracy hates that:
The third reason Obama should run for president is his worldview. At least in the way he conceptualizes the world, he is not an orthodox liberal. In the book, he harks back to a Hamiltonian tradition that calls not for big government, but for limited yet energetic government to enhance social mobility. The contemporary guru he cites most is Warren Buffett.
But most of all. Mr. Brooks' was thrilled that Obama was already a member in good standing of Mr. Brooks' own home church -- the High and Holy Church of Both Sides Do It:
[Obama] has a compulsive tendency to see both sides of any issue. Joe Klein of Time counted 50 instances of extremely judicious on-the-one-hand-on the-other-hand formulations in the book. He seems like the guy who spends his first 15 minutes at a restaurant debating the relative merits of fish versus meat.

And yet this style is surely the antidote to the politics of the past several years. It is surely true that a president who brings a deliberative style to the White House will multiply his knowledge, not divide it.
But that was then and this is now.  And now, for those of us who dare to learn from the past instead of hide from it, we have 13 years of history through which we can clearly track what actually happened once Barack Obama was elected, sworn in, and chose to spend much of his first term trying to court the good opinion of goofs like Mr. David Brooks.

We know, as a matter of historical fact, that even as President Obama was trying to be Mr. Purple American by wining and dining the Beltway Conservative elites (from HuffPo, February 2009) --
Obama And Conservatives Break Bread At George Will’s House 

Barack Obama took the next big step in his Republican charm offensive on Tuesday night, when he dined with several of the nation’s most prominent conservative pundits.

The president-elect arrived at the Chevy Chase, Md., home of syndicated columnist George Will  shortly after 6:30 p.m., according to a press pool report. Greeting him at the residence were other luminaries of the conservative commentariat, including the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol, New York Times columnist David Brooks, and Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post...
-- the leaders of the Republican Party had already met in secret and set in motion a plan to destroy his presidency by unified, lockstep obstruction. Via Thom Hartmann:
On January 20, 2009, the night when the Obama's were attending inaugural balls and most Americans were out celebrating the end of the Bush years, a group of powerful Republicans was planning the end of Obama presidency before it even got going.

At the Caucus Room restaurant right here in Washington, DC - GOP leaders drew up a plan to intentionally sabotage Obama at every point possible. The whole thing was orchestrated by Republican propaganda mastermind Frank Luntz and over the course of four hours, a group of the most powerful conservative lawmakers in the country committed to a plan of action.

They promised each other that they would filibuster and obstruct any and all legislation supported by the new President, Barack Obama. They would do everything possible, for as long as it took, to make his a "failed presidency." On the guest list for this “invitation only” meeting were Republican Senators like Jim DeMint, Jon Kyl, Tom Coburn, John Ensign and Bob Corker. Also in attendance were Congressmen Paul Ryan, Pete Sessions, Jeb Hensarling, Pete Hoekstra, Dan Lungren and - you guessed it - Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy...
We know, as a matter of historical fact, that the Republican's plan of continuous, all-out sabotage, obstruction and slander worked exactly as designed, pitting President Obama -- who was willing to compromise to a fault -- against a united, Republican party that told him to go pound sand every time he offered them an olive branch.

We also know, as a matter of historical fact, that when Mr. Brooks was confronted with the reality of his party's relentless and asymmetrical war on President Obama, he dealt with it by just fucking lying about it (from New York Magazine):

David Brooks and the Intellectual Collapse of the Center
By Jonathan Chait

...
But Brooks spent the last eight years defining the center as something Obama was not. It didn’t matter that Obama supported a health-care plan first devised by Mitt Romney, or a cap-and-trade plan endorsed by John McCain. Brooks nestled himself into the territory between Obama and the angry, no-compromise Republicans who were shutting down government and boycotting all negotiations with the president. If Obama endorsed the policies Brooks preferred, he would simply pretend that Obama had not proposed them. Indeed, one of the most common genres of David Brooks column was a sad lament that neither party would endorse policies that in fact Obama had explicitly and publicly called for.

If Obama offered a deal to raise taxes through tax reform while reducing entitlements, Brooks would write a sad column about how nobody was willing to raise taxes through tax reform while reducing entitlements. If Obama favored education reform, an infrastructure bank, and more high-skill immigration, Brooks would write a sad column about how nobody favored those things. When Obama supported market-oriented health-care reform, Brooks opposed it as an extravagant government takeover. Then later he wrote a sad column about how “we’d have had a very different debate if we knew the law was going to be a discrete government effort to subsidize health care for more poor people” rather than “an extravagant government grab to take over the nation’s health-care system.”

The effect of all this commentary was not to empower the moderate ideas Brooks favored, but to disempower them. Brooks was emblematic of the way the entire bipartisan centrist industry conducted itself throughout the Obama years. It was neither possible for Obama to co-opt the center, nor for Republicans to abandon it, because official centrists would simply relocate themselves to the midpoint of wherever the parties happened to stand...
As we also know, as a matter of historical fact, that once Barack Obama finally got it through his head that the Republican party would never, ever stop trying to nuke his presidency and began to fight back hard, Mr. David Brooks became, in a word, "hysterical".

Mr. Brooks tearfully declared himself  to be "a sap" 
Yes, I’m a sap. I believed Obama when he said he wanted to move beyond the stale ideological debates that have paralyzed this country. I always believe that Obama is on the verge of breaking out of the conventional categories and embracing one of the many bipartisan reform packages that are floating around.

...
So the White House has moved away from the Reasonable Man approach or the centrist Clinton approach.

It has gone back, as an appreciative Ezra Klein of The Washington Post conceded, to politics as usual. The president is sounding like the Al Gore for President campaign, but without the earth tones. Tax increases for the rich! Protect entitlements! People versus the powerful!
...
-- because he wanted President Obama to stay in Centrist Neverland, playing Very Serious Moderate Pirate games with him and Tinkerbell --
The president’s goal in 2012, I suggested, would be to try to paint himself as the moderate bipartisan grownup, and dismiss the Republicans as extreme, intransigent, and hyper-ideological.

Based on the actual details of the deficit plan that the administration just released, though, I would like to retract that analysis. Between the size, scope and design of the tax increases and the skimpiness of the entitlement reforms (nothing on Social Security, minimal tinkering on Medicare), it seems that the president will be running for re-election as Nancy Pelosi instead.
...
-- and all the other bloated, corrupt and inexplicably still-employed --
Barack Obama is careening down the wrong path towards re-election.
He should be working as a president, not a candidate.
He should be claiming the vital center, not abandoning it.
He should be holding down taxes rather than raising them.
 -- Lost Boys, forever and ever.

And now we find ourselves in the present day.  In 2019.  But --  if I may be pardoned for cruelly abusing Eugene O'Neill -- for Mr. David Brooks, "there is no present or future, only the past, happening over and over again, now."

Because from his 2014 declaration that his Republican party had "left the Sarah Palin phase" and "detoxified their brand" to his repeated insistence in 2016 that Marco Rubio would definitely be the Republican nominee for president, we we once again find Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times perched precariously atop a powder keg of his own ignominious opinions.

And once again, a presidential election is upon us.

Once again, it seems possible that a brutal, cosmic comeuppance for the entire Republican Party and all of its media enablers, apologists and propagandists might be hoving into view.

Once again, the Republican Party seems positively hell-bent on committing ritual public suicide.

Once again, the Democratic party smells blood and sees a real opening for real change.

And so, once again, David Brooks has begun shopping for the Democratic candidate mostly likely to go easy on David Brooks.

A candidate whose youth and relative inexperience Mr. Brooks sees positive attributes because something something less inclined to judge people:
First, [Buttigieg] is young and represents the rising generation, but he is also an older person’s idea of what a young person should be. He’d be the first millennial president, but Buttigieg doesn’t fit any of the stereotypes that have been affixed to America’s young people.

Young people are supposed to be woke social justice warriors who are disgusted by their elders. Buttigieg is the model young man who made his way impressing his elders — Harvard, Rhodes scholar, McKinsey, the Navy.
...

Young people are supposed to be anti-institutional, but Buttigieg is very institutional — his life has been defined by his service to organizations, not his rebellion against them.
A candidate who wouldn't get all angry 'n Liberal 'n shit, because you know how much the Beltway aristocracy hates that:
The Trump era has been all about dissolving moral norms and waging vicious attacks. This has been an era of culture war, class warfare and identity politics. It’s been an era in which call-out culture, reality TV melodrama and tribal grandstanding have overshadowed policymaking and the challenges of actually governing.
The Buttigieg surge suggests that there are a lot of Democrats who want to say goodbye to all that. They don’t want to fight fire and divisiveness with more fire and divisiveness. They don’t want to fight white identity politics with another kind of identity politics...
Finally, [Buttigieg is] a progressive on policy issues, but he doesn’t sound like an angry revolutionary.
But most of all, Mr. Brooks is looking for a candidate who would not make the pastors, deacons and cardinals of his High and Holy Church of Both Sides Do It uncomfortable.
Buttigieg’s secret is that he transcends many of the tensions that run through our society in a way that makes people on all sides feel comfortable.
So enjoy your New York Times column, Mayor Pete.  You seem like a very decent man, with a great story to tell, and if you wind up being the nominee of the my party in 2020, you will have my unstinting support.

But please keep in mind that sooner or later, every candidate for the nomination of Democratic party is going to have to answer some very pointed questions about how they plan deal with the racist, bugfuck-crazy GOP.

Please keep in mind that no one outside of the Beltway media bubble believes that trying to deal with the with the racist, bugfuck-crazy GOP. by running the hands-across-the-aisle, Purple Murrica, Obama Experiment a second time would be anything other than an unmitigated disaster.

And please beware of Brooks bearing gifts.

Because Mr. Brooks didn't write this column to burnish your reputation.

He wrote it to use your reputation to burnish his.


Behold, A Tip Jar

4 comments:

ziply said...

A mighty swing and DG hits it clean out of the park! Fourteen years and you still got the juice 😸

Lawrence said...

I became quite skeptical of Mayor Pete after reading the Nathan J Robinson piece https://www.currentaffairs.org/2019/03/all-about-pete .

But this endorsement from DFB really raises the alarm. I'm team Senator Professor Elizabeth Warren, as I was last round. Except she wasn't running.

Meremark said...

You tickle my dickens no end that you sit there in the cornfields barely a one-man team but with the Liberal Superpower able to remember and WELL WRITE that David Fucking brooks has always been wrong and sickening slime on the NYT reputation. And BROOKS HAS HIS NOSE RUBBED IN IT from your legion of peeps sending copies at his boss to make sure brooks flinches.

Reminds me of the time one-man with a fax fight stopped Rash Lamebrain in his tracks, full stop in his busy broadcast day, saying, "wah wah, you know who you are: stop it. Stop slandering me. Gawd dam some people. Leave me alone. If you don't like it change the channel and leave me alone. wah wah."

And I can speak here straight to brooks:
FOOL. Give it up. You are too stupid for Schulberg. whatever. Ya burnt.

San Francisco Values said...

Brilliant. FYI, today Vox riffed on your Bobo coolant concept. "Tucker Carlson isn't a populist, he's a safety valve..." 7:20 of the video. https://youtu.be/RNineSEoxjQ

No Labels: Everything Old and Horrible is New and Horrible Again

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