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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Conservative Lying Liars, Historical Revisionist Edition

So, yesterday I figured my blood pressure had slipped a little low. I wandered over to The New York Times to see what David "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader" Brooks had to say. I mean, I find myself agreeing with both Ed Koch AND Paul Krugman these days, so why not give Bobo a try?

Let's just say, the man did not disappoint.

The first part of the editorial was actually quite well-written. I wondered if my Bizarro-World experiences lately had caused me to hallucinate.

We’re entering an era of epic legislation. There are at least five large problems that will compel the federal government to act in gigantic ways over the next few years.

First, there is the erosion of the social contract. Private sector firms are less likely to provide health benefits, producing a desperate need for health care reform. Second, there is the energy shortage. Rising Asian demand strains worldwide supply, threatening industry and consumers, and producing calls for a bold energy initiative. Third, there is the stagnation in human capital. During the 20th century, Americans were better educated than the citizens of any other power. Since 1970, that lead has been forfeited, producing inequality and wage stagnation. To compete, the U.S. will require a series of human capital initiatives.

Fourth, there’s financial market reform. In an intricately connected world, even Republican administrations cannot allow big institutions to fail. If government is going to guarantee against failure, then it is inevitably going to get more involved in regulating how businesses are run. Fifth, there’s infrastructure reform. The U.S. transportation system is in shambles and will require major new projects.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is the first time I've seen anyone in the MCM lay out the massive problems that face the next administration so succinctly. My eyes were wide with astonishment and happiness. Was this a new era of substantive political discussion by the New York Times?

Of course not. Read on, if you dare.

All of this means that the next few years will be an age of government activism. You may think, therefore, that this situation is ripe for Democratic dominance. The Democrats are the natural party of federal vigor. Voters prefer Democratic approaches to issues like health care and education by as much as 25 percentage points.

Yet, historically, periods of great governmental change have often been periods of conservative rule. It’s as if voters understand that they need big changes, but they want those changes planned and enacted by leaders who will restrain the pace of change and prevent radical excess.
No, it's as if David Brooks stopped reading history after 1929. But hey, he has to justify his McCain love somehow. Who cares if he completely ignores FDR's four terms in office, during which the New Deal was created and successfully implemented? Or perhaps he is forgetting LBJ and the Civil Rights Amendment?

The only "conservative" American President he could find to justify his preposterous thesis was Theodore Roosevelt, who resembles John McCain about as much as Beverly Sills resembles Britney Spears. His other example was Benjamin Disraeli, because conservatism in England is exactly the same as conservatism in America. [snort] In any case, here is how McCain equals The Rough Rider in the fuzzy brain of Mr. Brooks.

"The true function of the state as it interferes in social life,” Roosevelt wrote, “should be to make the chances of competition more even, not to abolish them.”

John McCain’s challenge is to recreate this model. He will never get as many cheers in Germany as Barack Obama, but for a century his family has embodied American heroism.
Ah, there it is - that delightful soupçon of élitism without which a Brooks column just isn't complete. You know you simply cannot implement change unless your family has been in America for at least 100 years being all heroic and stuff. Otherwise it's just change for change's sake! The White House will be painted in rainbow stripes, the Oval Office will smell like patchouli, and President Democrat will enact legislation forcing all Americans to wear their underwear on the outside. The Horror!

The column is a laughable effort by Brooks, to be sure, but to be fair, conservative propagandists are having a harder and harder time pushing their line these days. After all, Bush has proven that today's conservatism (a toxic stew of X-treme Reagonomics wedded to a Christofascist domestic policy and a neo-conservative foreign policy) is a recipe for disaster - the results of which Brooks readily acknowledges in the first portion of his column. The problem is, how to keep Democrats from another four decades of legislative - and possibly executive - dominance?

Poor Bobo. It's hard work being a Minister of Truthiness these days.

At least I know that in this world where every day seems to be Opposite Day, David Brooks can still be counted on to raise the blood pressure of almost everyone who reads his mind-blowingly crapulent bloviating.

Mission Accomplished, baby.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

David Brooks has, on very rare occasion, managed to put out a completely cogent column. Unfortunately, after his promising start he careens off the rails.