Malacandra.me

David Brooks is Waiting For The Miracle To Come



I am going to skip on past most of the by-now predictable disaster that were The Sunday Shows.  Which means no extended riff on Steve McMansion showing up in front of every camera in the land with his dead, doll eyes, wedge of black shoe-polish hair, Clutch Cargo taking face-hole and not a single human affect to lie and lie and lie about tax cuts.

Instead I would draw your attention to the panel which Mr. Chuck Todd assembled to talk about how utterly fucked up everything is, and how Donald J. Trump is a sociopath playing with matches in a bomb factory.

And the reason I would call your attention to this particular moment (and, later, to Mr. David Brooks' column in The New York Times today) is because, excluding Ms. Joy Reid, it a literal assemblage of representatives of the Three Fates of the Modern Conservative movement, all gathered together to collectively exonerate themselves for the horrors they have unleashed on our country.

Charlie Sykes was there as Clotho: the one who spent his entire professional career spinning the paranoid racist wingnut bullshit which now entraps us all.

Then there was Mr. David Brooks, whose whole life has been that of Lachesis, the dispenser of the bullshit.  The man who launders the muck and filth that men like Charlie Sykes dredged from the dark heart of Wingnut America into something glossy and fine enough for the elite, influential audience who pay him a fortune to dispense comforting fairy tale about an Imaginary Republican Party that is as far removed from the actual Republican Party as Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars is from Andy Weir's The Martian.

And the thing is, nothing ever really changes in Mr. Brooks' writing.  However many mountains of evidence pile up decade after decade that Red America is a toxic, ideological wasteland that is absolutely hostile to intelligent life, PBS and NPR and The New York Times and NBC all go right on paying Mr. Brooks -- who has worked very hard to stay as far away from Red America as humanly possible -- to go right on cranking out more reassuring tales of Tharks and Therns and Earthmen and Princesses and their colorful adventures on rugged, glorious Barsoom.

And finally, standing in for Atropos we have Danielle Pletka of The American Enterprise Institute:  an organization which takes the raw filth and muck of the Right which Mr. Brooks then dispenses in Aspen Institute-friendly increments and cuts it all into tidy, despicable white papers and model legislation.  And page by page they reverse-engineer one pseudo-academic justification after another for the sewage Charlie Sykes trafficked in, and the happy-clappy Beltway bedtime stories that David Brooks churns out.

But now that self-contained bullshit refinery has reached its logical end-state.  It has fulfilled its critical role in building a racist, paranoid political base that is completely impervious to reason and fully-reprogrammable by demagogues like Limbaugh and Hannity and Trump and a political party leadership which is only interested in gutting government and eliminating taxes on behalf of the plutocrats who foot the bill for this abomination.  Which means relentlessly pandering to that base.  Which, in turn, means pandering to the whims of Limbaugh and Hannity and Trump.

Which, you longtime readers might remember, is an outcome which Mr. David Brooks once swore was impossible, and mocked Liberals for even suggesting such as thing as deranged:
Bush, as Advertised 

FEB 5, 2001

What on earth has gotten into the liberals and the media? Perhaps affected by some sort of post-Palm Beach stress disorder, reporters and activists on the left have depicted George W. Bush as the leader of some sort of arch-conservative jihad. They've portrayed his tax plan as dangerously radical, some of his nominees as Confederacy-loving loons, and his voucher plan as a menace to the future of public education. To put it bluntly, this is all deranged. You get the impression that the left has actually started believing its own direct-mail fund-raising letters...
Just as he swore that there was no plutocat's hand to be found in any of this, and anyone who suggested otherwise was a dirty Commie:
Why Republicans Should Be Afraid
A lot can go wrong for them this fall.
JUL 29, 2002

...the Democrats seem to think that there is this organized entity called Corporate America, made up of senior executives, Republicans, white country clubbers, and people who were cheerleaders and prom kings in high school. If they can get the rest of the country to hate these people as much as they do, then they will win elections. Because they have this category in their heads, Democrats see the corporate scandals as tainting the whole Republican party.

But Americans who have not been suckled on the "Marx-Engels Reader" do not carry these categories around in their heads...
Turns out, the GOP really is funded by billionaire corporate thugs who will cut of the party's allowance if the congress they biught and paid for doesn't start cutting their taxes and killing off The Poors most rikki-tik.  It's signature move -- massive tax cuts -- really are radical and dangerous.  Their candidates really are elected by mobs Confederacy-loving loons.  And they really do mean to get rid of public education, along with housing, the EPA, and anything other government program they can strip for parts.

In other words, the "deranged" Left was abso-fucking-lutely right about the Right all along.

And so, looking out at the burning wreckage that he helped create, what for David Brooks of 2017 have to say for his party now?

DAVID BROOKS: ... And Donald Trump is playing for the white identity party. And therefore, it's becoming harder, operationally, to be a Republican without suddenly siding with that. And so the other half of the party has to decide, "Can we side with a guy who's constantly dragging us into racial identity politics over and over again in a way that becomes offensive. I've been a conservative for 30 years, going to all these magazines, you never used to hear racial stuff at conservative gatherings." But now it's suddenly become very hard to be a Republican and not be somehow associated with something racially reprehensible.
Yes, David Brooks is literally saying that because no one ever said "nigger" at one of his Beltway cocktail parties within his earshot, the existence of tens of millions of committed racists within his Republican Party now comes as a complete surprise to him.

And please take special notice of his repeated use of the word "suddenly".  "Suddenly" it's hard to be a Republican.  "Suddenly" it has gotten difficult to not be tainted with all of this reprehensible "racial stuff."

No.  What Mr. Brooks means is that, just two years ago, he still lived in a world where he could get away with publicly scolding Mr. Ta-Nehisi Coates' writings about race in America as "dissolving the [American] dream under the acid of an excessive realism".  What Mr. Brooks means is that people like him have "suddenly" run out of excuses and have "suddenly" been rousted out of their safe places to hide from the consequences of being the willing stooge of the Party of Bigots and Plutocrats for the past 30 years.

And what of our other two Fates?
CHARLIE SYKES:  Well, you know, I mean part of it is you do have the people who just made the Faustian bargain that they're going to enable, that they're going to look the other way because they're going to get tax cuts. And then of course you have the orange Kool-Aid drinkers who are doing all of that...
That Faustian bargain paid for your house, Charlie.  And your boat.  And your other house.  And your kid's college.  How nice for you that everyone around the table has all agreed not to mention it!
CHARLIE SYKES:  I think it's worse than that. I mean when you really think about it, what we found out is that Donald Trump himself cannot contain what he helped unleash...
What you helped unleash, Charlie.  What you helped unleash.  Again, how supernaturally decent of everyone around the table not to bring this up.
CHARLIE SYKES:  So, here the Republican Party has really succumbed to this perpetual rage machine. And they can't turn it off. And not even Donald Trump could turn it off. So any of us that think that there's a policy answer for this, that there's just a few personnel moves, I mean this is something. I mean the beast has been released. And they realize that they can't ride it anymore...
I might be remembering this wrong, but wasn't "Perpetual Rage Machine" the name of your long-running, right-wing Hate Radio show, Charlie?
DANIELLE PLETKA:  This is America jumping the shark.
No.  This is your Republican party jumping the shark.  This is your Conservative movement jumping the shark,  This is the beast you built.

And of course, no Meet the Press would be complete without Shuck Todd on-hand to ask the really important questions:
CHUCK TODD:  Do you fear too many Democrats are sort of intoxicated by the idea of, "Well, let's go with our own grievance machine?"
Which brings us, at last, to Mr. Brooks' column in The New York Times today.  Or, rather, the razor in the apple.  The lie Mr. Brooks carefully slips in to the middle of virtually everything he writes.
Trumpist populist nationalism is still a rising force within the G.O.P., not a falling one. The Bob Corkers of the party are leaving while the Roy Moores are ascending. Trump himself is unhindered while everyone else is frozen and scared.

As a result, the Republican Party is becoming a party permanently associated with bigotry. It is becoming the party that can’t govern.
Like his use of the word "suddenly" on Meet the Press, Mr. Brooks deploys the Present Continuous conjugation of  "to become" ("is becoming") to signal to his readers and his financial sponsors that this whole fucking mess just happened, suddenly and out of thin air.   That no one could have seen this coming...

...except, of course, for all the dirty Commie Liberals who have been warning about this exact thing for this exact reason for decades.


In the end, Mr. Brooks believes there is only one way forward:
Somebody is going to have to arise to point out that this is a deeply wrong and un-American story. The whole point of America is that we are not a tribe. We are a universal nation, founded on universal principles, attracting talented people from across the globe, active across the world on behalf of all people who seek democracy and dignity.
Actually, quite a lot of people have already arisen to point out that the Republican narrative of fear, hate and isolation is indeed "a deeply wrong and un-American story."

They're called Liberals.




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