Friday, April 23, 2010

David Brooks Wonders What Went Wrong [UPDATED]

Check out David Brooks' latest attempt at responsibility avoidance with this rich piece of Op/Ed mendacity:
... The center has been losing political power pretty much my entire career. But I confess that about 16 months ago I had some hope of a revival. The culture war, which had bitterly divided the country for decades, was winding down. The war war — the fight over Iraq and national security — was also waning.

The country had just elected a man who vowed to move past the old polarities, who valued discussion and who clearly had some sympathy with both the Burkean and Hamiltonian impulses. He staffed his administration with brilliant pragmatists whose views overlapped with mine, who differed only in that they have more faith in technocratic planning.

Yet things have not worked out for those of us in the broad middle. Politics is more polarized than ever. The two parties have drifted further to the extremes. The center is drained and depressed.

What happened?

History happened. The administration came into power at a time of economic crisis. This led it, in the first bloom of self-confidence, to attempt many big projects all at once. Each of these projects may have been defensible in isolation, but in combination they created the impression of a federal onslaught...
Yeah, that's it - "History happened". What a bilious load of vomitous nonsense and absolute crap!

How about this for a REAL explanation, Mr. Pantcrease Admirer:

All the "post-partisan" posing was a lie. You KNEW it was a lie, but WANTED to believe the lie, so you CHOSE to believe it. You then aided and abetted the lie by writing glowingly of the "moderate" credentials of a man who had NEVER exhibited one iota of political centrism in his entire (albeit short and unremarkable) political career, all the while trashing the REAL centrist in the race who, ironically, you had up until then spent the previous 8 years heralding, fellating, and otherwise trying to foist upon the rest of us.

Meanwhile, all us yokels out here in Jesusland saw right through the lie and chose NOT to believe it. For that, you belittled us, called us a "cancer", questioned our intelligence and intellectual curiosity, and treated us as generally inferior to your more sophisticated and urbane sensibilities. Maybe the "uneducated class" is a whole lot smarter and more politically astute than the coastal elites in the "educated class" give us credit for. At the very least, it appears that the riff-raff are a whole helluva lot smarter than you are.

For a more measured response to Brooks' feigned befuddlement, read Jennifer Rubin's piece at Commentary:
History happened? Oh, let’s see if we can’t be more precise than that. “As government grew [by itself? did someone grow it?], the antigovernment right mobilized. This produced the Tea Party Movement — a characteristically raw but authentically American revolt led by members of the yeoman enterprising class.” History happened and government grew. (Like magic!) And now Brooks is disappointed.

Brooks writes that the Democratic party did this and that, that opposition grew, and that we wound up in the big- vs. little-government debate. What’s missing from this autopilot version of politics? Hmm … could it be Obama, the moderate fellow, who did the government-growing?

I have a rule of thumb: when a writer, especially a good one, excessively uses evasive or convoluted rhetoric, he is hiding something. Let’s try this: Obama, a very liberal politician, was smart enough to know he couldn’t win the presidency as a hard leftist. He posed as a moderate. New York Times columnists sung his praises. Pundits assured us that he was beyond ideology, a sort of philosopher-king with very neat pants. He got into office. He governed from the far Left. The president signed bill after bill, spending money we didn’t have and running up the debt. Obama insisted on a mammoth health-care bill the country hated. He egged Congress on to pass it. Meanwhile, the country recoiled. They hired a moderate on advice of pundits and media mavens and got a far-Left liberal, a ton of debt, an expanded federal government, and a slew of new taxes.

How’s that?

The bottom line: history doesn’t just “happen.” Presidents make choices. Pundits make miscalculations. Voters exact revenge. It’s not that complicated — if you are honest about who did what to whom.
So, David, when ARE you going to just come right out and admit that YOU were wrong all along?

Hat tip to the Cranky Con who links to this "blistering and brilliant takedown of Brooks" at Ace of Spades:
... Brooks begins by explaining that he views himself philosophically as some fusion of Burke and Hamilton, which to Brooks means being skeptical of government planning but okay with energetic and intrusive government sometimes. In a world full of extremists, Brooks says this places him squarely in the center of American political thought. How convenient for him.


Of course they were wonderful. Did they not invite him to dinner with the soon to be President to be? Didn’t these top notch chaps consult with him on all sorts of important matters? Why of course they were a swell bunch.


Books is a living example of this George Carlin quip.
Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?
It's a conceit shared by a lot of narcissistic (not in the clinical sense) commentators. They are so enraptured by their own brilliance they think they are the lodestar of American political life. People like Brooks simply presume their personal list of likes and dislikes is a coherent philosophy everyone can objectively agree with.

When people (especially people who aren't members of the educated class) disagree, it's not because they have a personal philosophy and policy preferences that just happened to differ from Brooks'. No those people are trafficking in crass political fighting and if only they could be made to see the truth about these things (which coincidentally happens to be exactly what Brooks thinks), well then, all would be right with the world.

Sorry David but you are not the Alpha and Omega of wisdom. There are people out in the rest of the country who have an honest difference of opinion with you and your self proclaimed truths. We will argue and advocate for them. Sometimes it will be loud and there might even be a bad word mixed in. That's not a bug but rather a feature of the system. Deal with it.


Here's the thing, I'm sick of self proclaimed experts whitewashing their errors in judgment away as if no one could have seen this coming and therefore don't hold them responsible, hold everyone to blame.

No. We, the great unwashed who don't always wear pants, let alone immaculately creased ones, knew it and said so. Don't tell me that a highly paid NY Times Op-ed guy is so much smarter than internet idiots when he was so obviously and provably WRONG on a rather major topic.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
"Educated Class" Waking Up to Fact That Us "Yokels" Were Right All Along

Noemie Emery on David Brooks and the "Educated Class"

Michael Barone on David Brooks and the "Educated Class"

Brooksback Mountain

Today's Must-Read: "Palinphobes and the Audacity of Type"

A Conservative Manifesto

Another Elitist "Conservative" Likes the Cut of Obama's Jib

The Liberal Media's Elitist Conservative Rats Leave the Sinking Ship

Victor Davis Hanson: "What is Wisdom?"

Let's Get One Thing Straight ...

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At 4/23/2010 1:10 PM, Blogger Paul Zummo said...

Drew M. at Ace of Spades also has a blistering and brilliant takedown of Brooks here.

At 4/24/2010 6:04 PM, Blogger Donald R. McClarey said...

Brooks is the type of oblivious fool who gives oblivious fools a bad name. As for the rest of us, we are shocked, shocked that Obama is a left-wing ideologue.

At 4/26/2010 6:20 PM, Blogger 逸凡逸凡 said...

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