Patterico's Pontifications


David Brooks calls GOP grassroots Nazis or something

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:49 am

[Posted by Karl]

At least, that’s the allusion Brooks makes to conclude his latest screed against “grass-roots protesters in the Tea Party and elsewhere”:

First they went after the Rockefeller Republicans, but I was not a Rockefeller Republican. Then they went after the compassionate conservatives, but I was not a compassionate conservative. Then they went after the mainstream conservatives, and there was no one left to speak for me.

Mr. Brooks,  you are no pastor Martin Niemöller.  You are not winning; you are Godwinning.

Indeed, the lesser claims in the column are equally suspect, if less offensive in tone:

All across the nation, there are mainstream Republicans lamenting how the party has grown more and more insular, more and more rigid. This year, they have an excellent chance to defeat President Obama, yet the wingers have trashed the party’s reputation by swinging from one embarrassing and unelectable option to the next: Bachmann, Trump, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum.

Outside the echo chamber between the ears of David Brooks, Americans see the ideology of the GOP candidates — including Bachmann and Santorum — as closer to theirs than Barack Obama’s ideology.  Even among so-called independents, only Bachmann scored as more extreme than Obama, who holds the record for the most polarizing first, second and third years in office since Gallup started measuring polarization.  A majority of Americans (and independents) say Barack Obama’s political views are “too liberal,” a greater percentage than believe either of his main Republican challengers — Rick Santorum (38%) or Mitt Romney (33%) — is “too conservative.”  The share of Republicans who see Romney or Santorum as too conservative is significantly smaller.  A majority of Americans (and independents) disagree with Obama on the issues most important to them, while only a plurality disagrees with either Romney or Santorum (the overwhelming majority of Republicans agree with either GOP candidate). Currently, the (essentially meaningless) head-to-head polls have Obama ahead of Romney (who Brooks seems to find electable) by 5%, and ahead of Santorum (embarrassing and unelectable) by… 5.9%.  In short, most people see little difference between Romney and Santorum and see either as less extreme than Obama.

However, for Brooks, the problem is more than ideological:

In the 1960s and ’70s, the fight was between conservatives and moderates. Conservatives trounced the moderates and have driven them from the party. These days the fight is between the protesters and the professionals. The grass-roots protesters in the Tea Party and elsewhere have certain policy ideas, but they are not that different from the Republicans in the “establishment.”

The big difference is that the protesters don’t believe in governance. They have zero tolerance for the compromises needed to get legislation passed. They don’t believe in trimming and coalition building. For them, politics is more about earning respect and making a statement than it is about enacting legislation. It’s grievance politics, identity politics.

As an antidote to this hysterical overgeneralization, I’ll turn over the rebuttal to rabid wingnutter Peggy Noonan:

For conservatives on the ground, it has often felt as if Democrats (and moderate Republicans) were always saying, “We should spend a trillion dollars,” and the Republican Party would respond, “No, too costly. How about $700 billion?” Conservatives on the ground are thinking, “How about nothing? How about we don’t spend more money but finally start cutting.”


The second thing is the clock. Here is a great virtue of the tea party: They know what time it is. It’s getting late. If we don’t get the size and cost of government in line now, we won’t be able to. We’re teetering on the brink of some vast, dark new world—states and cities on the brink of bankruptcy, the federal government too. The issue isn’t “big spending” anymore. It’s ruinous spending that they fear will end America as we know it, as they promised it to their children.

Brooks is willing to write about “the nation’s ruinous debt problem,” but when Obama demanded his way or the highway during the debt ceiling fight, Brooks chose to blame “the movement” instead, falsely claiming that Republicans were “merely” being asked to close loopholes and eliminate tax expenditures.  In reality, Obama’s proposals have received almost zero Congressional support, including from his own party.  In developed countries, successful fiscal consolidations have relied overwhelmingly on spending cuts, while the so-called “balanced” approach has failed.  Indeed, the International Monetary Fund would suggest spending cuts and tax cuts as a “Plan B” for overextended countries.  In Brooksworld, those who believe in smaller government and solutions that have worked elsewhere are unrealistic, totalitarian troglodytes, while the dude who supports the most statist president in generations is the martyred mainstream conservative.  That’s some double-plus good punditizing.  David Brooks, clinging bitterly to Barack Obama’s creased trouser leg and his Reinhold Niebuhr, is not voice of mainstream conservatism.  He is the poster boy for Big Media’s Biggest Failure, howling on behalf of the so-called professionals in total denial of their role in America’s current and future miseries.


53 Responses to “David Brooks calls GOP grassroots Nazis or something”

  1. Well, Ok, here’s a recent accounting of Ben’s assets:

    Here’s one for the ECB:

    So Ben’s assets are worth, say, something less than 50 cents on the dollar tho he can make someone like Goldman pay more a little at a time.

    But since Europe is so much worse off we’re the banshees?

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  2. Old men like Brooks are always ready to accept slow decline.

    “Après moi le déluge”

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  3. wrong thread, gary

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  4. 4. Well Kev, maybe you should find the right one, we don’t read minds around here.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  5. Yeah, if only the moderates in the GOP could get as much respect as all those moderates in that other party.

    You know, all those pro-life Dems, or those for entitlement reform, etc. They’re just everywhere, and so highly thought of within the party….

    foxbat (b9afd1)

  6. LUAP NOR!!!

    David, professional internet troll (725724)

  7. It is really amazing how some Romney supporters seem as inflexible and insular as the most rabid Ronulan. No one is so critical that the Republic will fall if they aren’t in charge — that way lies Caesar. I may not like some of the other contenders, but Gingrich, Perry and perhaps Santorum could turn us around just fine. Sure, so could Romney, were he so inclined, and Brooks is making a really GREAT case that he isn’t.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  8. sorry, gary, I guess that is tangentially on topic, but since Bernanke isn’t even mentioned in the post, it seemed like it wasn’t.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  9. Let’s all remember to “appreciate” Mr Patterico today. Thanks, Pat.

    Gazzer (ae42be)

  10. Wonderful post, Karl. I think any reaction I offer would be incendiary and incite the grassroots, though.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  11. Let’s all remember to “appreciate” Mr Patterico today. Thanks, Pat.

    Comment by Gazzer

    Yeah, good idea. But also we should thank Karl. He’s been the backbone of this blog’s content for quite a stretch here, and he’s a hell of a blogger. Patterico’s been blogging at speed for a while, and that’s great, but I appreciate Karl’s work.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  12. eh, it kinda sounds like I was suggesting Gazzer doesn’t appreciate Karl’s work, which is not what I intended to say at all.

    Narciso, that was an unintentionally hilarious link.

    Romney’s fan is quite right that Romney is of equal integrity to Obama.

    “Chaffetz said he hopes that voters in upcoming primary states will ask themselves, “Why is it that people keep going to Mitt Romney?””

    Isolated state contests with tons of money making each election about whatever mistake the Not Romney of the day has most recently made, instead of about the overall record. Also, conservatives who did not rally behind any constructive option, early enough.

    Dustin (401f3a)

  13. 8. To expatiate, QE1 purchased MBS forcing US banks to hold proceeds as capital reserves on which Fed pays 0.25%, QE2 purchased the Treasury’s 10-year Bills, QE-Twist purchased the world’s 30-year Bills in return for T-Notes.

    March is the largest rollover of sovereign debt of the millenium, most debt not held by central banks now being short term.

    With Greek default rates mean nothing, liquidity is bound for commodities like oil. The appetite for sovereign debt, including US debt, is declining.

    We are going to see asset deflation, food and energy inflation and GDP stagflation and war and Bennie started the ball rolling.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  14. Matt taibbi doesn’t call them Nazis, but he otherwise hits the same notes:

    GWBpresnit (31156a)

  15. One recalls Brooks rather trenchant phrasing, ‘she is a cancer on the party’

    narciso (87e966)

  16. I don’t understand Brooks. He seems to think he is smart yet he cannot see the boulder rolling down the hillside toward us. He would be more excited if the world temperature went up 0.01 degree.

    Mike K (326cba)

  17. Someone should send gulrud a “Tangentially On-Topic” t-shirt.

    Icy (57df98)

  18. Trollalicious cites Taibbi?


    Icy (57df98)

  19. The problem with Brooks is that he reacts to every criticism of the GOP by his fellows in the media as if they are telling the truth.

    Icy (57df98)

  20. 19. Point taken but there’s this catch-22. Does one spell out the consequences and labor at length boring the perceptive or risk being elliptic and not providing sufficient dots to connect?

    If I were as long winded as, say an Ace, I’m certain no one would even read the drivel.

    CPAC awarded Ace ‘blog writer of the year’, WUWT?

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  21. Brooks is a “Toy Boy” conservative. He’s fully paid for by the NY democratic establishment, and they get to do whatever they want with him.

    Craig Mc (b7c287)

  22. gary, I just find it amusing how whatever the topic of a thread it somehow manages to be related to the Greek debt crisis.

    Icy (57df98)

  23. 24. Yeah, the family complained about the limited nature of my cooking too. I hit the ethnic aisle hard. So far they’re happier.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  24. Brooks has been irrelevant to conservatives for years. Why give him the space?

    sickofrinos (44de53)

  25. The NY Times offices must be a really horrible place for a conservative to work. I can imagine that nobody speaks to you, you have to eat lunch at your own table (everybody gets up if you try to sit at theirs), the cute editorial assistants from Bryn Mawr and Columbia laugh about your dorky right-wing neckties and wingtips, and Bob Herbert doesn’t acknowledge you when you are standing next to him at the urinal in the men’s room for pundits. This must be why Brooks is slowly, inexorably turning more and more left-wing (under the guise of other conservatives going more and more right-wing) with each passing day. Poor Davy just wants to be one of the cool kids, you see!

    Maybe we should accuse the NYT of bullying conservatives, and demand some sort of anti-bullying intervention from whatever Federal agency Obama has proposed to deal with this issue.

    JVW (4d72aa)

  26. More government fraud with the 3.0% Q4 growth?

    Understating price rises by 2 percent.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  27. The problem with Brooks is that he reads the NY Times and probably considers it a great newspaper.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  28. …When he should be embarrassed that he can’t get hired by a reputable firm.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  29. sickofrinos,

    I could give you a high-minded explanation, starting with the newsworthiness of a prominent media figure breaking Godwin’s Rule, but here’s the craven one:

    It has been my experience that if a blogger wants to get a reaction, it is always better to wrap a serious discussion in a personality. The Brooks narrative about the GOP grassroots is certainly not unique to him. But if I wrote about it in the abstract, far fewer people would read it, on average. Make fun of David Brooks, and more will read it, on average. And then you hope they come for verbal spanking, but stay for the substantive argument.

    Karl (6f7ecd)

  30. Speaking of queer, why ask someone to vote for a candidate when they feel the following way about them?:

    Does anyone really hold it against people that did not vote for McGovern, Ford, Mondale, Dole, et al.? Arguably those people were wrong, but hindsight is 20/20.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  31. ____________________________________________

    A majority of Americans (and independents) say Barack Obama’s political views are “too liberal,”

    Gee, ‘ya suppose? The buddy of Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, etc, may be a bit too…leftwing?!

    Only in the world of the New York Times, top-heavy with ultra-liberals — whether of the limousine-liberal variety or not — would a dope like Brooks bemoan the idea that the Republican Party in the 21st century has become too rightwing.

    In the mind of such liberals, mainstream “conservatives” of today (never mind the way that leftists believe “moderates” or “centrists” are to be defined) are supposed to be skittish about same-sex marriage but will draw a line only when it comes to polygamy, believe that carbon dioxide isn’t a major pollutant but only when compared with the crud pouring out of Fukushima, believe that abortion is bad but only when a fetus is over 8.9 months old, characterize food stamps and welfare as bad but only if their use is heavily promoted in TV advertising, judge capital punishment as okay but only if the guilty has killed more than 50 people, state that public education is a mess but only because teachers aren’t paid enough, feel that secularism has gone too far but only when “Christmas” trees sometimes are called “holiday trees,” believe the government is bloated but only because it may end up hiring, say, 30,000 more IRS agents.

    Mark (31bbb6)

  32. 33. Agreed. While I find running on social issues, that the Right manifestly cannot agree on, daft it is nonetheless preposterous to pretend that we do not have myriad issues with the Manchurian and his jackboots on these very concerns.

    Political correctness, where ever it appears, is a liberal impulse.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  33. Thanks, Karl. Thanks, Patrick.

    Colonel Haiku (8cf52c)

  34. somewhere in Texas
    a lonesome coyote weeps
    it slipped from his paws

    Colonel Haiku (8cf52c)

  35. When he should be embarrassed that he can’t get hired by a reputable firm.

    The Washington Post would never hire him.

    GWBpresnit (e9a166)

  36. The Washington Post would never hire him.

    Comment by GWBpresnit

    Eugene. Robinson.

    Colonel Haiku (8cf52c)

  37. I see the crude oil risin’
    I hear trouble on the way
    looks like he’s in for a nasty ass-kickin’
    him and that poofter david plouffe

    Colonel Haiku (8cf52c)

  38. Karl- I understand your reasoning. I just think ignoring him does more. Karl, your material is always worth reading, davey boy, on the other hand is a waste of time. And has been for years.

    sickofrinos (44de53)

  39. Thanks, y’all!

    Karl (6f7ecd)

  40. Continuing 1 & 14:

    Japan meanwhile, for the first time since 1980, is running a current account deficit and will look for debt purchasers outsider her shores.

    The Fed is now become the primary purchaser of US Treasuries. Ten percent of US GDP is being created out of thin air by the Fed. Two years ago my grocery bill ran about $750 a month, bet its $1000 today(mostly organics).

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  41. I don’t see a lot of people who genuinely give me the creeps just by the way they look/eyes/etc. but David Brooks is one of them.

    Noodles (3681c4)

  42. Whoops. Wrong Media Matters guy. I meant David Brock.

    Noodles (3681c4)

  43. Thank you, Karl. Niemoller he’s not, and hounded by Nazi’s he’s not.

    It is a pretty insane and stupid point of view that calls the following views radical:
    1. Citizens expect Senators to read bills before they vote them into law
    2. Citizens expect legislators to keep their promises about cutting spending in the face of record debt and deficits

    For wanting those things and showing up at a rally one gets labelled an extremist (dangerous R wing nut cases, even).

    I guess that’s why I’m not a rich and famous public intellectual, I think those are good ideas.

    So did all of those dangerous theocrats of years gone by who wanted people to learn how to read and think for themselves. Not only does the hand that rocks the cradle rule the world, but so does the hand that spoon feeds mush to the youth of the nation as they get older (“growing up” would be a misleading term, given the current environment).

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  44. Pardon my asking . Can anyone remember the last time brooks wrote or spoke with any conviction in defense of a conservative position? If not why is he always presented as a conservative voice?

    dunce (15d7dc)

  45. Well as a new zealander I can confirm that we got in the lack by cuts and not tax increases. It was pretty much one budget that did it. But boy is the gug who wrore that linked article high on something! It neaar tore the place apart, but he makes it sound like everyone was sittong around singing kumbya.
    The bigthing to note is that the left is still to this dy making political hay out of it. So much so that the current govt is lmost too scared to do anything lest someone say ” they’ re doing what they did in th 90s”

    scrubone (e8eed1)

  46. More cognitive dissonance Brookie?:

    Goldman has to hat-tip reality now and then to feign credibility.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  47. More unhinged wingnuttery:

    What could possibly be wrong with an out-of-sequence, official photoshopped birth certificate?

    Sad that kiddo was just a pederast’s child and he’s actually legal.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  48. Add Catholic Bishops threatening an end to good works to the asylum:

    “Some may doubt that the bishops would create this kind of havoc and disruption, and perhaps President Obama believes Cardinal George and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to be bluffing. However, Obama may want to read St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, and his Principle and Foundation of faith, which informs Catholics on the priority of salvation. The first task of mankind, according to St. Ignatius, is to serve God and “save his soul,” and “other things on the face of the earth” should be used only as long as they serve that purpose. When they become a hindrance to salvation, St. Ignatius warns to “rid himself of them.””

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  49. I really enjoy it when our little friends on the “progressive” left fail to understand that they are far closer to Nazis than any conservative. I wonder what part of National Socialist Brooks fails to understand.

    BarSinister (99d480)

  50. Evidently, Goldman has decided Bennie’s ongoing testimony in Congress is unsatisfactory:

    Insufficient mention of quantitative easing. Brooksie can add Ben to the list of liberals cowed.

    gary gulrud (1de2db)

  51. Like David Brooks and Tom Friedman, a little bit of George Will goes a long way… and I don’t mean that in a positive sense:

    Will writes that there may “come a point when … conservatives turn their energies to a goal much more attainable than . . . electing Romney or Santorum president. It is the goal of retaining control of the House and winning control of the Senate. . . . Conservatives this year should have as their primary goal making sure Republicans wield all the gavels in Congress in 2013.”

    Colonel Haiku (0d9d91)

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