The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

BREAKING: David Brooks Is a Douchebag

Posted on | June 14, 2011 | 39 Comments

This news is perhaps not shocking to regular readers of the New York Times‘ token “conservative” columnist, but if we ever needed smoking-gun proof, his column today is like RINO fingerprints covered with country-club DNA:

I’m registering a protest because for someone of my Hamiltonian/National Greatness perspective, the two parties contesting this election are unusually pathetic. Their programs are unusually unimaginative. Their policies are unusually incommensurate to the problem at hand. . . .
The Republican growth agenda — tax cuts and nothing else — is stupefyingly boring, fiscally irresponsible and politically impossible. . . .
Republican politicians don’t design policies to meet specific needs, or even to help their own working-class voters. They use policies as signaling devices — as ways to reassure the base that they are 100 percent orthodox and rigidly loyal. Republicans have taken a pragmatic policy proposal from 1980 and sanctified it as their core purity test for 2012. . . .
If there were a Hamiltonian Party, it would be offering a multifaceted reinvigoration agenda. It would grab growth ideas from all spots on the political spectrum and blend them together. Its program would be based on the essential political logic: If you want to get anything passed, you have to offer an intertwined package that smashes the Big Government vs. Small Government orthodoxies and gives everybody something they want. . . .

You can read the whole thing, which I think you will agree constitutes conclusive proof of the utter uselessness of David Brooks. From time to time, as a sort of accidental consequence of the Law of Large Numbers, Brooks will criticize liberals from a conservative perspective — the blind pig finding an acorn, as it were. Yet when push comes to shove, Brooks habitually tries to push Republicans toward a Democrat Lite agenda of Big Government. Brooks wants the GOP to reverse Phyliis Schlafly’s famous formula, so that Republicans offer voters an echo, not a choice.

The entirety of Brooksian politics — which he endeavors to cloak in the mantle of dead Founders, knowing that Alexander Hamilton is not here to defend himself against the calumny — was summarized in his 1997 Weekly Standard article, “A Return to National Greatness.”

Never was so much eloquent prose devoted to such a disastrous ideal. Brooks was, in effect, surrendering the entire size-of-government argument to liberals. To Brooks, the question is never, “How much government do we need?” — in that, he enthusiastically answers, “A lot!” — but rather, “What should the government do?” To which he answers: “Everything!”

Laying aside entirely the constitutional question of whether this Super-Sized Jumbo Government is legitimate, it is impossible to locate in Brooksianism any meaningful political argument with liberalism.

If we are going to impose punitive taxes on the rich, strangle free enterprise with regulatory bureaucracy, accept the permanence of unsustainable entitlement programs, and go further into debt to fund “investment” boondoggles — if Republicans cheerfully cede all of those premises of the liberal argument, you see — how is the GOP supposed to present itself as a credible alternative to the liberal agenda of the Democratic Party?

“Me too” is not a winning platform. It never has been and never will be, and all of Brooks’s wishfulness will not convert his policy preferences into an effective politics.

This is exactly why Brooks should be wrapped in bacon and dumped into a tank full of hungry sharks: His erudition and facile recitation of policy details lends an aura of seriousness to his arguments. He constantly rehashes the political obstacles to implementation of a limited-government agenda (which are real enough) as a way of suggesting that such an agenda is an impossibility. And if, as Brooks says, a meaningful reduction in the size, scope and expense of the federal Leviathan is a non-starter, then conservatives who argue for limited government are either naive or dishonest.

This is a perfidious accusation of bad faith, and for this baseless slander, Brooks should be loaded aboard an Air Force C-130 and air-dropped over Afghanistan without a parachute.

David Brooks is not merely a useless coward, but is in fact a treacherous villain — a pretended friend of the GOP who, Iago-like, constantly counsels the party to pursue a course of action that can only result in its own defeat. And when next the Republicans blunder into an electoral Waterloo by heeding the siren song of “National Greatness,” who will they find standing there to offer them advice on how to recover their fortunes?

Why, none other than David Brooks, who is paid a handsome salary by the New York Times to do exactly what he does twice a week: Posture as a friend of the GOP, while urging Republicans to pursue a politically implausible “me too” Democrat Lite agenda.

David Brooks should be lashed to a tree in the Alaskan wilderness as wolf-bait, or dumped naked into an alligator-infested swamp in the backwoods of Louisiana, but it is unlikely that he could ever suffer a fate as awful as he deserves. If he wishes to invoke famous characters from the American Revolution, he should stop chattering about Alexander Hamilton and instead invoke a name worthy of his labors: Benedict Arnold.

Your contributions to the David Brooks Fisking Fund are gratefully encouraged. Brooks collects something like $200,000 a year from the New York Times, and if you hit my tip jar for $20, I will be 1/10,000th closer to evening the score with that smug bastard.


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