Tag: David Brooks

Can the circle-jerk be unbroken?

Dear God in Heaven and Yale University.

This former atheist (technically agnostic!) bows down to the Majesty of God.  Nay, I prostrate myself before His Almighty and Cruel Mockery, His Infinite Jest and Maligning of Humans, and beg His Tender Mercy:


Thou hast punkst and fuckst with me in such a way as to make Job hurl lunch.  Relieve me from the awful rowing toward Your Presence.  The starch-shirted graybeards in the Humanities program at my state college are relentlessly blown about limbo and boiling in pitch, now wondering if my riposte to Bishop Berkeley, extrapolating to the idea of perfection, was correct.  They now have their answer: I began with Mel Brooks, and imagined God, Himself, The Indisputable Master of Stand-Up.   Not only does God play dice with the universe, he is in reality Joseph Heller.

If you are going to hire David Brooks to pontificate on humility and modesty, then you must blow up another village in Afghanistan, which makes more sense, because then at least you have the goal of world domination.  

America: “Life is no longer worth living with David Brooks.”

Today, in a sad, yet courageous affirmation of “life worth living,” America announced that it no longer wished to extend its marginal existence under the cursed journalistic blight of David Brooks, whose most recent unspeakable transgression against human decency, a remorseless and uncontrollable intrusion of his recurring parricidal fantasies masquerading as ethical pragmatism, manifested itself as a sudden and conspicuous discoloration and wilting of America’s pestered soul.

The country is broke because of health care, Brooks asserts.  

The fiscal crisis is driven largely by health care costs.

He baldly states this whopper without making so much as a pipsqueaking reference to multiple stupid and endless wars of aggression, decades of historically incomprehensible tax cuts for the wealthy, and pathologically self-defeating bailouts for the prodigal malefactors of imaginary wealth on Wall Street.  Nor does he even manage to mention the ungodly profits driving health care costs through the roof, to the point where we have worse health care at twice the cost compared to other industrialized nations.

The real problem, according to our maggot-brained buffoon and his editors at the NYT, is our old, selfish and sickly geezers on life support who are stealing money, freedom, and opportunity from the young.  The old should demand to die, “to confront death and their obligations to the living,” the self-enclosed, life-impersonating skin-bag actually opined in one of America’s top dying newspapers.

None of These People Are “Normal”

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

There are no more “normal” people in charge of government these days, nor are any of them reasonable:

Paul Krugman Not A normal Party:

But I’m unreliable and shrill, of course – you weren’t supposed to realize that the GOP had gone off the deep end that early in the game.

David Brooks: The Mother of All No-Brainers

If the Republican Party were a normal party, it would take advantage of this amazing moment. It is being offered the deal of the century: trillions of dollars in spending cuts in exchange for a few hundred million dollars of revenue increases.

A normal Republican Party would seize the opportunity to put a long-term limit on the growth of government. It would seize the opportunity to put the country on a sound fiscal footing. It would seize the opportunity to do these things without putting any real crimp in economic growth.

The party is not being asked to raise marginal tax rates in a way that might pervert incentives. On the contrary, Republicans are merely being asked to close loopholes and eliminate tax expenditures that are themselves distortionary.

This, as I say, is the mother of all no-brainers.

Richard Cohen: A grand old cult

Someone ought to study the Republican Party. I am not referring to yet another political scientist but to a mental health professional, preferably a specialist in the power of fixations, obsessions and the like. The GOP needs an intervention. It has become a cult.

To become a Republican, one has to take a pledge. It is not enough to support the party or mouth banalities about Ronald Reagan; one has to promise not to give the government another nickel. This is called the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” issued by Americans for Tax Reform, an organization headed by the chirpy Grover Norquist. He once labeled the argument that an estate tax would affect only the very rich “the morality of the Holocaust.” Anyone can see how singling out the filthy rich and the immensely powerful and asking them to ante up is pretty much the same as Auschwitz and that sort of thing.


This intellectual rigidity has produced a GOP presidential field that’s a virtual political Jonestown. The Grand Old Party, so named when it really did evoke America, has so narrowed its base that it has become a political cult. It is a redoubt of certainty over reason and in itself significantly responsible for the government deficit that matters most: leadership. That we can’t borrow from China.

Time in House Could Be Short for Republican Newcomers

It is miles to go before the 2012 Congressional races begin in earnest, but already some of the 87 freshmen who helped the Republicans win back the House last year are bracing for a challenge from within the party. At least half a dozen potential primary challengers to freshmen are considering a run, and there is heated chatter about more.

In some ways, the freshmen are responsible for their own predicament. Many won their seats after successfully challenging establishment Republicans in primaries, proving that a combination of gumption and the right political climate could overcome the advantages of incumbency.

Now, to some of the impatient and ideological voters who sent them to Washington to change things, the new House members may be seen as the establishment, and they face the disconcerting prospect of immediately defending themselves in the political marketplace.

The White House and the Democratic leadership aren’t any better having dropped the ball and allowed a small “cult” of unreasonable people to dictate the game. Obama was suppose to be “the adult in the room” according to his fans. He could have easily had the upper hand in his first two years in office if he had listened to reason about the economy and put his “foot down” like an “adult”. There is little reason to think that the Democrats will listen to “normal” people now

David Brooks charged with battery.

I’m pretty sure David Brooks spends the majority of his time unplugged and lifeless in a mop closet at the NYT.  A couple times a week a custodian shoves some D cells up his ass, which boots Brooks into a quasi life-like artificial intelligence to mechanically crank out a column as the totally fucking inept protocol droid for the Washington elite he is.  I mean, there are mindless blatherers, and there are mindless blatherers.  David Brooks is the latter.  I once read a Brooks column to a potted plant, and it jumped out the window.  Reading his “thoughts” is like being flashed by a middle-aged man who looks a lot like David Brooks.

Writing from the context of complete closeted oblivion, Brooks examines the ontological question of why harmful robots like him exist in a meritocracy, and his lack of self-awareness explodes in a bifurcation of chaos.  This bionic op-ed appliance has so many design flaws you can hear the components popping and snapping and sizzling before he attempts to rub the first two wires together.

One of the great achievements of modern times is that we have made society more fair.

Snap, pop, sizzle.  The dude shorts out.  Reflections on being, BZZZT.  I believe the rest of the column resulted from his wrecked parts thrashing and slumping on to the keyboard.

At least his editor ran it through the spell-check before publishing it.

BoBo offers HIS grandparents to ice floes!

David Brooks is a strange animal.  In today’s column, he asks his elders to either forego their pensions due to their heretofore unrecognized elderly capacities, or he’s asking them to go die on an ice floe.   I’m not sure which.

First, I had no idea David Brooks was an ontogeneticist.  The Times must pay him a pretty penny for all of his untold scholarship.  No wonder they are going broke.  As this century’s Piaget of the elderly, Brooks tells us that all previous thinking and research about the elderly is bunk.  Dr. Brooks informs us that instead of being accurately characterized as a general functional decline, old age is positively bursting with juvenile alacrity that finds its greatest happiness in service to the young (and social hermaphroditism?), the “generativity” of which creates its own happiness.  Sweet and comforting narrative, Dr.    

However, there are political “downsides” to elders, namely that the happy-go-lucky, adept old-timers are meanwhile taking money, freedom, and opportunity away from the youngsters, like the agile, alert, and knowing fucking geezers that they are!

The odd thing is that when you turn to political life, we are living in an age of reverse-generativity. Far from serving the young, the old are now taking from them. First, they are taking money. According to Julia Isaacs of the Brookings Institution, the federal government now spends $7 on the elderly for each $1 it spends on children.

Second, they are taking freedom. In 2009, for the first time in American history, every single penny of federal tax revenue went to pay for mandatory spending programs, according to Eugene Steuerle of the Urban Institute. As more money goes to pay off promises made mostly to the old, the young have less control.

Third, they are taking opportunity. For decades, federal spending has hovered around 20 percent of G.D.P. By 2019, it is forecast to be at 25 percent and rising. The higher tax rates implied by that spending will mean less growth and fewer opportunities. Already, pension costs in many states are squeezing education spending.

In the private sphere, in other words, seniors provide wonderful gifts to their grandchildren, loving attention that will linger in young minds, providing support for decades to come. In the public sphere, they take it away.

Old people are truly the fork against humanity: good on one tine, bad, bad, bad on the other.  You think government can help?  Forget it, says Dave.  The old folks should start a spontaneous political movement to make the “unthinkable” “thinkable.”

It now seems clear that the only way the U.S. is going to avoid an economic crisis is if the oldsters take it upon themselves to arise and force change. The young lack the political power. Only the old can lead a generativity revolution – millions of people demanding changes in health care spending and the retirement age to make life better for their grandchildren.

In short, the elderly are okay people, but they are fucking net takers!

David Brooks will be escorting his grandparents out to the ice floe later this afternoon, for ritual, mutually beneficial parracide.  Dave will make a buck, and his elderly kin will feel good knowing they helped.

The Gray Lady

The NYT’s latest Kristol embarrassment

by Glenn Greenwald, Salon

Monday May 19, 2008 12:47 EDT

The NYT should be very proud of itself. Of course, Kristol was hired at the NYT because his dad, Irv, was really good friends with former NYT Executive Editor Abe Rosenthal, whose son, Andy, currently runs the NYT Op-Ed page. Andy and Bill followed in their dad’s footsteps by becoming good friends (and in every other sense), and Andy then hired his friend, Bill (son of his dad’s friend), as the new NYT Op-Ed writer. So this is typically what one gets — and deserves — when driven by nepotistic impulse.

Rosenthal actually claimed when he hired Kristol that he did so to achieve “balance” and to create diversity on the Op-Ed page. Indeed. Last Monday, Kristol’s column compared Americans who don’t want to fight for Israel to Neville Chamberlain appeasers. Then, on Wednesday, Tom Friedman declared a “cold war” whereby Israel and the U.S. fight together (along with Sunni Arab dictators) against Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. Then, on Friday, David Brooks declared Obama suspect when it comes to hating Hezbollah enough, writing that Obama’s statements bear “the whiff of what President Bush described yesterday as appeasement” and that “if Obama believes all this, he’s not just a Jimmy Carter-style liberal. He’s off in Noam Chomskyland.” Obama then had to call Brooks, demonstrate his commitment to hating Hezbollah, and was cleared by Brooks (for now) of the charge of insufficient devotion to fighting Israel’s enemies.

Obama, Brooks, and Lebanon

Today’s New York Times features a column by David Brooks wherein Brooks claims that Obama’s statements about the current violence in Lebanon, “has the whiff of what President Bush described yesterday as appeasement.”  The statement which Brooks feels has that whiff is:

It’s time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus that focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment.

Leaving aside the question as to whether or not that would actually appease Hezbollah in some way (I would contend that Hezbollah is plenty enthusiastic about corrupt patronage systems and unfair distribution of goods and services, merely wishing that they be in charge of the corruption and unfair distribution), let’s focus for a moment on what is actually happening in Lebanon, and what Obama is saying should be done about it by the United States.

Holy Shit – David Brooks makes a good point!

I never thought I’d see the day, but David Brooks just made a point that made me slap my head and wonder why it didn’t occur to me before.  I dunno how he did it.


And Americans are not going to want to see this stopped. When an African-American man is leading a juggernaut to the White House, do you want to be the one to stand up and say No?

I don’t see that many will.  I don’t see how they can.  I thought the story from here was going to be “How will Obama blow it?”  But what I see coming is different, after reading those words.  The good story, and the only one nearly anyone can get away with, is the coronation of an American legend-to-be.  And if that is true, then the Obama campaign we’ve all maligned is actually a work of brilliance.  Because he hasn’t said anything that can really offend anyone.  Who wants to speak out against hope, against unity, against healing divides, much less to do so against a candidate whose very candidacy is a testament to the kind of progress this nation has made?

Indeed, is this displayed in any way better than by the pathetic nature of Paul Krugman’s swipe at Obama in his column today?  (As an aside, I am taking great satisfaction in watching Krugman’s unraveling as a columnist, which is clearly a result of the loss of his dispassionate eye for the truth as an economist which got him the gig in the first place.)  How, after today, can you possibly see anyone truly getting away with going after Barack Obama as “shallow”?  If he is shallow, then the entire American mythos is shallow (which may well be true, but not something anyone in politics can sell).

It is a dirty game, and I have no doubt that Sen. Clinton can play it as well as anyone.  But I’m having a hard time seeing how she can take Obama down.

(With the caveat that while all of this is somewhat interesting, I still don’t believe it particularly matters.)

Herbert Must Reading Today

Bob Herbert provides must reading today, especially for Brad DeLong, Andrew Sullivan, Kevin Drum, Matt Yglesias, Brendan Nyhan, and of course, David Brooks.

Herbert writes:

Andrew would not survive very long. On June 21, one day after his arrival, he and fellow activists Michael Schwerner and James Chaney disappeared. Their bodies wouldn’t be found until August. All had been murdered, shot to death by whites enraged at the very idea of people trying to secure the rights of African-Americans.

The murders were among the most notorious in American history. They constituted Neshoba County’s primary claim to fame when Reagan won the Republican Party’s nomination for president in 1980. The case was still a festering sore at that time. Some of the conspirators were still being protected by the local community. And white supremacy was still the order of the day.

That was the atmosphere and that was the place that Reagan chose as the first stop in his general election campaign. The campaign debuted at the Neshoba County Fair in front of a white and, at times, raucous crowd of perhaps 10,000, chanting: “We want Reagan! We want Reagan!”

Reagan was the first presidential candidate ever to appear at the fair, and he knew exactly what he was doing when he told that crowd, “I believe in states’ rights.”

. . . Reagan may have been blessed with a Hollywood smile and an avuncular delivery, but he was elbow deep in the same old race-baiting Southern strategy of Goldwater and Nixon.

Everybody watching the 1980 campaign knew what Reagan was signaling at the fair. Whites and blacks, Democrats and Republicans — they all knew. The news media knew. The race haters and the people appalled by racial hatred knew. And Reagan knew.

And while I expect nothing better from Brooks, Nyhan and Sullivan, I do expect better from people like Drum and Yglesias. And maybe now DeLong sees some value in Herbert's work.

Wishful thinking would be the kindest way to characterize it

Today Bob Herbert takes his whack at the “Ronald Reagan didn’t use racist tactics” piƱata. He scores a  direct hit:

To see Reagan’s appearance at the Neshoba County Fair in its proper context, it has to be placed between the murders of the civil rights workers that preceded it and the acknowledgment by the Republican strategist Lee Atwater that the use of code words like “states’ rights” in place of blatantly bigoted rhetoric was crucial to the success of the G.O.P.’s Southern strategy. That acknowledgment came in the very first year of the Reagan presidency.

Ronald Reagan was an absolute master at the use of symbolism. It was one of the primary keys to his political success.

The suggestion that the Gipper didn’t know exactly what message he was telegraphing in Neshoba County in 1980 is woefully wrong-headed. Wishful thinking would be the kindest way to characterize it.

Thank you Bob Herbert and Paul Krugman. Shame on you David Brooks.

Paul Krugman: David Brooks is a liar

So we all know that David Brooks is an idiot. We also know that he’s a liar. But it’s unusual to hear about it from “serious” figures in the SCLM. Paul Krugman is actually a serious person–in that his brain hasn’t decomposed into lima bean paste. He’s been in a back-and-forth with the the adjacent liar, Brooks, over the question of whether or not Ronald Reagan used racist campaign tactics. Krugman’s smack down response? It was all just an innocent mistake:

The Despicable David Brooks

Yep. He did. And he says Kevin Drum agrees with him. Oh, Brooks starts by the standard unsourced argument that Ronald Reagan really did not mean to send a message to white Southerners on civil rights when he gave a speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi where defense of “states rights” figured prominently. He calls those of us, including his colleague Bob Herbert, purveyors of a “heinous conspiracy theory.”  But the truth is Brooks has been a pernicious, mendacious apologist for the GOP throughout his career and this is no different.

Brooks provides NO evidence to buttress his claims. Indeed the version he provides buttresses the argument that the Philadelphia speech was in fact an exercise in dogwhistle politics in the Deep South:

Lou Cannon of The Washington Post reported at the time that this schedule reflected a shift in Republican strategy. Some inside the campaign wanted to move away from the Southern strategy used by Nixon, believing there were more votes available in the northern suburbs and among working-class urban voters.

But there was another event going on that week, the Neshoba County Fair, seven miles southwest of Philadelphia. The Neshoba County Fair was a major political rallying spot in Mississippi (Michael Dukakis would campaign there in 1988). Mississippi was a state that Republican strategists hoped to pick up. They’d recently done well in the upper South, but they still lagged in the Deep South, where racial tensions had been strongest. Jimmy Carter had carried Mississippi in 1976 by 14,000 votes.

So the decision was made to go to Neshoba. Exactly who made the decision is unclear. The campaign was famously disorganized, and Cannon reported: “The Reagan campaign’s hand had been forced to some degree by local announcement that he would go to the fair.” Reagan’s pollster Richard Wirthlin urged him not to go, but Reagan angrily countered that once the commitment had been made, he couldn’t back out.

Well, that settles it no? Sheesh. Brooks ACCEPTS that Nixon ran a Southern Strategy, ACCEPTS that the Reagan campaign was looking to make inroads in the Deep South against the Southerner Carter and even accepts that:

You can look back on this history in many ways. It’s callous, at least, to use the phrase “states’ rights” in any context in Philadelphia. Reagan could have done something wonderful if he’d mentioned civil rights at the fair. He didn’t. And it’s obviously true that race played a role in the G.O.P.’s ascent.

So this is the “evidence” that absolves the Reagan campaign? This is what allows a man with a history of mendacity to slur people like his colleague Herbert as “heinous?” Oh and what of the evidence that Brooks ignores? Like this:

Ronald Reagan on the subject of welfare. He cited a Chicago “Welfare Queen” who had ripped off $150,000 from the government, using 80 aliases, 30 addresses, a dozen social security cards, and four fictional dead husbands. The country was outraged; Reagan dutifully promised to roll back welfare; and ever since, the “Welfare Queen” driving her “Welfare Cadillac” has become permanently lodged in American political folklore.

Unfortunately, like most great conservative anecdotes, it wasn't really true. The media searched for this welfare cheat in the hopes of interviewing her, and discovered that she didn't even exist.

As a bit of class warfare, however, it was brilliant. . . .

Except in was not class warfare only. It was mainly RACE warfare.

And this:

Ronald Reagan was key to the South's transition to Republican politics. Goldwater got the ball rolling, but Reagan was at his side from the very beginning. During the 1964 campaign, Reagan gave speeches in support of Goldwater and spoke out for what he called individual rights — read that also as states' rights. Reagan also and portrayed any opposition as support for totalitarianism — read that as communism.

In 1976, Reagan sought the Republican nomination against the incumbent President Gerald Ford. Reagan's campaign was on the ropes until the primaries hit the Southern states, where he won his first key victory in North Carolina. Throughout the South that spring and summer, Reagan portrayed himself as Goldwater's heir while criticizing Ford as a captive of Eastern establishment Republicans fixated on forced integration.

. . . After he defeated President Carter, a native Southerner, Reagan led an administration that seemed to cater to Southerners still angry over the passage of the Civil Rights Act after 16 years. The Reagan team condemned busing for school integration, opposed affirmative action and even threatened to veto a proposed extension of the Voting Rights Act (the sequel to the 1964 Civil Rights Act passed a year later and focused on election participation). President Reagan also tried to allow Bob Jones University, a segregated Southern school, to reclaim federal tax credits that had long been denied to racially discriminatory institutions.

Of course this is just a sample of what Reagan said and did on race issues throughout his political career. But Brooks would have it that the Phildelphia, Mississippi speech was NOT intended to be consistent with Reagan's entire political history. It was just an accidental bit of “callousness.”

David Brooks has been a mendacious and despicable charcter in our political discourse for many years now. But this column today sinks him to a new low.