Friday, December 03, 2021

Conservatives in Disarray: David Brooks vs David Brooks

Since the First Principle of every Conservative is (as Digby once noted) "Conservatism cannot fail.  Conservatism can only be failed." it is very instructive to watch the ways in which Conservatives have equivocated, recoded their vocabulary and often simply obliterated their past in order to continue to insist that Conservatism is valid and true even as it has very publicly lunged and lurched from one catastrophe to the next.

The moment of maximum Conservative arrogance swiftly followed by a dizzying free-fall into disaster and humiliation came during Dubya Bush's second term.  The period after Satan took the GOP to a very high mountain and showed them all the kingdoms of the world and their glory and a vision of a permanent Republican majority and said, “All this I will give you if you will fall down and worship me.”

And, as I'm sure you remember, the GOP said with one, loud voice, "Oh fuck yeah!  Where do I sign?"

And after the most vicious, despicable, political campaigns in modern history, Dick Cheney and his halfwit, drunk-drunk dauphin won.  And for a brief time it looked like all those kingdoms and glories and political majorities would be theirs.  

This was the period during which a lot of us activists started blogging -- when it became crystal clear that no one was going to save us but us and that there would never be any place for voices like ours in the national media.  

That was also the period during which, after they made sure the coast was clear,  respectable, polysyllabic, Conservative pundits felt free to let their inner Limbaughs out and compete to reach Peak Asshole Hubris.  When, from The Weekly Standard to The New York Times, there was no national problem that was not routinely blamed on the Birkenstock-shod foot of the America-hating, terrorist-loving Liberal Left standing on the necks of Real Americans.  

Which brings us around to the consistently wrong Mr. David  Brooks of The New York Times.  And of PBS.  And of NPR.  And now of The Atlantic.  Back in 2005, just before for complete collapse of the Bush administration (George Bush's Excellent Iraqi Adventure had not ended by Christmas of 2003 and Hurricane Katrina was just around the corner) when every day was Hippie Punching Day, Mr. Brooks decided that what American politics most desperately needed was to hear his savvy Conservative opinions about Roe vs Wade.  Here are a few snips from that column which -- hey, guess what! -- your humble scrivener was writing about all the way back then ("BoBo pleads for “compromise”.  Again.")

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.

This was me:

No you tube worm – the Senate is threatened by your party. By your extremists. By your lunatics. Every Party has its nutjobs, Brooksie, but not every Party hands them the keys to the vehicle and then points a webbed finger at the Other Party and shouts “J'Accuse!” you truckling little pecksniff. 

Brooks again...arguing 16 years ago for exactly what the Kavanaugh Kangaroo Kourt is on the verge of doing now:

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.

Me again:

“The centrist majority?” Just like slavery was settled amicably by the Missouri Compromises II, III and IV? Or was the Jim Crow Apartheid that rotted away in the Red States for a hundred years after the Civil War whisked away by a “series of state-by-state compromises” and I just didn’t notice? Segregation? The ban on interracial marriage? And the ban on teaching Evolution? Transpose any other basic civil rights issue onto the template BoBo proposes as the reasonable alternative to Kwazy Judicial Activism and the texture and density of the shit that he is packed with jumps right out at you.

Brooks again:

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.

Me again:

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 Sugar Glider should have its own column. 

Brooks again (emphasis added):

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. 

Me again, with emphasis as it was in the original post because I'm like that:

“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?...

 As is my habit, I went on in this manner for some time, but suffice it to say that Brooks had rolled out a laundry list of every Liberal bogeyman who lurked under every Conservative bed.  Democrats were gonna destroy the norms of civilized governance.  Democrats threatened to wreck the Holy Hand-Grenade of Antioch filibuster, after which the Left would roll uncontested across the rights of the Noble Small Gummit minority and usher in an era of Democratic Big Gummint Tyranny.


Then the Bush Administration collapsed, and all of the Right's lethal lies, incompetence, cruelty, corruption and monstrous crimes against humanity came spilling out into the open.  A few, daring people even began to notice that the party of Deficits are History's Greatest Evil had racked up even bigger deficits that the last Republican administration.  Then the economy crashed.  And virtually overnight. all of those respectable, polysyllabic, Party of Personal Responsibility pundits began scrambling for a way to dodge any personal responsibility for any of it.

This took two forms.

The first was latching onto the ridiculous, perennial No True Conserative lie with both hands.  This is fully in keeping with aforementioned First Principle of Conservatism.  That Conservatism cannot fail.  Conservatism can only be failed.  Sure this shit is bad, but it's only bad because the perpetrators were never True Conservatives.

La la la la.

The second and by far the most indestructible lie was the Big Lie of Both Siderism.   Sure this shit is bad, but it's only bad because the perpetrators were never True Conservatives and anyway, some imaginary Liberal somewhere is probably doing something just as bad.  Probably worse!  So there's really no pressing need for Conservatism to perform a searching moral inventory because however poorly we may or ay not have performed in any particular instance, overall there is no doubt whatsoever about the moral, political, ideological and economic superiority of the Right.


And as I have documented on this blog ad nauseum over the the last +16 years, there is no Beltway pundit who has leaned harder or more interminable on the Both Do It lie than David Brooks.  Pick the issue, pick the year and you'll find Brooks up in his cloistered tower, far away from the lives of actual humans,  inventing an imaginary Reasonable Center between some actual Republican atrocity and some imaginary Liberal at the opposite extreme.  And nothing so perfectly displays Brooks transformation from a Weekly Standard Conservative scourge of the fictional hippies who are ruining Murrica...

to the New York Times' Reasonable Conservative staking out the True Conservative position between the real Extreme on the Right said and an Imaginary Extreme on the Left.

From Brooks today:

Abortion: The Voice of the Ambivalent Majority

If you want to know why our politics are so awful, check out our public debates about abortion in the past 72 hours...

Our politics are awful because of the GOP.  Period.  But please go on...

But as our politics have grown coarser and more combative...

Our politics have grown coarser and more combative because Republicans are monsters. Period.  But please continue...

...a lot of conservatives aren’t even acknowledging the 

 And here we go.  One.  Paragraph. Later...

A lot of the progressive commentary, on the other hand, won’t recognize...

And I'm done.  All done.  Because I absolutely know where Brooks is going.  Because it's where Brooks has gone every week for the past 15 years.  

Especially now, in the post-Trump degradation of public life, politicos, propagandists and activists on this issue elide the hard and complex issues in order to powerfully advocate their side...

Mr. Brooks continues.

For a professional pundit, I’ve written remarkably little on abortion...

Shoulda kept your fucking record intact bucko. 

Mr. Brooks continues.

When I was about 19 a friend came home from college...

Don't care.  Whether you ended up in an abortion clinic or a fancy sammich shop that freaked your friend out, I don't care.

I used to support overturning Roe because...

We know why you supported it.  We have your original column right here.  Because overturning Roe was True Conservative dogma back in the good old days before everything turned to shit.  Because America was being ruined by the Birkenstock-shod foot of the America-hating, terrorist-loving Liberal Left standing on the yadda yadda yadda: 

...because I thought it would be healthy to get the abortion issue out of the courts and back to state legislatures. I used to think that most states would wind up where the nation’s center of gravity is — with restrictions but not bans.

That is not how I remember it.  Or how you wrote it.  At all.

But we’re now trying to deal with a miserably complex issue in a brutalized political culture...

Also, would anyone care to guess which political party has spent decades methodically going about the business of creating the "brutalized political culture' of which Mr. Brooks speaks?

Anyone?  Anyone at all?

And finally:

Majorities don’t rule in this country; polarized minorities do. 

The broad-based coalition of 81,268,924 American voters who elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris very strongly disagree with you, but by all means, don't let that inconvenient fact get in the way of squeezing out yet another Both Siderist turd into the good, gray pages of The New York Times.

Burn The Lifeboats


Unknown said...

So David Brooks vividly remembers the emotional anguish his "friend" experienced after choosing abortion. Did he give any thought to the anguish she might have suffered had she chosen otherwise? How many days of the rest of her pregnancy would have been filled with anguish? How about the anguish of labor and childbirth? Would she have been filled with anguish over signing adoption papers and wondering every day what happened to the child? If she kept it, how many days would be filled with anguish over providing financial and emotional support for the child?
Most importantly, does he really thing that her anguish could be avoided or even ameliorated if SHE HAD NO CHOICE AT ALL?
Let's see, I'm sure both Mr Brooks and his first wife suffered moral and emotional anguish when a decision was made (by whom?) to divorce. Would it have been better for everyone if the state had simply prohibited that choice?

dinthebeast said...

"But we’re now trying to deal with a miserably complex issue in a brutalized political culture.."

Oh horse shit David. The first mention of abortion in the literature was in 1550 BC and nobody really gave a rat's ass about it until the American right decided to turn it into a wedge issue to scare morons into voting for them.
"They're killing babies!"
No, David, they're not. But you know who is killing them, and the women who bear them? The goddamn Republicans who refused the Medicaid expansion and helped drive the maternal mortality rate in red states up into the third world zone.
But there I go remembering stuff again...

-Doug in Sugar Pine

bill said...

Whatever you do, don't read his Atlantic "praise and adoration" of his visit to Con-con in Florida. His memory hole is efficient. "We are BACK Baby!!"

Jake formerly of the LP said...

"I thought most states would end up at the center of gravity....." You did, Bobo? The states aren't the center of anything except for even more extremity due to extreme gerrymandering and a number of tiny constituencies getting more representation than they deserve.

But if you've never paid attention to anything west of the Acela Corridor, I could see where you might say something that naive. But why you'd get a minute of air time as a "national thinker" is beyond me.

Robt said...

Forgive my incense but by many former right wing SCOTUS decisions. As gutting the Civil Rights Act after Congress had reassured their legislative authority to commit to it .

The RIGHT of the court decided it was up to them to step in and do what senate republicans would not do but what the GOP SCOTUS believed they wanted to do.

With this Miss. Roe case the Same right wing court is now telling us, it should not be the courts involvement. After it obviously was and has been the courts involvement that decided the Ore V Wade and then reaffirmed in later in another case.

So why should the SCOTUS involve itself in the case of NT and a right t for everyone to carry guns everywhere?

The right wing court is now trying to stand on it is not the SCOTUS place to rule on the first Amendment it is now up to the states to rule and interpret the constitution as each state see fit?
Like the Texas law that freaks them out because it can be used for Guns rights. They will strike it down. But if it is up to states to rule on constitutional rights. We do not require a SCOTUS at all. Because the states can interpret the 2nd Amendment as the states see fit.
having the right wo choose in certain states and not in others just makes America different countries.

Thanks Federalist Society, Republican's, Trump and all the MAGA voting brainless.
Got to love the brilliant legal mind of the Justice Barret who states a question (does not ask it ), She answered her own question.
That women can give their babies up for adoption or drop the baby off in a state government drive through. So the government takes ownership of the babies is a bizarre mind that does not come near legal brilliance.

But I am Sure David will Brooks-spalin it all.
Thing is, I would never seek any advice on anything from Brooks. Nor, would I trust legal advice from the republican hack made SCOTUS justice, Barrett.

In the mean time, Sen Manchin and the one from Arizona continue to represent their wallet and purse for their bright futures ahead.

Jason said...

I enjoy your DFB take downs. I've been on twitter and have read a few of DFB's posts there. Having only 280 characters definitely makes him an easier read. It's over before the nausea gets too much. I know he doesn't respond or read the reactions to his tweets but they're way more interesting than his content but what's sad about the reactions are how many of them come from people who clearly admire him. They write tofu flavored praise about how genial, clear headed and reasonable his takes are and how much better we'd all be if we just listened to his sage advice. It's truly dispiriting and disgusting.

Anonymous said...

As seen in the Tom the Dancing Bug email today:

Prophesyin' For Dummies

Step One: Clearly understand who Republicans are and how they function From me in March of 2005 : And page-by-page it f...