This is a sad time to be David Brooks, the New York Times house conservative. The souring economy (along with other poor administration decisions) has caused a big drop in the popularity of his beloved Barack Obama with his party facing electoral disaster at the polls this November. So what to do? Why, engage in fantasy by writing an alternate history in which an all-wise Obama cuts taxes and vetoes big spending plans passed by the Democrat congress. Here is some of the comedy gold Brooks dreamed up in his alternate history universe:
...He told his aides to put away the history books and reject the New Deal comparisons. Unlike in 1932, Americans today have a raging distrust of Washington, he observed. Living through a crisis caused by excessive debt, they will viscerally recoil at the prospect of federal debt without end. “Somehow,” Obama concluded, “we have to address the crisis without further terrifying the American people.”
The stimulus package, he continued, should rely heavily on cutting payroll taxes. This, he argued, will send a quick jolt to the economy without concentrating power in Washington. It will deliver a sharp psychological boost to the middle class. It might even be bipartisan. Obama noted that John McCain had a $445 billion stimulus plan along these lines and his fellow Republican senator, Mel Martinez, a $713 billion plan.
New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote an article Tuesday largely about the success America has had rebuilding Iraq without ever mentioning the name of former President George W. Bush.
To be sure, "Nation Building Works" also addressed some of the failures: the absence of "social trust," the lack of doctors and engineers, as well as rampant corruption to name a few.
But in a column published the very day President Obama is to address the nation about Iraq, it seems particularly odd that the man at the helm when America invaded - and who against public sentiment as well as the will of the current White House resident orchestrated a surge of military forces in 2007 largely responsible for the success of this mission - is conspicuously absent:
On the same day the Commerce Department dramatically revised down second quarter Gross Domestic Product estimates, New York Times columnist David Brooks published a stinging rebuke of Obama economic policies.
"The American stimulus package was supposed to create a 'summer of recovery,' according to Obama administration officials," wrote Brooks.
"Job growth was supposed to be surging at up to 500,000 a month," he continued. "Instead, the U.S. economy is scuffling along."
Scuffling is putting it mildly, for it was announced Friday that the GDP only grew by a pathetic 1.6 percent last quarter which was down from previous estimates of 2.4 percent.
With this in mind, Brooks' column was not only spot on, but a surprising indictment of everything the Obama administration has done since Inauguration Day:
With all the conservative columnists out there, if you were looking for an author to represent the right-wing view in a new Crossfire-like program, would you choose Kathleen Parker who lately has largely presented herself as a Republican In Name Only?
According to the New York Post, that's exactly what CNN is considering.
Not only that, but her liberal opponent is rumored to be -- wait for it! -- disgraced former New York governor Eliot Spitzer.
Here's what the Post published Friday concerning this matter:
Sigh. Dionne tried to make the special elections sound like a great week for liberals:
DIONNE: I didn't know tea gave you a hangover, but I think Rand Paul's victory in Kentucky has already given Republicans --
SIEGEL: He won the Senate nomination.
DIONNE: -- he won the Senate nomination. And already, his rather pure strains of libertarianism is causing Republicans trouble. He seems to be against the public accommodations section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that banned discrimination at lunch counters and hotels and the like. So, that's going to be an interesting race to watch.
David Brooks seemed to be having a coherency challenged moment during his latest scheduled conversation with fellow New York Times columnist, Gail Collins. First Brooks excused what Connecticut senatorial candidate Richard Blumenthal falsely claimed about being a Vietnam combat veteran as an "accident":
As for Blumenthal, my guess is he survives his little brush with mendacity. The Connecticut Democrat accidentally said he was a combat veteran, when in fact he never served in Vietnam. Could happen to anyone!
A moment later, Brooks reversed course and admitted that Blumenthal lied but, eh, no big deal:
The claim is dishonorable, but everybody expects politicians to lie. One of the odd perplexities of an angry moment is that expectations are so low, politicians end up surviving scandals that would kill them in happier times.
“This is a damn outrage,” a disgusted David Brooks, the faux conservative columnist for the New York Times, declared on Sunday’s Meet the Press reacting to Republican Senator Bob Bennett’s loss Saturday at Utah’s Republican convention which chose two others to compete in a June primary for the seat. Brooks fretted he was punished for being “a good conservative who was trying to get things done” by “bravely” working with Democrats on health care and supporting TARP. “Now,” he repeated, “he's losing his career over that. And it's just a damn outrage.”
Sitting beside Brooks on NBC’s roundtable, liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr,. a former New York Times correspondent, saw “almost a non-violent coup because they denied the sitting Senator even a chance of getting on the primary ballot.”
Over on Fox News Sunday, NPR’s Juan Williams expressed exasperation: “This is evidence of how the American political center is losing, on the right wing of the party a guy like Bob Bennett, who is a right-wing conservative, is being driven out because he’s not sufficiently conservative?”
ABC’s Jake Tapper brought Rudy Giuliani aboard This Week to address the handling of the Times Square botched bomber, but wouldn’t let him go before bringing up Bennett’s defeat as proof of an intolerant GOP: “Are you worried at all that the Republican Party is not only growing more hostile to more liberal to moderate Republicans such as yourself, but also conservative Republicans who are shown to, at least shown an ability to work with Democrats?”
As congressional Democrats press on with their attempts to get financial legislation reform passed, a key component has been lacking from the debate: how to handle the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE).
The Friday night discussion with Mark Shields and David Brooks on the PBS NewsHour was surprisingly heated. First, anchorman Jim Lehrer seemed to suggest the liberal lingo when the "no" votes were "problem Democrats," as opposed to the Pelosi Democrats:
Where are the -- what -- who are the problem Democrats left right now? We know about the Stupaks and the anti-abortion folks. Who else?
Shields insisted that come the fall, no one will be talking about the process the Democrats used to pass a health-care bill, but Brooks said deem-and-pass was "so repulsive, I'm out of my skin with anger about it." Here's how it unfolded:
New York Times columnist David Brooks says that what Vice President Joe Biden told NBC's David Gregory Sunday concerning the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City doesn't pass the laugh test.
"What Joe Biden said on ['Meet the Press'] today will be laughed at around the Arab world."
Maybe even more shocking, speaking during the panel discussion segment that followed Biden's interview, Brooks agreed with some things former Vice President Dick Cheney spoke about concerning this matter on ABC's "This Week."
"The KSM trial has become a total mess. What Joe Biden said today on the program doesn't pass the laugh test," Brooks said. "[T]he second thing I think Cheney's actually right about is Mirandizing."
Brooks amazingly continued: "[S]ay we'd captured the 9/11 guys on September 10th, or one of them, should we have read that guy his rights and given him a lawyer? No. We should have tried to get some intelligence out of the guy" (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
Former Wall Street Journal editor Al Hunt (now with Bloomberg News) expressed grave pessimism about the Democrats on PBS’s Charlie Rose show Wednesday night, to the point where he said they need to jam through a health bill, or lose the House.
AL HUNT: They’re going to have to persuade the House to pass the Senate bill...you have to persuade some liberals to swallow hard. I spoke to Nancy Pelosi today. The votes are not in there in the House today. That`s the job of Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel.
DAVID BROOKS: That`s not the message though I heard from the speech. I heard the "Let's go gently into the good night."
HUNT: If that happens, David, I guarantee the Republicans will win the House of Representatives.
BROOKS: But he didn`t say "We’re close. Let`s just jam it through." He said "Let`s begin again, let`s hear some ideas."
The talk even shifted – on PBS, the supposedly urbane network -- to "tea baggers" ruining the Republican brand:
The American Spectator's Quin Hillyer, who participated as a judge of this year's awards, wrote a December 11 column going over the quotes "that particularly enraged/amused/befuddled me" even before the official results were tallied. Hillyer observed:
Sometimes you must wonder how some members of the establishment media live with themselves. Their double standards are so egregious, as is their refusal to observe the boundaries between straight news and opinionizing (to coin a word), and as are their utter contempt for and viciousness against those anywhere to the political right of them, that one would think there is no way they retain any conscience at all.
What’s on the mind of media types this Christmas season? Obama’s “great” speeches and the “atrocity” of Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Lieberman, says New York Times columnist David Brooks, an Obama supporter and Palin-basher whose neo-liberal outlook nevertheless places him at the right end of the paper's cavalcade of liberal opinion writers.
In his weekly Wednesday “Opinionator” exchange with fellow columnist Gail Collins at nytimes.com, Brooks provided a peek into a typical media Christmas, that is, “holiday” party:
He began with self-mockery:
Brooks: Tis the season for holiday parties, which means I’m spending a lot of time with the Beltway establishment. Let me tell you, you people who live outside the beltway are completely out of touch. We in the D.C. establishment are a wonderful group of really smart and intelligent people and if you guys don’t let us micromanage your affairs, you don’t deserve the happiness and wealth we could provide.
Collins responded with some sarcasm of her own from a liberal viewpoint:
Good Morning America on Monday began a week of coverage on Sarah Palin’s new book by repeatedly fact checking claims from the Republican and highlighting a attack by the liberals’ favorite "conservative," New York Times columnist David Brooks. Reporter Kate Snow asserted that "even conservatives are on the attack" against Palin.
She then played a clip of Brooks, who has previously gone after Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and others: "Yeah, she's a joke. I mean I just can't take her seriously. The idea that this potential talk show host is considered seriously for the Republican nomination, believe me, it'll never happen."
The roundtable members on Sunday's This Week derided or dismissed Sarah Palin, with David Brooks, the putative conservative columnist for the New York Times, declaring “she's a joke” and insisting “Republican primary voters just are not going to elect a talk show host” -- leaving it to PBS's Gwen Ifill, of all people, to come to her defense as a fellow woman.[MP3 audio available here]
Left-winger David Corn yearned for how she will damage Republicans while the Washington Post's Bob Woodward agreed with Brooks and George Will wondered: “Some conservatives think they have found in Sarah Palin a Republican William Jennings. Why they would want somebody who lost the presidency three times I do not know.”
The derogatory take from David Books on the November 15 This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC:
Yeah, she's a joke. I mean, I just can't take her seriously. We've got serious problems in the country. Barack Obama's trying to handle war. We just had a guy elected Virginia Governor who's probably the model for the future of the Republican Party, Bob McDonnell. Pretty serious guy, pragmatic, calm, kind of boring. The idea that this potential talk show host is considered seriously for the Republican nomination, believe me, it will never happen. Republican primary voters just are not going to elect a talk show host.
The next time you read or hear a member of the mainstream media complaining about how much of the blogosphere engages in lurid sensationalism and is not to be taken seriously, then just point them today's New York Times column, Cellphones, Texts, and Lovers, written by house "conservative" David Brooks.
Yes, today is election day in several parts of the country but Brooks shuns any analysis of these races in favor of delving into the lurid world of cellphone sex from the pages of the Times opinion section which, with his column, reads more like something lifted from a sleazy sex periodical found at dented curbside machines or from web sex sites:
Since April 2007, New York magazine has posted online sex diaries. People send in personal accounts of their nighttime quests and conquests. Some of the diaries are unusual and sad. There’s a laid-off banker who drinks herself into oblivion and wakes up in the beds of unfamiliar men. There’s an African-American securities trader who flies around the country on weekends to meet with couples seeking interracial sex.
...the diarists “use their cellphones to disaggregate, slice up, and repackage their emotional and physical needs, servicing each with a different partner, and hoping to come out ahead.”
The liberals inside the taxpayer-funded PBS sandbox know how to keep looking down their noses at their competitors in conservative talk radio and TV. Once again, on Friday night’s NewsHour, the supposedly opposing duo of Mark Shields and David Brooks offered their shared revulsion of any Republican spokesman to the right of Sen. Lindsey Graham.
It started when NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff asked their reaction to former Vice President Dick Cheney accusing Obama of "dithering" on Afghanistan. Sheields called Cheney a "gift." Brooks lamented that the Republicans lack leaders that sound exactly as moderate as he is:
I always wish it was John McCain or Lindsey Graham or somebody of that nature who was leading the charge.
The Republican Party has a terrible problem of who its spokespeople are. It tends not to be the best voices in the party. Lamar Alexander, senator from Tennessee, said he completely understood why Obama was taking his time to make this decision. And instead of those voices getting prominence, you get Dick Cheney, you get Rush Limbaugh, you get Glenn Beck. That's part of a larger problem.
This isn't something you see every day: a member of the media scolding colleagues for criticizing conservative talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin.
Yet, that's exactly what Howard Kurtz did on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday as he took on all the recent carping and whining about the message being relayed over the airwaves by the Right's strongest voices.
Kurtz even went after the so-called conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks (video embedded below the fold, relevant section at 36:50):
However, will they be so eager to echo the sentiment of David Brooks in the wake of President Barack Obama's Nobel Prize announcement? On PBS's Oct. 9 "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," the Times columnist had some disparaging words for Obama's award - despite a sentiment from some liberals that those who question it were somehow un-American.
"Well, my first reaction is he should have won all the prizes because he has given speeches about peace, but also he's give economic speeches. He wrote a book - that's literature. He has biological elements within his body. He could win that prize. He could have swept the whole prizes," Brooks said tongue-in-cheek before delivering the knock-out blow. "Now - it's sort of a joke."
CNBC's Joe Kernen on Friday took New York Times columnist David Brooks to task for statements made in his recent column.
As my colleague P.J. Gladnick previously reported, Brooks accused conservative talk radio hosts Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity of hurting the Republican Party:
The Republican Party is unpopular because it’s more interested in pleasing Rush’s ghosts than actual people. The party is leaderless right now because nobody has the guts to step outside the rigid parameters enforced by the radio jocks and create a new party identity. The party is losing because it has adopted a radio entertainer’s niche-building strategy, while abandoning the politician’s coalition-building strategy.
Hours after Brooks's piece was published, Kernen went off on the Times columnist (video embedded below the fold, h/t TVNewser):
If you want to become a house "conservative" for the New York Times, the prime rule is that you must treat Rush Limbaugh as well as other talk radio conservatives with utter disdain. In fact it is pretty much a job requirement at the Times as the other house "conservative" there, the conspicuously inconspicuous Ross (Whothat?) Douthat, knows full well when he slammed Limbaugh at the Atlantic magazine a few months before enduring obscurity at the Gray Whale.
The main house "conservative" at the Times, David Brooks, took time from from his "bromantic" stares at Barack Obama's finely creased pant leg, to slam Limbaugh today:
Let us take a trip back into history. Not ancient history. Recent history. It is the winter of 2007. The presidential primaries are approaching. The talk jocks like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and the rest are over the moon about Fred Thompson. They’re weak at the knees at the thought of Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, they are hurling torrents of abuse at the unreliable deviationists: John McCain and Mike Huckabee.
Something truly shocking happened on Sunday's "The Chris Matthews Show": three out of four of his guests said the current anti-government sentiment sweeping the nation is not because Barack Obama is black, and that the news media are actually responsible for exacerbating the suggestion that protesters are racist.
There was even some consensus that the same kind of dissent would be happening if Hillary Clinton was president.
On the flipside, and not at all surprising, Matthews not only didn't agree, but seemed rather disappointed by this viewpoint being expressed (video available here, partial transcript below the fold):
In the first few moments after Barack Obama's speech to Congress on Wednesday night, PBS anchor Jim Lehrer turned to his allegedly liberal vs. conservative duo of pundits, Mark Shields and David Brooks. Shields said the speech was terrific, the best speech of his presidency. Brooks said....the speech was terrific, the best speech of his presidency. Without a Bob Dole flourish about deficits, a viewer would scarcely know there was any difference in opinion.
Shields hailed how Obama had put down the "the slanders and libels" about ObamaCare, and the first words out of the mouth of Brooks? "I agree with Mark." He may not have agreed with the "libels" line, but he never objected to it. He found Obama's exploitation of Ted Kennedy "moving" and then said the center was Obama's "natural milieu." It's too bad conservatives don't seem to have a spokesman on the tax-funded network:
LEHRER: Now we have some reaction to what the president said from Mark Shields and David Brooks. Mark? First, your overview.
This is a love story that has inspired a paean. In fact, to call it mere "love" does not do justice to it. It is a special political love so intense that The New Republic has called it a "bromance" in a story titled, "The Courtship: The story behind the Obama-Brooks bromance" by Gabriel Sherman. Watch how the hot sparks instantly fly at their first meeting:
In the spring of 2005, New York Times columnist David Brooks arrived at then-Senator Barack Obama’s office for a chat. Brooks, a conservative writer who joined the Times in 2003 from The Weekly Standard, had never met Obama before. But, as they chewed over the finer points of Edmund Burke, it didn’t take long for the two men to click. “I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging,” Brooks recently told me, “but usually when I talk to senators, while they may know a policy area better than me, they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me. I got the sense he knew both better than me.”
That first encounter is still vivid in Brooks’s mind. “I remember distinctly an image of--we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,” Brooks says, “and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” In the fall of 2006, two days after Obama’s The Audacity of Hope hit bookstores, Brooks published a glowing Times column. The headline was “Run, Barack, Run.”
Almost every week at the New York Times, house "conservative" David Brooks and liberal columnist Gail Collins have a public conversation. This week Brooks made a startling admission in The Conversation which really wasn't so surprising when one actually reads his columns. Here is the money quote:
At the moment, I feel politically closer to Barack Obama than to House Minority Leader John Boehner (and that’s even while being greatly exercised about the current health care bills).
In today's "That's WAY Too Much Information" segment, New York Times columnist David Brooks claims that while he was dining with a Republican senator, the guy had his hand on Brooks's inner thigh the whole time.
Now, isn't that special?
Requiring no further setup, the following REALLY strange discussion occurred on MSNBC Friday (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
New York Times Book editor Barry Gewen selected Simon Schama's big-think book, "The American Future -- A History" for review in his "Books of the Times" piece on Tuesday, and took condescending aim at Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin in the process.
Columnist David Brooks had some fun with the British-born Schama in his May 24 review, consigning Schama's book to a long line of self-consciously "Brilliant Books" whose authors as a group Brooks satirized:
Along the way, his writing will outstrip his reportage. And as his inability to come up with anything new to say about this country builds, his prose will grow more complex, emotive, gothic, desperate, overheated and nebulous until finally, about two-thirds of the way through, there will be a prose-poem of pure meaninglessness as his brilliance finally breaks loose from the tethers of observation and oozes across the page in a great, gopping goo of pure pretension.
Gewen saw Schama as celebrating a new kind of patriotism "in the age of Barack Obama," far superior to the "belligerent...chauvinism" of Dick Cheney or the "ostentatious flag lapel pin" of Sarah Palin.
Imagine if you had read a column written by a victim of Bernard Madoff's ponzi scheme mocking people who had also fallen prey to the same financier. That was the feeling your humble correspondent had while reading the column of the New York Times "house conservative" David Brooks making fun of how the Obama Administration arm twists corporations to go along with his economic plans. So let us now watch how Obama's prime journalistic victim has himself a good ol' time laughing at how the administration uses "enhanced negotiating techniques" on corporate victims:
Let us give the Barack Obama administration credit. They have run a "professional, smoothly running operation" in setting David Brooks' mind right. Back in early March, Brooks demonstrated a bit of independence from the liberal party line in his role as "house conservative" for the New York Times with this outburst:
Those of us who consider ourselves moderates — moderate-conservative, in my case — are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was. His words are responsible; his character is inspiring. But his actions betray a transformational liberalism that should put every centrist on notice. As Clive Crook, an Obama admirer, wrote in The Financial Times, the Obama budget “contains no trace of compromise. It makes no gesture, however small, however costless to its larger agenda, of a bipartisan approach to the great questions it addresses. It is a liberal’s dream of a new New Deal.”
As a result, the Obama administration dispatched four handlers to work on Brooks to get him back into line. It worked beautifully as you can see in his next column: