Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Fisking David Brooks

The New York Times conservative columnist David Brooks, writes a column bemoaning the rise of conservatives in the Republican party.  (Yeah, I know, putting the word "conservative" in conjunction with The New York Times is an oxymoron, but work with me here.)  Coming from the New York Times, it's unremarkable, but it deserves wider condemnation that it will find if limited to regular readers of The Grey Lady.  The entire piece is memorable in its error, but let's begin with the first paragraph, shall we?  Mr. Brooks writes:
The House Republican caucus is close to ungovernable these days. How did this situation come about?
By design, Mr Brooks.  The House of Representatives is designed as The People's house.  It represents American citizens.  Guys like George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison designed it that way,  It's supposed to be nearly ungovernable, to reflect the mood and temper of the American people.  I'm surprised that you, as a "conservative", don't recognize that fact.

He goes further, in the second paragraph, with a condemnation of conservatives.
 Republicans came to see themselves as insurgents and revolutionaries, and every revolution tends toward anarchy and ends up devouring its own.
Not every revolution , Mr Brooks, and a conservative knows this.  The revolution that brought us about didn't end in anarchy, nor did it devour its own.  What it did do, and I'm quoting another great American, is to "bring forth a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."  Revolutions need not end in anarchy, Mr. Brooks, and conservatives know this.  It's interesting that you would pen such a sentence.

Mr. Brooks is outraged.  He goes further:
Among people too ill educated to understand the different spheres, political practitioners adopted the mental habits of the entrepreneur. Everything had to be transformational and disruptive. Hierarchy and authority were equated with injustice. Self-expression became more valued than self-restraint and coalition building. A contempt for politics infested the Republican mind.
I thought, Mr. Brooks, that President Obama promised to "fundamentally transform" the U.S.  Transformation isn't a Republican trait.  Indeed, it seems these days to be a trait that the Democrats employ frequently.  Passing Obamacare with a slim window of opportunity, the penchant for increasing bureaucracy and onerous regulation, the unprecedented use of executive authority have spawned a general contempt for politics.  Yet you blame this on Republicans?

I could go on, but I won't.  The general tone of his argument is that he's not thrilled with the way that the Freedom Caucus (or Donald Trump??) are leading the nation down the road to perdition.  I'm baffled as to his premise and even more confused about his thesis.  Evidently he's trying to say that conservatives are the bane of the political world.  Coming from a "conservative" writer at the New York Times, I'd question his bona-fides.

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