September 1, 2012

David Brooks heard no "talk of community and compassionate conservatism" at the GOP convention.

It's embarrassing. He really let his bias show when he said:
[T]here is a flaw in the vision the Republicans offered in Tampa. It is contained in its rampant hyperindividualism. Speaker after speaker celebrated the solitary and heroic individual. There was almost no talk of community and compassionate conservatism. There was certainly no conservatism as Edmund Burke understood it, in which individuals are embedded in webs of customs, traditions, habits and governing institutions.
As Roger L. Simon points out (via Instapundit):
Hello, where were you, David? On Thursday evening, one after the other private citizen came forth to testify to Mitt Romney’s extraordinary personal charity and deep community spirit. I have never seen anything like it at a convention, Republican or Democrat. I don’t know if you would call it Burkean, but you would certainly call it eminently decent and highly laudable. The culmination was Ted and Pat Oparowsky of New Hampshire who recounted how much time and attention the young Mitt Romney gave their son, a child he did not know, when the boy was dying of cancer.
Maybe Brooks skitters away from the part of the web of customs, traditions, habits and governing institutions that is religion.

I'd love to see Brooks write another column and explain — if this is what he thinks — that the compassionate, communitarian activities done within religion don't count as part of a political party's vision for America. Perhaps these activities are like the good things you do for your family and friends. It's a group of insiders, and someone operating within government needs a "vision" that relates to the whole community, not to groups that give each other special treatment.

But I don't think he'll be able to prop up his old Edmund Burke ventriloquist doll to say that. Brooks will need to come out and say it on his own. And then we can judge whether David Brooks represents conservatism (even for NYT op-ed page purposes).

111 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

I guess he doesn't give Romney credit for working w/o pay for 20+ hours a week for years as a lay minister. If only the job was called "community Organizer" :)

rhhardin said...

Compassionate conservatism means economic theory sabotaged to make it appeal to women.

The Crack Emcee said...

Maybe Brooks skitters away from the part of the web of customs, traditions, habits and governing institutions that is religion.

Well, that WOULD make him unique, wouldn't it?

The Drill SGT said...

Alternately you could do a table of charitable contributions for each of the 4 candidates. Clearly the GOP message is that community is better than government in delivering help to the needy

rhhardin said...

At the local university long ago:

Parents' car: Excuse me, where is Burke Hall?

Me [adding an unnecessary extra turn]: Do you want Kenneth or Edmund?

Parents' car: [doesn't know]

Me: You probably want Edmund. It's down there ....

Leland said...

Ignoring, as Brooks is doing, Romney's history of charitable work and community involvement; I'd just like to ask in relation to Obama and all his talk, when does Obama show compassion to his own family? Even his own brother?

Obama, lots of promise, no action. But for Brooks, I guess the promise is all that counts.

Robert Cook said...

So, a line up of speakers drafted to give tribute to Mitt, the invididual, running for President, for his great humanity and charity is the example missed by Brooks of the Republicans extolling the virtues of community?

Hahahahaha!

"Community" is not about some purportedly (in the case of Mitt) virtuous individual giving of his time and effort to those around him...it's about the interconnectedness and interdependency of all of us with all of us. It's the very antithesis of the bogus "great man of history" idea.

EDH said...

The late Stephen Covey writes about 2 kinds of people: one type is all about themselves and their success. The other type works as hard as they can – and certainly succeeds, but their success is motivated by doing good for others. That's how I see Governor Romney.

Jane Edmonds, Former Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development, addresses the 2012 Republican National Convention.

America's Politico said...

Just returned from Tampa with the red-head from Harvard and the others from the WH, DNC, Super-K-Street, we are so excited as we head to Charlotte.

A few things that we all observed - you did too.

- No-one on this planet will watch Eastwood movies again.
- His line: You have to let go who does not do a job, will now always apply to HIM. Take that, Clint!
- The Empty Chair is Occupied by the best and greatest POTUS. The WH tweet is now shown on Mars with Curiosity.
- Ryan will be destroyed by Biden speech. Biden debates will make Ryan a wetter in public.
- The keynote by Obama will be so far reaching that it will be heard on Mars and beyond our solar system.

GOP is finished. GOP is toast. The worse people in the GOP are Romney and Ryan. Hollywood just lost actor. Who will pay for Clint's expenses and so no now will watch his movies.

The empty chair is on e-bay and no one wants to buy. Why? Because it is an UN-American chair. The chair is in WH and you saw the tweet by WH.

creeley23 said...

When I first started reading Brooks, I appreciated his civil, reasonable, and educated tone.

But after a while, I realized I was just appreciating the crease in his pants.

rhhardin said...

Compassionate conservatism: the law of the jingle (Lex ostentatoris).

America's Politico said...

Just returned from Tampa with the red-head from Harvard and the others from the WH, DNC, Super-K-Street, we are so excited as we head to Charlotte.

A few things that we all observed - you did too.

- No-one on this planet will watch Eastwood movies again.
- His line: You have to let go who does not do a job, will now always apply to HIM. Take that, Clint!
- The Empty Chair is Occupied by the best and greatest POTUS. The WH tweet is now shown on Mars with Curiosity.
- Ryan will be destroyed by Biden speech. Biden debates will make Ryan a wetter in public.
- The keynote by Obama will be so far reaching that it will be heard on Mars and beyond our solar system.

GOP is finished. GOP is toast. The worse people in the GOP are Romney and Ryan. Hollywood just lost actor. Who will pay for Clint's expenses and so no now will watch his movies.

The empty chair is on e-bay and no one wants to buy. Why? Because it is an UN-American chair. The chair is in WH and you saw the tweet by WH.

kentuckyliz said...

Dichotomy: individual - government.

Reality: voluntary associations including religion, fraternal organizations, issue groups, neighborhood groups, etc. These organizations and their role in life is largely overlooked in the dichotomy arguments.

The human person and society, - including the principle of subsidiarity - Ann, do you teach anything about this kind of stuff in your religion and law classes?

America's Politico said...

And other thing Mr. Eastwood.

We own the WH till Jan. 2017. Do not forget ti. Americans have already entrusted us to own the WH.

The chair is in the Oval Room in the WH, which we own till Jan. 2017.

CrankyProfessor said...

What's the big mystery?
He Laphamized the event - the copy was submitted before the convention actually took place.

khesanh0802 said...

Can you imagine how insecure Brooks must feel working as the tame conservative for the NYT? If he goes over the line with his liberal bosses he is a gone goose. Who in the conservative universe is going to hire a guy who has been flacking for the NYT? More likely to ride him out of town on a rail! I used to enjoy his writing before he joined NYT, but have lost all respect for him.
CK

Big Mike said...

And then we can judge whether David Brooks represents conservatism.

I think most of us long ago reached our judgement regarding Mr. Brooks.

Tank said...

Brooks is not a conservative.

End of story.

kentuckyliz said...

This is not a tweet of a confident man

Yup...he signalled how scared he is. Clint got under his skin.

He built that chair.

I want Bill Clinton's speech to be a revenge-dish-best-served-cold one-liner:

It's the economy, stupid!

Pogo said...

Brooks: Nice work if you can get it.

Like Krugman, he has about 7 basic article templates.

On this one he just changed the date.

He's James Taylor, playing Fire and Rain for the millionth time.

Awesome said...

The reason Brooks didn't hear what he says he didn't hear is because he and his ilk were "BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH" the whole fucking time the convention was going on. The only thing he heard was the sound of his own asinine voice.

carrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paco Wové said...

"Brooks is not a conservative."

More of a gelding, I'd say.

""Community" is not about some purportedly (in the case of Mitt) virtuous individual giving of his time and effort..."

You apparently filtered out the community context that inculcated and furthered those individual actions. Or maybe it is just more obvious to someone like myself who has lived in a mormon-dominated community.

Quayle said...

So, Chuck Schumer and Barney Frank et. al. keep trying to tell us that government is what we do when we do things together.

But so what. So are businesses. So are churches.

So I would rephrase their talking point and say, government is what we do when we do things to each other under the absolute power of the state.

Then we have the Elizabeth Warren line of reasoning, in which the business owner is told, with great sanctimony, that they didn't build that on their own, they used the public roads and rails to ship their product.

Leaving aside that the business owners had the servant government build the roads for the business - the government didn't build the roads to enable you to start your business (how many 8 lane freeways in the middle of Kansas?).

If Elizabeth Warren wants to tell Steve Jobs that he didn't build that himself, under the same reasoning she better tell each and every iPod and iPad owner that they also owe more because they didn't purchase that by themselves.

I tell ya, these people are the masters of the half point - masters of the incomplete thought.

retail lawyer said...

The convention seemed to me to celebrate the businessman - which is OK at this time since prosperity and way out of this mess depends on businesspeople. The problem is that not everyone can be a businessman and the Joe the Plumbers (those not wanting to start their own business) could easily have felt alienated. Business people are important, even special, in a capitalist society, and the convention needed to explain why in a way that could allow or even promote the dignity of those who just want a damn job.

Big Mike said...

"Community" is not about some purportedly (in the case of Mitt) virtuous individual giving of his time and effort to those around him...it's about the interconnectedness and interdependency of all of us with all of us. It's the very antithesis of the bogus "great man of history" idea.

Well, most of us would look at the impact that certain individuals have had -- for better or worse -- in their respective times and places and debate the level of bogusity with you.

But the real bug in your patchwork quilt of ideas is that "community" and "government" are even closely connected. And they are particularly disconnected when applied to a country as large and diverse as the United States. Try asking farmers in the Dakotas what they think about regulations crafted by petty bureaucrats in Washington who have never been west of the Blue Ridge except in a plane on the way to California. If your mind were open -- and the only minds more tightly shut than yours belong to Creationists whom I've met -- you might learn something.

Richard said...

Who is David Brooks?

Quayle said...

There is a reason we have no record in American history of a U.S. Department of Barn Raising.

Bruce Hayden said...

"Community" is not about some purportedly (in the case of Mitt) virtuous individual giving of his time and effort to those around him...it's about the interconnectedness and interdependency of all of us with all of us. It's the very antithesis of the bogus "great man of history" idea.

I think that this is indicia that he really isn't a conservative, but rather his "compassionate conservatism" is really "democrat lite".

It still comes down to who do you want to depend on to provide a safety net and to provide community services - individuals and small groups? Or a large central government? Brooks seems to wish the latter, but just a little less than his friends who are liberals.

What I don't think that Brooks sees, is that a lot of the problems in this country are precisely because of attempts by the left to socialize problems, and have the entire, national, community try to solve them. Most notable of these failures (so far), I think, has been LBJ's Great Society, and its War on Poverty, that managed to almost completely destroy family structure through much of the lower classes during the last 40 years, hitting the Black community the worst - and the resulting drug and crime problems. Why are our prisons full of black men? Primarily, I would argue, because of generational government supported out-of-wedlock childrearing. And, this is just one of the examples of the evils of government provided communitarianism.

edutcher said...

I don't doubt Brooks wanted some Compassionate conservatism.

That's was Dubya's domestic initiative. They'd love to do the next 2 months talking about a return to "Mission Accomplished" and "torture".

PS somebody tell AP the White House belongs to the people, not the Demos.

That's the mistake they made in MA.

ricpic said...

It's surreal that statist Brooks promotes community as the web of associations that are weakened, deliberately I might add, as the state horns in on the territory those free associations normally fill.

Steve Austin said...

David Brooks is simply our sides version of Juan Williams, Allen Colmes or Kirsten Powers. A non threatening prop for the NYT to put out there so they can claim they are balanced.

There are usually about one or two similar individuals who have been employed at UW Law over last 40 years. They are touted as the conservatives on the faculty, but in reality they usually are independents because having a number of real conservatives on the faculty would pose an existential threat to the club.

furious_a said...

Who in the conservative universe is going to hire a guy who has been flacking for the NYT?

WSJ have run colums from pet liberals (Al Hunt, Robert Franks, now Alan Blinder). They could probably squeeze him in the rotation the way Fox upgraded Juan Williams' status. Saturday review section could use some punch.

Bruce Hayden said...

And then we can judge whether David Brooks represents conservatism (even for NYT op-ed page purposes).

I think that he pretty clearly no longer does. Conservatism took a right turn, and he stayed on the right side of the left running bus. As I noted above, he appears to me to be a Democrat lite, which was fine when conservatism was trying to pretend to be just that - a slightly more pragmatic version of the prevailing liberal politics.

But, two closely related things have intervened to disrupt this former cozy relationship. First, Obama was elected President, and with a solid Democratic Congress behind him (or leading him), he shifted the federal government hard left. Not only did the 110th and 111th Congresses (the two that the Democrats fully controlled) crank up spending by 5% of GDP, but Obama's interventionist agency heads have tried to completely recast the federal government. Plus, the level of crony capitalism under them has grown to obscene levels. Throw in the most corrupt Department of Justice in our memories. All partially a result of "compassionate conservatives" like Brooks going along to get along.

The other factor is that the Dems have completely mangled the economy. First, they caused the financial crisis in the first place by trying to democratize home ownership, regardless of ability to repay. And when this hair-brained scheme came off the rails, figured that throwing $5 trillion or more of borrowed money at the problem would solve it. Of course, it failed miserably, because their version of Keynes is really wishful thinking economics - if they just shovel enough borrowed money at their friends, families, and cronies, the recession will magically go away, and their friends, families, and cronies will be rich as a incidental advantage. But, of course, it failed miserably, and we have had over 8% unemployment for longer than most in this country have ever seen, while blowing through that $5+ trillion, with no end in sight, unless, and until, this country takes a hard right had turn.

What Brooks missed, being ensconced within a liberal echo chamber is that the country in general, and the Republican party in particular, is taking an abrupt right hand turn, moving from Democrat Lite to anti-big-government, partially, I think, because doing slightly less of what got us into this mess in the first place isn't going to get us out of it, just won't run up the tab quite as quickly.

Geoff Matthews said...

I'm wondering how the papers didn't find these stories from Romney's past, but they did find the story about the forced haircut.

CWJ said...

Carrie @8:57

Very well put. I would add that America used to be covered by adult volunteer organizations - Jaycees, Kiwanis, rotary, lions, elks, moose, etc. Their shells still live but by and large they are hardly the vital force they once were. Most of our hospitals were built out of civic impulse . Whether by Catholics, Lutherans, Jews or whomever.

Community grew out of each community. Even the slums of a hundred years ago may have had more sense of community than today's inner cities. It's a testament to how thoroughly modern governmental compassion has destroyed prior institutions that communities have to be professionally created and that this form of compassion, and only this form, is what Brooks recognizes.

We have to be hectored to give more to the professionally compassionate, rather than celebrated for getting our own hands dirty doing what we can day by day in our own uncredentialed, uncertified way.

furious_a said...

But the real bug in your patchwork quilt of ideas is that "community" and "government" are even closely connected.

"Community" is voluntary, "Government" is coercive.

Jason said...

I didn't hear Romney express the proper amount of reverence for the Borg.

bagoh20 said...

Why do people keep reading this guy's stuff, and discussing it like it's worth the time. If he wasn't anointed as an "intellectual" you would just accept that he's wrong more than right, label him a fool, and ignore him. It's the tribalism of elites that even makes him employable at all.

EMD said...

Individuals made this the best fucking country on the planet, and individuals will have to do it again.

Bruce Hayden said...

Why do people keep reading this guy's stuff, and discussing it like it's worth the time. If he wasn't anointed as an "intellectual" you would just accept that he's wrong more than right, label him a fool, and ignore him. It's the tribalism of elites that even makes him employable at all.

Nice question, and I think that the answer is that, up until the Obama Administration, he was our "intellectual". He was supposedly our representative with the NY intelligentsia.

But, philosophically, he never really was our representative, rather, that was just what was sold to us. He showcased a slightly more pragmatic version of the prevailing progressive big government theme of the day, and when that failed, big time, missed the right hand turn taken by the rest of us.

And, maybe he is emblematic of a lot that was (and probably continues to be) wrong with the Republican party. They spent most of the last 80 years as a Congressional minority, with the Dems calling the tune, and economically, at least, the Republicans just moderating around the edges. And, yes, while they were working around the edges, the Republican politicians were able to get theirs too, taking a little here and there to make their heroic sacrifice of public service worth it for them.

Maybe if 9/11 hadn't happened, GWB would not have lost interest in domestic politics, trading off support for the war by the Dems for not opposing their move to the left in Congress. But, 9/11 did happen, we went to war, and Bush allowed the Dems to control the domestic agenda - to our dismay and cost.

AprilApple said...

In the end, the lone faux conservative at the NYT will always come back to the sharp crease in Obama's slacks. Come worship.

The pro-Obama media don't need to pay attention to facts on the ground, just regurgitate bullshit that fits the pro-democrat narrative.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Usually when you see something embedded in a web, it's about to be sucked dry.

caplight45 said...

For the Lib/Progs if the government didn't do it then it doesn't count. In fact it is as if it never happened. Sane for MSM when they write their stories. This bias is so bad that I think anymore it is a though it doesn't even count if a state or local government does something if it doesn't have Federal dollars involved. Why? Because life for them is all inside the Beltway.

Richard Dolan said...

Brooks is more interesting than the comments here suggest. News flash: you'll understand your own brand of 'conservatism' better if you take his seriously. Ann is quite right to focus on him, and not just because of his prominent perch.

Brooks strikes me as a guy who thinks the concept of 'civil society' is useful but oversold. He accepts the goals and some of the values typically stressed by conservatives -- a preference for small gov't over big, fiscal prudence over 'spend now, pay later,' etc., and starts with a skeptical view of grand gov't claims. But he also thinks that the idea of 'civil society' is inadequate as a solution to many of today's problems -- volunteerism has its limits as well as its benefits, and is definitely not a realistic solution (even though it is a positive good) for the social ills that are all around us.

Health care is one of his usual bug-bears. He certainly sees the manifest problems with the usual Dem big-gov't solutions but he doesn't much care for what (I think) he regards as 'free market' happy-talk by the Rep side. He wants an honest answer to the problem of how you provide decent health care for millions who can't pay for it, and does not think either side is offering one.

That's just a for-instance -- it's the inadequacy of community based volunteerism that is at the core. I don't think Brooks disdains religion, or Romney' obvious personal generosity and kindness. But as a practical solution to today's problems, I think he would regard it as unserious, almost a way of dodging the real problem that those who aspire to lead the gov't have to address.

Perhaps a better term for him would be 'skeptical pragmatist' -- after all, that used to be a central idea of American conservatism.

I often don't agree with much of what Brooks has to say, but I think his focus on dismissing partisan happy-talk and demanding solutions that can address real problems is exactly right.

Eric said...

"Compassionate conservatism" was a term coined by 2000 GWB campaign for programs that aren't conservative at all, like NCLB and Medicare part D. I would have been happier if Romney said "Oh, and by the way, there will be no compassionate conservatism in my administration".

Freeman Hunt said...

I know people who volunteer over twenty hours a week. I know people who give well over 10% of their income to the poor.

How odd that all of them are voting for the same person. Guess who?

Freeman Hunt said...

I take that back. There is one person who does that, and I don't know who she is voting for, but it could well be the other guy.

Freeman Hunt said...

(But ALL of them do these services through their religious groups.)

Michael K said...

"They spent most of the last 80 years as a Congressional minority, with the Dems calling the tune, and economically, at least, the Republicans just moderating around the edges. And, yes, while they were working around the edges, the Republican politicians were able to get theirs too, taking a little here and there to make their heroic sacrifice of public service worth it for them. "

One big problem the Republicans had was that the Congressional wing, during the 1920s when they were in power, was concerned with issues like tariffs that no longer mattered when the Depression got going. Roosevelt was wrong about economic policy but nobody had any better ideas. Now, we do. We are starting to get new histories of the Depression and why it happened. It has taken a long time but books like Amity Schlaes' The Forgotten Man will show a lot of people why Roosevelt was wrong and Obama is. I'm still waiting for her new book about Coolidge, which was supposed to be out last spring. I wonder if she is rewriting part of it to include the Obama experience.

Anyway, we now have better ideas on how to deal with panics, which is what 2008 was. Nobody remembers the Depression of 1920-21 because it didn't happen. Harding and the GOP Congress averted it but didn't realize that the lesson was there for the future. Romney knows.

Paco Wové said...

"How odd that all of them are voting for the same person. Guess who?"

Oh, that's just partisan happy-talk, Freeman. Dismissed!

grackle said...

I'd love to see Brooks write another column and explain …

Fat chance.

David Brooks is simply our sides version of Juan Williams, Allen Colmes or Kirsten Powers.

I disagree with the analogy. Williams, Colmes and Powers are real liberals honestly offering their actual opinion and provide a valuable role by presenting some needed counterpoint to the prevailing conservative viewpoint of FoxNews. I like being able to hear the other side's opinion because I sometimes learn something valuable about issues.

But Brooks is simply a Progressive that stumbled into the conservative camp and lingered there awhile because of career considerations. After he obtained the post at the NYT he quickly reverted to his true beliefs. Consider him an intellectual(I use the word loosely) mercenary with Progressive tendencies but available to the side that offers the best career enhancements. Of course a major reversal(from conservative to liberal or vice versa) is only good once and cannot be undone. He bet on the wrong horse when he jumped on the Progressive bandwagon and now sees his legacy and reputation threatened by a Romney/Ryan/conservative ascendance.

Sam L. said...

I always get David Brooks and David Brock mixed up. This. Is. Why.

America's Politico is well named. He channels Politico so well!
Go, AP, go!

Tank said...

Brooks:

I'm not a conservative, I just play one at the NYT.

wyo sis said...

"It's the inadequacy of community based volunteerism that is at the core. I don't think Brooks disdains religion, or Romney' obvious personal generosity and kindness. But as a practical solution to today's problems, I think he would regard it as unserious, almost a way of dodging the real problem that those who aspire to lead the gov't have to address."


And that's exactly the kind of thinking that gets us to big government. He misunderstands the American concept of limited government. It would be a very good thing if he got over the notion that government can do better what people should do for themselves and others.

If he finds that unserious it's because he's steeped in liberal thinking and has lost his faith in people.

Michael K said...

"Health care is one of his usual bug-bears. He certainly sees the manifest problems with the usual Dem big-gov't solutions but he doesn't much care for what (I think) he regards as 'free market' happy-talk by the Rep side. He wants an honest answer to the problem of how you provide decent health care for millions who can't pay for it, and does not think either side is offering one. "

The answer is you can't. When government tries to, they get infinite demand. The result is rationing which turns out like all attempts at central planning. The British seem to accept rationing with all its incredible blunders, like the 4 hour rule for ER patients, with more passivity than Americans would. The most demanding patients any American doctor sees are Medicaid patients, who are paying nothing or very little.

For those unfamiliar with the NHS, the 4 hour rule was that hospitals had to provide a bed for ER patients admitted within 4 hours of arriving in the ER. The hospitals solved that by not allowing ambulance patients into the ER until they could meet the 4 hour rule. Parking lots were filled with ambulances waiting for the ER to accept the patients.

Don't believe me ? Here.

The alternative is to go back to sensible market-based solutions and not try to do the impossible.

caplight45 said...

Richard Dolan, Thank you for you analysis of Brooks. What you describe in some ways reminds me of a Republican from the Nixon era (no ill will intended by the use of "Nixon"). It would be hard today to call that conservative unless it was understood in the context of its time. Brooks seems to be pre-Reagan.

JAL said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JAL said...

Yeah, well. He already had the Talking Points given to him.

So he didn't listen to the speakers. Pshwaa... what do they know. It's only their lives (and deaths) they were talking about!

No compassion. No community. Evil Republicans.

Hysterical. Absolutely hysterical.

Question -- who would YOU want as your neighbors:

The folks, including Romney, Eastwood, the Oparowskys -- from the RNC?

OR

The harpies and the self-important, smarter than everyone else, close-fisted nanny snobs from the DNC?

I know. Dumb question. But think about it.

Penny said...

Didn't read the Brooks Op Ed. I didn't need to, because I heard him say nearly the same thing while he was commenting during the convention for PBS.

Being a channel flipper, and just happening to PBS a moment before he said this, I had this strange sense that I was in some parallel universe. What he said was so completely out of line with what actually happened at the convention that night. ????

Penny said...

Then, as luck would have it, the camera panned from Brooks to Judy Woodruff, who looked like a deer in the headlights.

At least Judy and I were in the same universe.

Rusty said...

Richard said...
Who is David Brooks?


Chris Mathews girl friend

Penny said...

Anyway, I hung around at PBS for another few minutes, and Brooks righted his rignt-wing in his very next comment on another topic.

WHEW! Nice recovery fella.

Penny said...

OK, so all of that brings me back to what the CrankyProfessor said earlier in this post.

The article was written BEFORE the convention.

Roger J. said...

David Brooks is the kind of "conservative" that upper east side Manhattanites like to invite to cocktail parties to demonstrate their inclusiveness.

Bender said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bender said...

9/11 did happen, we went to war, and Bush allowed the Dems to control the domestic agenda - to our dismay and cost

And by "Dems," you mean John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Trent Lott, Arlen Specter, Lincoln Chafee, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Chuck Hagel, George Voinovich, Mel Martinez, John Warner, Richard Lugar, Lamar Alexander, Mike DeWine, Frank Murkowski, Lisa Murkowski, Ted Stevens . . .

(And that's just in the Senate alone.)

That is the Congress that George W. Bush had to deal with.

Bush didn't betray conservativism -- practically half of the "Republicans" in Congress chopped conservativism off at the knees, and Bush took what he could get while having to placate and appease them, and still having them undermine Bush and conservativism at every turn.

Phil 3:14 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil 3:14 said...

I like David Brooks but he wants conservatives to be nicer. Unfortunately, he uses the reactions of those on the left as his gauge for "nice"

wef said...

One wonders if david brooks is not unbalanced sometimes. After years of power-worship and general lickspittle suck-up lewinskying, perhaps he is finished

dreams said...

Someday David Brooks and conservative leaders/pundits will have to face the fact that he has evolved into a liberal. When I hear or read David Brooks being portrayed or referred to as a conservative, it burns me up.

Once upon a time, maybe.

Cedarford said...

Robert Cook - Hahahahaha!

"Community" is not about some purportedly (in the case of Mitt) virtuous individual giving of his time and effort to those around him...it's about the interconnectedness and interdependency of all of us with all of us. It's the very antithesis of the bogus "great man of history" idea.


Cook, you really are a clueless jackass.
The whole thing about the church networks, service organizations like the Lions, and the community networks (many set up by George Romney in the 70s and 80s, so you know) is all about the "interconnectiveness and connectivity".

And socialists like you and Obama forget that when many the Heroes of the Federal Government, Kathleen Blancos state government, and Ray Nagins crowd of hero-bozo city government employees fell flat on their faces.....It was the church and civic organizations that did work, did not falter, and did most of the heavy lifting. The only groups of government workers that were actually worth a shit were the Coast Guard, General Honore`s National Guard, and Louisiana Fish & Game that had savvy creoles and cajuns on staff, not NOLA rejects.

Mississippi, where the hurricane actually hit, had government employees that were far better in performing. But they were led by Republicans.

n.n said...

We need to end "out-of-sight and out-of-mind" policies which have concentrated wealth in the hands of a few indigents and a majority with service providers. Our focus should be on rehabilitation and not corruptio0n of individuals and society. Involuntary exploitation, or redistributive change, is not a solution for the long-term. Only voluntary exploitation, in the form of economic exchange and charitable works is capable of preserving individual dignity and mitigating progressive (i.e. cultural) corruption.

We need equitable trade, not "free" trade. We need to end the invasion by illegal aliens, which only serves to displace Americans, and obfuscate causal issues. Individuals on welfare need to accept the "jobs that Americans will not do." We need domestic resource recovery and production. We need to end open-ended military engagements throughout the world. We need to reject dreams of instant gratification (i.e. physical, material, ego) and anyone who promises their fulfillment.

There is a comprehensive problem with definite causes that needs to be addressed, and both progressive corruption and corruption in the exception which it defends must be resolved before any positive change will be possible.

Cedarford said...

caplight45 said...
Richard Dolan, Thank you for you analysis of Brooks. What you describe in some ways reminds me of a Republican from the Nixon era (no ill will intended by the use of "Nixon"). It would be hard today to call that conservative unless it was understood in the context of its time. Brooks seems to be pre-Reagan.

==================
Many Republicans are as tawdry as Democrats were in the early 90s about the One Godlike Democrat...or at least God's agent on Earth against the Forces of Darkness in King Arthur being exemplified in John F Kennedy.

Hallowed be his name. And all his white knights of Camelot!!

Now 25 years past when Reagan was in office...we have pathetic Republicans that want all the Sacred Reagan ideas and personal mannerisms copied down to a whisker of fidelity....
Just as Gary Hart and John F. Kennedy practiced their JFK mannerisms, speech patterns and all his anachronistic 60s ideas said to be the only true way a true Democrat should think - in front of their mirrors.

As was, Nixon was far more a fiscal conservative than Reagan. Reagan, who said tax cuts pay for themselves and deficits don't matter and jobs would never leave America because the Americans could outcompete and outproduce any item for the cheapest price at the highest quality. And would lead the world in high tech manufacturing of things the Chinese and Japanese could not make...like computers, blue jeans, the new briefcases with high tech wireless phones. By golly, anything America wanted to compete in, they would win! Best workers in the world in cost and quality!!

Nixon thought that was all crap.

CWJ said...

I just noticed that carrie romoved her 8:57 post. I wonder why. It was a spot on piece of analysis.

yashu said...

Ross Douthat-- though I don't read him much once he got the NYT gig-- does seem to walk that tightrope ("conservative" at the NYT) with more skill and integrity than Brooks. Douthat does tell his NYT readers-- gently, politely, diplomatically-- things they don't want to hear. Brooks, not so much: he tends just to confirm what they already "know."

Kirk Parker said...

Goeff,

"I'm wondering..."

No you aren't! ;-)


Richard Dolan,

Imagine--after decades and decades of concerted effort to drive non-governmental solutions out, those that remain are no longer adequate to the needs. Who could have imagined this result?

RonF said...

Liberals distrust religion, voluntary civic institutions and local government. Those organizations are free to reflect the views and morals of the people who make them up and cannot be controlled by outsiders. But the Federal government can be used to control charities, entitlements, etc. nationwide so that they can be conformed to the liberal worldview.

crosspatch said...

I am going to have to assume that Brooks only watched the speeches televised on a major network and didn't watch the whole feed. For example:

This speech on YouTube

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

America's Politico said...
And other thing Mr. Eastwood.

We own the WH till Jan. 2017. Do not forget ti. Americans have already entrusted us to own the WH.


Good to see that you do understand you're just renting.

Many is the landlord who counts down the days of a lease he wishes he had not granted, but must still live up to.

Fearsome Pirate said...

To Brooks, "community" is government. So all the things you might do voluntarily don't count; the only thing that counts is either voting for or being a politician who promises to be charitable on your behalf with others' money.

bgates said...

It's the inadequacy of community based volunteerism that is at the core

Why settle for cheap volunteer efforts that make our problems only slightly better when we have bankruptcy-inducing federal programs that are making the problems vastly worse?

Matt Frey said...

If only Mitt wore freshly pressed pants. Remember, creases count.

Harmon said...

Robin Cook: ""Community" is not about some purportedly (in the case of Mitt) virtuous individual giving of his time and effort to those around him...it's about the interconnectedness and interdependency of all of us with all of us.'

Actually, what Mitt does is essential to community. It's what happens to establish "interconnectedness and interdependency". The words have no meaning without people like Mitt.

And you couldn't resist that "purportedly," could you? Can't have anyone thinking that it is possible for someone to be virtuous. No wonder you don't get it.

currently said...

Who cares what Brooks said?

Didn't read the comments and expect anyone to read mine.

You probably shouldn't even mention the idiot.

dfooter said...

A real question, why does anyone take Brooks seriously? He's the pet "conservative" of the left, but since he is only right of center by NY Times standards, no one on the right should (or most likely does) care what he thinks. And since the left doesn't have any respect for right of center values, even pretend ones, they can't take him seriously. Plus most of them aren't so deluded as to think he represents real right of center views. So who cares? Why write about him as if what he writes matters? Why not consign him to the loopy stable to which he belongs, Krugman, Dowd, etc.

Harmon said...

Fearsome Pirate said...
To Brooks, "community" is government. So all the things you might do voluntarily don't count; the only thing that counts is either voting for or being a politician who promises to be charitable on your behalf with others' money.

It kind of fits in with the dearth of charitable giving by liberals. They seem think that paying their taxes somehow satisfies their charitable obligations. Which is why, I suppose, they are willing to pay higher taxes than conservatives. Maybe it evens out. But it's not the same thing.

Retired Prosecutor said...

Only in the fever-swamps of the editorial board of the Grey Lady is someone like David Brooks considered a conservative.

Lee Reynolds said...

Reynolds' Rule of Journalistic Integrity:

Never attribute to bias that which is adequately explained by dishonesty.

David said...

Journalism is ever so much easier when others write your copy for you.
Most journalists are forgotten soon after they stop writing.
A few, like Brooks, are forgotten before they stop writing.

David said...

Journalism is ever so much easier when others write your copy for you.
Most journalists are forgotten soon after they stop writing.
A few, like Brooks, are forgotten before they stop writing.

Toren said...

Cedarford:
Nixon does not get a lot of credit he deserves (SALT, for example) but a fiscal conservative he was not--Wage and Price Controls," anyone?

Erik Robert Nelson said...

Brooks, like most political/media elites, simply doesn't get religion or the effect that religion has on its community. For many liberals, religious institutions exist in some strange limbo apart from civil society that they'd like to forget about (and do forget about, as Brooks did here).

Most Americans, on the other hand, engage the world far more frequently through their churches than through "political activism" more common on the Left. The mistake is thinking that these things are somehow different one from the other. It's all social engagement, all part of civil society.

Part of the Left's moral superiority is thinking that they're so much more socially engaged than the right, and so much more compassionate. This is an illusion. Most on the Left talk a great deal and emote far more, but actually do very little. Many on the right are more like Mitt--they do more, and talk/emote less. Clint even made that particular point, though in reference to conservatives in Hollywood. But it applies to conservatives on other points as well. These differences in culture are real. Brooks isn't a conservative, which is why he's blind to it.

currently said...

I say we ignore him along with the rest of the leftist media.

Our side is always up in arms about what someone on the left has said (or Brooks, Coulter, Noonan, Parker, Boehner, Rove, A Bushie, McConnel, Frum Frick & Frack).

Ignore their idiotic commentary and I guarantee we'll hear less of it.

At least quit giving it so much heft.

Let's talk about our agenda instead.

Tom from Virginia said...

What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass. How about that.

Micha Elyi said...

<blockquote>He [David Brooks] wants an honest answer to the problem of how you provide decent health care for millions who can't pay for it, and does not think either side is offering one.
--Richard Dolan</blockquote>

That's because there isn't one.

Think about it. If there are "millions who can't pay for it" - the "it" being [insert name of economic good here] - then the millions of taxpayers can't pay for it either. (Duh.)

Why do candidates of both incumbent parties dodge that question? Because the first one to tell the unvarnished truth will be demogogued by all the others. Face it, if 54% of the voters rewarded honesty in their politicians Obama would not be president.

If you want better politicians, get busy on producing better voters.

 
Your HTML cannot be accepted: Tag is not allowed: BLOCKQUOTE

R.C. said...

Why do people never get it?

Government is what we do together, WHEN WE'RE POINTING GUNS AT ONE ANOTHER.

Volunteerism and private charity and church membership and civic organization membership and business and festivals and celebrations and neighborhood watch and whatever else are also things we do together, when it isn't something that warrants us pointing guns to compel one another.

Some doofus (name of Robert Cook) earlier on this thread suggested that Mitt's assistance to his friends and family and his religious involvement somehow wasn't communitarian because an individual did it.

How silly. That would be like saying that government passing a law was an "individualistic act" because it involved a lot of individuals in Congress voting for the bill.

Of course when a subsidiary community within a larger solidarity acts, individuals are the ones doing the actual decisions and actions: Individual humans are free-willed actors, and the larger groups' "actions" are precipitated by the people within them making decisions. When a flock of birds flies south, it's because each bird is flying south. But inasmuch as they're participating in the flock and doing it as members of the flock, "the flock is flying south."

And of course if a particular bird joins the group not because he wants to, but because another bird threatened to lock him up or blow his brains out if he didn't, that bird's participation in the group is only for show: His heart isn't in it. That's the difference between us "doing things together" voluntarily, and "doing things together" when compelled. That's the difference between volunteerism and government.

Subsidiarity and Solidarity. If you're doin' them right, they don't contradict, and healthy society results. If you're doing 'em wrong, you had to pull out a gun and compel one at the expense of the other, and society suffers.

Mitt's community spirit is exhibited by the charity and civic virtue he exercises as a dad, as a Mormon, as a friend, as a business leader. That's how interconnectedness is shown.

Only leftists fail to get that, because the only time they help one another is when forced, or tempted by the excitement of forcing someone else.

Joe Schmoe said...

Douthat does tell his NYT readers-- gently, politely, diplomatically-- things they don't want to hear.

Douthat is the only conservative op-ed writer at the Times. Similar to Jeff Jacoby at the Boston Globe, the fishwrap which also belongs to the NYT company.

Brooks fancies himself as some sort of original pragmatist, but he's just a mushy moderate, a tool pinballing between the two parties. His ideas are usually just sops to each party because he thinks that would get something done. He doesn't understand that something, anything, is not worth doing unless done well.

Erik Robert Nelson, you make an excellent point above. Well said.

DEEBEE said...

Stop picking on David. At Mitt;s level to show he is really compassionate as he portrays himself he has to prorpose several new dependency programs that the Govt. can spend money on. At least say how he is going to finance these new programs by taxing the 1% below the top 1%

SDN said...

"It's the very antithesis of the bogus "great man of history" idea."

Translation: my side has raised mediocrity to an art form, so of course the idea of individual merit is bogus. Cook, you are a prime example.

jr565 said...

Big Mike wrote:
I think most of us long ago reached our judgement regarding Mr. Brooks.


Wasn't Brooks one of those really smart republicans (/sarc) who voted for Obama last time? If he wasn't, he might as well have been.
Hey speaking of complete a holes has anybody heard from Christopher Buckley in the last few years?

I still remember this one quite fondly:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2008/10/10/the-conservative-case-for-obama.html

It almost reminds me of Althouse's rationalizations. So how did that work out Chris?

Lindsey Meadows said...

Personal donations to charity (albeit all of it to the church), treating the help well, and being a good father and faithful husband are nice character traits but they are NOT public policy traits.

Mr. Brooks seems to point out the difference and it isn't bias. It is fact.

Lindsey Meadows said...

The Drill SGT said...
Alternately you could do a table of charitable contributions for each of the 4 candidates. Clearly the GOP message is that community is better than government in delivering help to the needy"

contrare.

Mitten's charitable giving is to his church not to the food kitchen.

If the wealthy do such a good job at charity, why do we have so many homeless and undernourished? How does that work out in your great observation.

jr565 said...

From Buckleys infamous column:
But having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves. If he raises taxes and throws up tariff walls and opens the coffers of the DNC to bribe-money from the special interest groups against whom he has (somewhat disingenuously) railed during the campaign trail, then he will almost certainly reap a whirlwind that will make Katrina look like a balmy summer zephyr.

MY ass! My guess, Christopher Buckley will vote for the guy AGAIN!
Obama has in him—I think, despite his sometimes airy-fairy “We are the people we have been waiting for” silly rhetoric—the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for.
We are the ones we've been waiting for right Chris? You said it was silly rhetoric, but then all but repeat it as a reason to vote for the far lefty.

jr565 said...

Lindsey Meadows wrote:
If the wealthy do such a good job at charity, why do we have so many homeless and undernourished? How does that work out in your great observation.

If the govt does such a good job on the war on poverty, why do we have so many homeless and undernourished? How does that work out in your great observation?

RebeccaH said...

You know what else? You know how Mitt Romney was able to do so many good works?

Because he worked hard and made himself rich. That's how.

Larry J said...

retail lawyer said...
The convention seemed to me to celebrate the businessman - which is OK at this time since prosperity and way out of this mess depends on businesspeople. The problem is that not everyone can be a businessman and the Joe the Plumbers (those not wanting to start their own business) could easily have felt alienated. Business people are important, even special, in a capitalist society, and the convention needed to explain why in a way that could allow or even promote the dignity of those who just want a damn job.


And who is going to hire them? Democrats claim to love the working man (and that's not the greatest of their lies). However, you don't help the working man by punishing his employer. Small business is the engine of job creation. Piling extra taxes and never ending burdensome regulations on business owners destroys job creation.

If you think you love me, show some love for my boss.

David R. Graham said...

Individual and community is an ageless polarity. If either pole tries to obliterate or dominate the other, the polarity itself explodes and paralysis ensues. Individual requires community to grow. Community requires individual to exist. Rs tend to recognize this and live with it dynamically, as only is possible. Is tend to push too hard for individual. Ds for decades push only community, which is stupid, dangerous, explosive.

Community is an effect of religion, not a cause of it. The cause of religion is the yearning to reunite that which is separated, in this case, the self and its base, it's origin, it's height and depth. Religion rebinds together a paralysis, making a person again able to work, to be useful to their self and to others.

I don't know Brooks. He sounds like a bad man.

R.C. said...

Lindsey Meadows:

The reality is that government wealth transfers and private almsgiving are nearly opposites, with the latter being able to improve society and the former tending to destroy it.

Private almsgiving is voluntary. The person giving it practices generosity and practical love of fellow man. It takes him across class and race boundaries to help his fellow man at the point of need. The person receiving it feels generosity and a moral obligation to help is fellow man just as he has been helped. He experiences help from others of greater means and learns that they are not evil or distant persons to envy and hopefully to pillage, but persons like himself. Private almsgiving prevents warfare between the classes.

Not so with government wealth transfers. Although they are often begun with the best of intentions, they uniformly evolve into immoral and unjust systems of oppression.

The person whose hard-earned income is taken feels that his pocket is picked; he begins to resent his fellow men and to suspect that their need comes only from laziness or fraud...and when the wealth-transfer is means-tested, laziness and fraud are indeed encouraged, since those with too much reported income receive no transfers.

Meanwhile the person who receives the transfer from government feels not gratitude but entitlement. He learns that in sufficient numbers he can game the system. He learns to riot, to trash his own neighborhood, in order to cajole more money from his more well-to-do neighbors. His message to them is: "Nice society you have there. Be a shame if anything happened to it. Better pay up so the masses don't become restive." He learns to Mau-Mau the Flak-Catchers.

When government is involved, the political process also becomes corrupt. A politician says, "Elect me, and I'll give you more money taken from THEM. But elect the other guy, and he may allow THEM to keep more of their money, and you'll get nothing." Naturally a good-hearted person doesn't want to take from another good-hearted person, so the politician will do everything to convince voters that THEY are contemptible, evil folk.

So of course class warfare, possibly boiling over into unrest or a low-grade civil war, is one primary result of wealth transfers.

But there are others: People tend to donate to charities and churches and to pay dues to private volunteer membership organizations (Lyons Club, Rotary Club, 4H, Shriners, whatever) out of the money they have left over after their needs are met and their taxes are paid. This means that as their needs and taxes become more expensive, they'll have less left over to give to other do-gooding organizations in society. As taxes go up, all other means of almsgiving and community spirit are suppressed and squeezed.

This is why government wealth transfers do not tend to ADD to the money being received by the poor through almsgiving. Instead, government tends to DISPLACE it. Economists have long known that it's a nearly 1-for-1 substitution. Jack up welfare, and you either pay for it with government debt, or you jack up taxes, thereby reducing the almsgiving to the poor. End result: The poor are no better off, but the classes are more resentful of one another.

That is the difference. Private almsgiving is a culture which government welfare squelches. The latter doesn't HELP any more; in fact it creates more problems long-term.

But you just go ahead, Meadows, just go ahead and pat yourself on the back for how generous you are, helping the needy with Other People's Money, while (if you are a typical left-progressive) giving less than 3% of your annual pre-tax income to church and charity...somewhat less than half what conservatives give on average because of how the culture of private almsgiving persists among them. But that's okay, you just keep telling yourself that conservatives are heartless and you're the generous compassionate one.

Scumbag.

treeofmamre said...

So, Brooks does not believe that something is a valid initiative unless it is tied to a government program? Churches and individuals cannot be compassionate, by his definition, then. This does not sound very conservative--it sounds like the vomit Obama is constantly spewing.

Edward said...

@kentuckyliz

Althouse may not teach community,
but Georgetown U does:
https://www.dcinternships.org/images/2011/IPVS/PPOL_310_11.pdf

Q: What are the likely causes of the alleged decline of American associational life?
A: (Mine) Government strangled them
in red tape and replaced them with inferior institutions under Govt.
control.