August 8, 2020

"Where Do Republicans Go From Here?/The party looks brain-dead at every spot Trump touches. But off in the corners, there’s a lot of intellectual ferment."

That's just the new David Brooks column, but I'm linking to it because it has a very cool illustration by Tim Enthoven. And I like that it fits so squarely into my tag "what Trump did to the GOP" which you might enjoy clicking on for a trip down memory lane.

Here's some Brooks:
If you came of age with conservative values and around Republican politics in the 1980s and 1990s, you lived within a certain Ronald Reagan-Margaret Thatcher paradigm. It was about limiting government, spreading democracy abroad, building dynamic free markets at home and cultivating people with vigorous virtues — people who are energetic, upright, entrepreneurial, independent-minded, loyal to friends and strong against foes....
But somehow that wasn't enough. Other Republicans offered other "paradigms." First on the list, Brooks himself!
On Sept. 15, 1997, William Kristol and I wrote a piece for The Wall Street Journal on what we called National Greatness Conservatism. We argued that the G.O.P. had become too anti-government.
They argued for "ambitious national projects, infrastructure, federal programs to increase social mobility." Brooks thinks John McCain, in 2000, represented their idea. George W. Bush, who won that year, had his own paradigm:  Compassionate Conservatism. That was, per Brooks, "an attempt to meld Catholic social teaching to conservatism." There were more paradigms offered up:
Sam’s Club Republicans, led by Reihan Salam and my Times colleague Ross Douthat, pointed a way to link the G.O.P. to working-class concerns. Front Porch Republicans celebrated small towns and local communities. The Reformicons tried to use government to build strong families and neighborhoods. The Niskanen Center is an entire think tank for people who have leapt from libertarianism.
Needless to say, they didn't get that far in the real world. The only one that sounds familiar to me is "Compassionate Conservatism." But Bush didn't get to do his Compassionate Conservatism. He spent the first summer of his administration cooking up some supposedly thoughtful solution for what was seemingly the biggest problem of the day, stem cell research, and then — before the summer was over — 9/11 happened and he was forced to lead the War on Terror.

Brooks admits that "most actual Republican politicians" just stuck with Reaganism. The smart Republicans were building new "paradigms" but the actual Republican politicians "stuck, mostly through dumb inertia, to an anti-government zombie Reaganism long after Reagan was dead." Oh, why did these dummies stick with Reagan when the smart people were devising National Greatness and Reformiconism?

After all that hard work, Trump barged in and shifted the paradigm. As Brooks tells it, "Donald Trump and Bannon took a low-rent strand of conservatism — class-based ethnic nationalism — that had always been locked away in the basement of the American right" and appealed to Republicans who "felt they were being purged from their own country — by the educated elite, by multiculturalism, by militant secularism."

Brooks sees an opportunity: At least the stubborn paradigm of Reaganism is finally ousted. And Trumpism isn't really "fleshed out," so people like Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton and Ben Sasse will be trying to find a way to be populist but intelligent: "three of them have advanced degrees from Harvard or Yale."*
Behind these public figures there is a posse of policy wonks and commentators supporting a new Working-Class Republicanism.... The Republican Party looks completely brain-dead at every spot Trump directly reaches. Off in the corners, though, there’s a lot of intellectual ferment on the right....
Brooks has quite the fetish for braininess and elite education. I am wary of these people. The left is full of big brains too. Brooks complains about the staying power of Reaganism and predicts it will flourish if Joe Biden wins (because Republicans can just be against "whatever Biden is doing"). But oh, how he longs for a way for his well-educated friends to elbow out the "brain-dead" "zombies" in the party he thinks is his. Amusingly enough, he believes the answer is in a big warm embrace of the working class.
_________________

* The outlier is Rubio, who has an advanced degree, a J.D., but only from the University of Miami. The snooty Mr. Brooks, by the way, does not have an advanced degree, and he "only" went to the University of Chicago. Checking Brooks's biography at Wikipedia for that info, I ran across this morsel:
As an undergraduate, Brooks frequently contributed reviews and satirical pieces to campus publications. His senior year, he wrote a spoof of the lifestyle of wealthy conservative William F. Buckley Jr., who was scheduled to speak at the university: "In the afternoons he is in the habit of going into crowded rooms and making everybody else feel inferior. The evenings are reserved for extended bouts of name-dropping." To his piece, Brooks appended the note: "Some would say I'm envious of Mr. Buckley. But if truth be known, I just want a job and have a peculiar way of asking. So how about it, Billy? Can you spare a dime?" When Buckley arrived to give his talk, he asked whether Brooks was in the lecture audience and offered him a job.

119 comments:

Connie said...

This is standard David Brooks false-handwringing about the fate of the Republican Party. I find it as persuasive as the elitist whining of George Will. Party positions evolve. Who would have guessed four years ago that Democrats would stand for 10% of the garbage they peddle today.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

He has been writing different versions of this article for twenty years. I would just put him down. Best in the long run.

Temujin said...

David Brooks represents the old Republican Party which is the one still characterized by the Left and by the press (sorry for repeating myself). It is the country club Republican. The Northeast Republican, which is to say, just a wee bit more right than the old school Democrats. Both old school parties are becoming extinct. But let's not mince words...

Regan was never favored by these David Brooks Republicans. Reagan was an upstart and despised by the entrenched establishment party. That they even use his name curdles my blood. He made them and gave them life.

Trump is not and has never been a Republican either. Trump is an independent with conservative instincts. He is not of them, and won't be- ever. They hate him. Hate him enough to not even pretend they like him or will vote for him- as they did to Reagan.

Remember the Tea Party. This was the live showing of where the Republican base was moving. No- despite the press's (and John Lewis' account) the Tea Party was not a white supremacist group. It was a group that started organically- in favor of individual liberty and cleaning up our financial system. Nothing wrong with either sentiment. David Brooks did not get the Tea Party either.

After Trump is gone, what's left of the old Republican Party will split off from where the new Republican Party is going. It is still to take shape, but it will no longer be the party of the old country club set.

J Melcher said...

The self-styled "ALT-RIGHT" (Sorry Ann) accuses, correctly, that US conservatives have failed to conserve anything. A balanced budget? State control over third-trimester abortions? (Let alone federal restrictions on abortion)? Secure borders? Avoiding foreign entanglements and wars? A color-blind society that never uses quotas for college enrollment or jobs? School choice? Even "Burning the Flag"? Gay marriage?

List any conservative battleground of the past 30 years and the most striking thing is how conservatives have been the party of compromise and "the middle ground". Conservatives want the same progress Progressives want, only more slowly, by one president per issue.

Paddy O said...

Catholic social teaching? I'm pretty sure GWB isn't Catholic. What is Brooks's rhetorical goal in that label? Or is is so aloof from broader Christianity and Evangelicals Evangelicals he thinks it must be Catholic teaching because that's all he has read?

Biff said...

For all the bashing of "Reaganism" that Brooks indulges in, I can't help but think that any conservative candidate with remotely Reaganesque poise, charm, intellect, and policies would mop the floor with any of Brooks' gormless intellectuals.

Oso Negro said...

Where is the "keep your hands off my wallet and leave me the fuck alone" branch of Republicanism that I so yearn to see?

iowan2 said...

Brooks?

In a sane world Brooks would be embarrassed to go out in public. Brooks only believes in the next big score.

traditionalguy said...

Brooks yearns for the time there was a small Republican academic elite winning elections. Trouble is that has never existed except in the imagination of Brooks. The Dems love seeing it too since it never wins. Never.

Ann Althouse said...

"Catholic social teaching? I'm pretty sure GWB isn't Catholic. What is Brooks's rhetorical goal in that label? Or is is so aloof from broader Christianity and Evangelicals Evangelicals he thinks it must be Catholic teaching because that's all he has read?"

I wondered about that too. I speculated that Brooks thinks the Christian religious intellectuals are Catholic and not Protestant, especially not Evangelical. Here's something from Brooks's Wikipedia page that offers some insight:

"In 1984, mindful of the offer he had received from Buckley, Brooks applied and was accepted as an intern at Buckley's National Review. According to Christopher Beam, the internship included an all-access pass to the affluent lifestyle that Brooks had previously mocked, including yachting expeditions, Bach concerts, dinners at Buckley's Park Avenue apartment and villa in Stamford, Connecticut, and a constant stream of writers, politicians, and celebrities. 'Brooks was an outsider in more ways than his relative inexperience. National Review was a Catholic magazine, and Brooks is not Catholic. Sam Tanenhaus later reported in The New Republic that Buckley might have eventually named Brooks his successor if it hadn't been for his being Jewish. "If true, it would be upsetting," Brooks says.'"

matism said...

Shove it up your filthy Koch-sucking Rove Republican rectum and move to a warmer climate with Songbird McShame. Damn ou to hell for what you filthy bastards have done to this world!!!

Bob Boyd said...

Did Brooks see "Trumpism" coming? Did he see the internet coming? What about 9/11? Did he warn us all about the crash of 2008?
So why does he think he can predict the future now? Because he's been consuming too much fermented intellectualism?

Birches said...

I thought the same thing as Paddy O and Ann about Catholic social teaching. I figured it's because most social conservatives he knows are Catholic: think Sohrab Amari and Douthat.

Readering said...

The Catholic thing was important to Buckley. Fellow Yalie Richard Brookhiser was once named by WFB his NR successor, but the Protestant was then replaced with RC Rich Lowry.

Readering said...

Brooks dismissed as a country club Republican the day Potus holds a press conference at his country club in front of members?

Readering said...

I look forward to reading actual analysis of Brooks's article.

ga6 said...

You don't see them Dave because they are home putting a sharp crease in their trousers and trying to get the name of Mitten's tailor. They are doing this in order to win your approval.

Biff said...

The Professor quoted Wikipedia: "Sam Tanenhaus later reported in The New Republic that Buckley might have eventually named Brooks his successor if it hadn't been for his being Jewish."

I suspect there were other reasons. For all his patrician mannerisms, it seems that Buckley did not perceive the intellectual defense of conservatism to be a parlor game. His apparent friendship and affinity for Rush Limbaugh, contra stereotypes, may be telling in this regard. Buckley was a fighter, Limbaugh is a fighter, but Brooks and his ilk are milquetoasts.

AllenS said...

Any column that David Brooks writes, is fake news. Brooks was doing fake news, before fake news became a popular meme.

Mike Sylwester said...

Brooks and his ilk did not want to enforce our immigration laws.

narciso said...

Niskanen center that recently defended rioters.

narciso said...

This is the same brooks who called the huntress a 'cancer' to the partyy
.

Gahrie said...

The Republicans look brain dead? Where do the Republicans go from here?

The Democrats just had one of the largest field of candidates ever, and the best they could come up with is an aging Commie who refuses to call himself a Democrat and Creepy, Sleepy Joe.

Assume Trump wins. Who do the Democrats run in 2024? Nadler? Abrams? One of the Cuomos?

Dave Begley said...

“Brooks has quite the fetish for braininess and elite education. I am wary of these people.” Writes a legit big brain.

tim maguire said...

David Brooks, always thoughtfully pushing the Republican Party in a direction more favourable to people like David Brooks.

Wince said...

Revealingly, Brooks describes these "paradigms" as nothing more than the barred intellectual playpens Republicans were allowed to play in with the permission of the party establishment.

Trump had the unique tools, insight and the timing to be the singular disrupter ordained by history to end this neat compartmentalization that kept the hierarchy in order.

The remaining question is will Trump have the ability to complete his disruption so decisively as to bend the arc of history such that his less strident successors will still have the impetus to continue in the direction that Trump cut through the swamp.

Ryan said...

Brooks is the NYT's idea of who go hire as "conservative." That says it all.

Patrick said...

Rubio is just the kind of politician Brooks loves: completely programmable each election season with the latest approved GOP talking points. Thank God Chris Christie outed his true robot identity to all the world during the debates.

narciso said...

Neocons forgot that the carrot is as valuable as the stick. They forgot about the deindustrialization of america. They softpedaled the culture war against it.

Chuck said...

If Trump were a major league general manager, his record would be the equivalent of taking a pennant-winning team with no injuries into a series with a minor league team, and losing.

And in the process, utterly destroying the franchise's minor league system.

Think of the talented next-generation of Republicans who will be forever tainted by contact with Trump.

Kris Kobach: one of the brightest conservative minds in America. Now can't even win a state election in Kansas.

Ken Cuccinelli: forced to defend one after another idiotic Trump campaign stunts.

Tom Cotton: had to pretend that Trump didn't say (and later, that Cotton just "didn't hear") Trump say the phrase "shithole countries." An honorable military officer at one time, now just another fucking Trumpist liar.

Hans von Spakovsky: gone from being on the cutting edge of conservative election law, to now being known for Trump's clusterfuck "election fraud" commission.

Rubio; Graham; Cruz; their (completely correct, even prescient) flamethrower criticisms of Trump in 2015-16 are now used to ridicule them with their slavish support for Trump as President.

John James: a talented black Republican Senate candidate from Michigan is now headed for his second straight pounding at the polls in a state that has turned away from Trump. The number one issue used against James is his string of statements from 2016 where he was declaring 1000% support fro Trump.

In primary after primary across the U.S., Trumpist candidates are winning new-Republican primaries... and then getting slaughtered in general elections.

Trump kills everything he touches. The Republican Party is no exception.

Sebastian said...

"National Greatness Conservatism . . . the G.O.P. had become too anti-government . . . ambitious national projects, infrastructure, federal programs to increase social mobility . . . a way to link the G.O.P. to working-class concerns"

IOW, Trump.

"Donald Trump and Bannon took a low-rent strand of conservatism — class-based ethnic nationalism — that had always been locked away in the basement of the American right"

That's not "National Greatness" and reaching out to the working class?

"appealed to Republicans who "felt they were being purged from their own country — by the educated elite, by multiculturalism, by militant secularism."

Well, they were, and the establishment "conservatives" did little about it.

"Brooks has quite the fetish for braininess and elite education. I am wary of these people."

You should be. And of course real conservatives are: we distrust the vision of the anointed, even on our own side.

"Amusingly enough, he believes the answer is in a big warm embrace of the working class."

How much more can you embrace it than Trump?

"The snooty Mr. Brooks, by the way, does not have an advanced degree, and he "only" went to the University of Chicago."

Brooks is a poseur.

Mike Petrik said...

As is all too often the case Brooks is not thinking clearly. National Review was Buckley's child, and its Catholic sensibilities, though subtle, were deep and undeniable. It is only appropriate that Buckley would want those sensibilities preserved.

gilbar said...

"ambitious national projects, infrastructure, federal programs to increase social mobility." Brooks thinks John McCain, in 2000, represented their idea.

don't stop there! what about Climate change? what about Racism? what about what about?

All my life, "republicans" have been telling me, that i shouldn't vote for republicans,
Ronald Reagan
Donald Trump
etc
but instead; i, as a republican, could better serve my party; by voting for democrats

It's Almost If... these "republicans" are Actually democrats

gilbar said...

Assume Trump wins. Who do the Democrats run in 2024? Nadler? Abrams? One of the Cuomos?

You Mean, "what if Staci Abrams is denied victory; Yet Again"

Sebastian said...

Melcher: "US conservatives have failed to conserve anything"

So why bother?

And even Reagan did not conserve much, as many conservatives at the time already knew. "Reaganism" is a retroactive myth.

Reagan was in favor of immigration amnesty, Trump has at least tried, so far, to stem the tide a bit. Who's more "conservative"?

MartyH said...

Life hasn’t changed for think tank conservatives. The conservative base is reacting to changes that they see. Losing meat packing jobs to illegal immigrants; training your H1B replacement; rioting in the cities; rural job choking $15 minimum wage that encourages hiring illegals; a Federal bureaucracy that tries to shut them down (starting with Lois Lerner); mischaracterization of Tea Party protests and BLM/Antifa riots; cancel culture and double standards by Big Tech. Brooks and the Think Tanks are disconnected from that reality.

Francisco D said...

Assume Trump wins. Who do the Democrats run in 2024? Nadler? Abrams? One of the Cuomos?

Assume Trump wins. Who do the Republicans run in 2024?

I do not see any fighters out there. I don't see anyone who can capture the Deplorables' vote.

If Biden wins, almost any Republican will win in 2024. We will wind up with another BushMcCainRomney who will not fight back when called "literally worse than Hitler."

Jeff Brokaw said...

If Brooks advised me to come in out of the rain, I would still require two other sources.

MartyH said...

Brooks asks, “Why has the conservative base gone batshit crazy while nothing has really changed?” The conservative base sees themselves in a war with totalitarian progressives and wonders why their supposed thought leaders are neutral at best and seem to often take the side of the progressives.

Roughcoat said...

T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII has better political instincts than Brooks, Will, and all establishment Republicans and conservatives.

MartyH said...

Meanwhile liberals have a disconnect too. NYT readers are finally learning that CHOP was not a block party

Rory said...

"Shove it up your filthy...done to this world!!!"

He'll have decaf.

Roger Sweeny said...

Where is the "keep your hands off my wallet and leave me the fuck alone" branch of Republicanism that I so yearn to see?

Nowhere, because 90% of the electorate, and 99% of the media, think that is mean and unacceptable.

Bruce Hayden said...

“ Assume Trump wins. Who do the Democrats run in 2024? Nadler? Abrams? One of the Cuomos?”

If they were smart, they would run a quasi moderate, like former CO Gov John Hickenduper. Ot former MT Gov Steve Bullock. Won’t happen, of course, because the radicals have taken over the party.

Phil 314 said...

It seems Democratic rich liberals do a much better job of tolerating the contradiction of sharing the party with hoipolloi but never wanting to live next to them than rich conservatives.

Michael K said...

Brooks is amusing as he obviously wants what Buckley had, to be a country club Republican. The problem is that those days are gone, mostly killed off by the GOP majority from 1994 to 2006 in which nothing useful got done. The Tea Party was the result, then Trump. The McCain GOPe is best illustrated by Nicole Wallace to whom was assigned the destruction of Sarah Palin. Wallace is now where she belongs, on MSNBC.

Rory said...

"Where Do Republicans Go From Here?"

Republicans always have in their pockets the option of becoming a white identity party, which can quickly and fairly settle with the other identity parties.

I'm Full of Soup said...

We never see the MSM wringing their hands about where the Dem party will go.

MD Greene said...

"Class-based ethnic nationalism" advocated by Trump and Bannon replaced the Reagan Republicans? Trump and the gang are too anti-government?

The people tearing up Seattle and Portland might respond to talk like that.

Neither party stands for anything at this point, except a wish to triumph over the other team. It shows.

What we need are different parties, and several of them -- each focused on its own priorities. We need a DC that is not the richest MSA in the country. We need careful thinkers under the age of 75 and with pragmatic sense, running for the job of president.

David Brooks isn't exactly a homer, maybe, but he can't see the forest or the trees. Like too many people who write for a certain self-regarding newspaper, he needs to get out more. He and they have made themselves irrelevant.

Amadeus 48 said...

How can we possibly have this discussion without mentioning Donald Trump’s Joanna the Baptist, Sarah Palin? A woman of great energy and grit, she was thrown to the dogs by such GOP Mean Girls as Peggy Noonan (still playing the Irish Colleen with the hots for for the pope) and Nichole Wallace (one of the antique dealer Devenishes). Remember, McCain/Palin were two points ahead when McCain “suspended his campaign” to go fix the financial crisis. There was a hick in that McCain/Palin ticket, and it wasn’t Palin. The real point is that Palin was castigated and blamed for McCain’s failures, but Trump figured out if he pushed those patriotic buttons that she promoted and Brooks and Wallace disdained he could be competitive against the ultimate Beltway insider mediocrity, Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Tell me again what she ever did? I get Bill, but Hillary was famous for being famous.)

I don’t know where the GOP is after Trump, but I think Tim Scott, Nicki Haley, and Kristi Noem all have interesting things to say. Brooks will still be trying to read his personal moral compass, which cannot even find magnetic north, let alone true north.

Mattman26 said...

If you want to criticize Trumpism, it just might be worth understanding what it is and why it appeals to enough people to have made Trump president. Airily dismissing it as a “low-rent ... class-based ethnic nationalism” is so ridiculously wrong that the rest of the project is doomed from the start.

Try again, Davey.

Jeff Weimer said...

The problem with Brooks and people like him (Ahem, Tom Nichols) is that they consider the Republican "base" a resource to be mined for votes and not actually *the* group for which they should be attaining policy goals. They refuse to listen to the base's concerns and tell them that you must vote for the nominee - until the nominee is one the base favored over theirs. Then the "party loyalty" they hold so dear means nothing and voting Democrat is the "Conservative" option.

Screw them, may they never have significant influence in the party ever again.

Danno said...

If you look further into Brooks' wikipedia page, you will see he left his wife for a younger research assistant and converted to Christianity. I had to look it up as my recall was a bit fuzzy.

He has been focused on Obama's trouser crease for almost twelve years now and isn't worthy of reading.

buwaya said...

" a low-rent strand of conservatism — class-based ethnic nationalism"

This is by far the most common sort of conservatism anywhere because it is the entire point of having a human society. Indeed it is the only form of it that people will fight for.

It is also a rebuke to intellectuals dreaming up fantasies of a conservative ideology, a conservatism of ideas - well, there isnt one, and cannot be one, as conservatism is a state of mind, not an idea. It is a non-idea, an anti-idea, a suspicion and hate of ideas. It is not for nothing that the left has called conservatives reactionaries - they are absolutely correct.

Reaction is the only way to answer people with "ideas". Ideas, about political ideology, must be killed. These are things of the devil.

chuck said...

Brooks overlooks "brawny" Republicans. Who let that riff-raff in, he asks. Show them the door. The back door.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

Temujin said...
David Brooks represents the old Republican Party which is the one still characterized by the Left and by the press (sorry for repeating myself). It is the country club Republican. The Northeast Republican, which is to say, just a wee bit more right than the old school Democrats. Both old school parties are becoming extinct."

Nobody used to exemplify the old school Republican more than preppy Tucker Carlson. I once thought Carlson was a slightly annoying lightweight. But Carlson paid attention to the shifts in the GOP base. He tried to understand the concerns of people who came from completely different backgrounds than he did. As a result, he's become an unlikely champion of populist conservatism and he understands the DC NeverTrumpers far better than they will ever understand him. They are no more capable of self-awareness than the Left.

I saw a revealing interview of Carlson done by Dave Rubin. Carlson said that after the 2016 election, he expected the media to at least make an effort to understand Trump voters, to show a bit of humility and realize that they had missed out on a huge phenomenon. They did that for maybe 5 minutes after the election. Then, instead of serious analysis, they went down the "Russia, Russia, Russia" and "racists, racists, racists" rabbithole.

dreams said...

Clueless, out of touch elitist faux Republicans trying to stay relevant. Disregard, never mind, etc. etc.

SGT Ted said...

The rise of Trump is directly tied to the failure of the the people and ideas that Brooks touts to actually implement their promises.

National Greatness Conservatism hid open borders working class wage depression in service to Corporate profits of the political donor class and the initial slide to globalist progressivism of promoting "free trade" policies which destroyed the US middle class by encouraging overseas manufacturing. It turns out that using trade policy written by Corporations to "promote Democracy abroad" merely resulted in enriching Communists and Islamo-fascist nations that wanted the money, but never will embrace actual Democracy. Funny how the only one to actually stand up to the Communists is Trump.

The GOPe simply wants to return to their rightful place as losers who are allowed to participate once in a while by the Democrat winners, as long as they get invited to all the right parties.

Mr Wibble said...

I suspect there were other reasons. For all his patrician mannerisms, it seems that Buckley did not perceive the intellectual defense of conservatism to be a parlor game. His apparent friendship and affinity for Rush Limbaugh, contra stereotypes, may be telling in this regard. Buckley was a fighter, Limbaugh is a fighter, but Brooks and his ilk are milquetoasts.

I've said for a while that Buckley might not have approved of Trump, but he sure as hell would have understood him, and how we got Trump.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

What did Bush do to Republicans? “Compassionate Conservatism” is an amorphous term no one can define even twenty years after he coined it. What the hell were “Crunchy Cons” flogged by Rod Dreher and NR back in the early ‘00s? Bush was the war time leader we needed in 2001 but he continued the old okey doke of promising to “fix” immigration, the same fake promises McCain made, grumbling “loo build your damned wall” insincerely in his attempt to get elected. Where was the GOP? Nowhere. Not defending Bush. Not pushing to make tax cuts permanent. Nope. They settled for a temp decrease in taxes to tease the base but weak sauce to tempt investment.

So when a true grass roots conservative groundswell against high taxes and govt spending what did GOP Inc. and Big Con Publishing do? Ignored it. Mocked it. Tried to co-opt it. Grifter off it. Grew rich off it. And let Obama’s IRS smother it without a fight. Thanks Republicans! Y’all paved the way for hope-n-changeyism Obama. Who was not meek and acquiescent and who’s overreach led to a GOP majority in Congress in his second year. Amazingly there were no thumb-sucking NYT articles about how Obama “did it” to the DNC. No regrets he passed the ACA using lies tricks and parliamentary bullshit. Nope. Cheers all around.

The establishment sucks. Bipartisan failure. Globalist greed. Self-dealing. The Biden family. The Clinton family. The Bush family. The McConnell family. The Kennedy family. This history of elite wrongheadedness birthed the revolt that brought forth two destructors. Bernie and Trump presented a fork in the road. The DNC sidelined one in intraparty dirty tricks, but presented with one Destructor in 2016 enough Americans chose that option to set us in this path. We may be witnessing the death and rebirth of both Major Parties. But to limit the conversation to WHAT IS THE MEANING IF TRUMP is to miss how radically the D party is changing right in front of you. Obama’s coy is he or isn’t he flirting with socialism has given way to full-on Marxist dreams by many in his party.

But let’s obsess on Trump and the GOP. Because the NYT really really cares about republicans and our party and wants to help us.

Mary Beth said...

The thing that excited me most about Trump in 2016 was the hope that he would kill off that part of the Republican party. I hope that the Democrats can some day find a candidate that will bring about a massive and much needed change in their party too but I don't think they're ready for that yet.

JAORE said...

I suggest we apply the same "smell test" to Mr. Brooks writing that he does to the unworthies he holds in such disdain.

No thank you very much.


danoso said...

Wasn't Brooks the one who left his wife of 20 years to run off with his research assistant helping him with a book? Real stand up guy there. Oh, and the name of the book they were working on - "The Road to Character".

buwaya said...

You can go into a deep dive to try to reconcile the fundamental "negativity" of conservatism with the perceived demand for a positive ideology. Russell Kirk tried. Thats why I always recommend reading Russell Kirk. "The Conservative Mind" is required reading.

Its not that Kirk succeeded in this, of course. His attempt however quite neatly lays out the problem. The point of these prescriptive systems, any of them, is of a philosopher or his clique pretending to understand something they cannot, because all of this, the "way things are" that is so often deemed unsatisfactory by some great brain, is an emergent phenomenon that comes out of the collective history of an entire people over many generations.

The most realistic political philosopher that has ever been was Burke.

Marty said...

So kind of Mr. Brooks to give us yet another example of how someone "brain dead" actually thinks and writes.

Mark said...

You can thank POS collaborators like Brooks for the destruction of the GOP, the undermining of government and democracy, and ultimately the destruction of the republic and civil society.

wildswan said...

Brooks is a good observer who deforms his observations to please his paymasters - a cross between a hunting dog and a spaniel retriever. His "Catholic" social insight copied from the Buckleys is best summed up in the work of the Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democrat Capitalism is the most famous example. From the Post Obituary in 2017: "Michael Novak, a Catholic philosopher who helped carve a space for religion in modern politics, diplomacy and economics, arguing that capitalism is the economic system most likely to achieve the spiritual goods of defeating poverty and encouraging human creativity." Novak was not referring to the process of transferring manufacturing to China and its Uighur slave laborers in exchange for a one-time cash payment to facilitators, like Biden, and their children, like Hunter. Novak in 1982 meant that building things in America had historically offered a way forward out of poverty. That world is gone so we can't have a Republicanism just like any that came before. Trump and Bannon (when he was there) were and are working on present reality, on rebuilding after The Big Sale of the Americas (which was many transactions facilitated over the last thirty years by the crowd now partying in the Hamptons and on Martha's Vineyard while New York falls.) If the Brookings was the think tank it was planned as it would be helping us rebuild but it is owned by someone who doesn't care about America but wants some well-dressed propaganda saying "proles gonna prole-speak, pols gonna pretend-care, no real need, don't listen, can't do anything," David Brooks, for example. The spaniel's nameless owner? At this point, what difference does it make?

Earnest Prole said...

His senior year, he wrote a spoof of the lifestyle of wealthy conservative William F. Buckley Jr.

More from Brooks' 1983 Buckley piece:

'His extracurricular activities at Yale included editing the Yale Daily News, serving as President of the University, and chairing the committee to have Yale moved from New Haven to Mount Olympus. He also proved the existence of God by uttering the Cartesian formula, “I think, therefore I am.” While a senior, Buckley founded the publications which would become his life’s work: one was a journal of politics entitled The National Buckley, and the other was a literary magazine called The Buckley Review. Later, he would merge the two publications into what is now known as The Buckley Buckley.'

Joe Biden Is Corrupt said...

Trump didn't get us into any wars.

I love how the fake-conservatives wax on about what they think is so great about past conservatives.
Brooks is a fraud. But he does like the things that matter in the modern era - like sharp pant creases.

Bob Smith said...

Looks to me like that Illinois University study about the Boomers early descent into Alzheimer’s might be an understatement.

Michael K said...

The real point is that Palin was castigated and blamed for McCain’s failures, but Trump figured out if he pushed those patriotic buttons that she promoted and Brooks and Wallace disdained he could be competitive against the ultimate Beltway insider mediocrity, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Yup. Palin was the warning of Trump. McCain was an asshole to anyone who knew him and Nicole Wallace was given the job of destroying Palin which she did quite effectively. What she did not do was to understand the voters who then turned to Trump. Tea Party--> Palin--> Trump. Dicks like Brooks have no ida.

Sebastian said...

"I think Tim Scott, Nicki Haley, and Kristi Noem all have interesting things to say."

And can any Dem politico do what Ted Cruz does on his podcasts? If Cruz is brain dead, what does that make the Dems?

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

Brooks is a PBS/NPR/NYT Republican, AKA RINO.

Michael K said...

I saw a revealing interview of Carlson done by Dave Rubin.

This is his great talk about the book. Skip the first 5 minutes.

Narayanan said...

The National Humiliation We Need
July 4 and America’s crisis of the spirit.
By David Brooks
Opinion Columnist
July 2, 2020
---------------===============
was this blogged? was it worthy?

rcocean said...

As others have stated BROOKS IS NOT A RIGHT WINGER. He's a fake con. A grifter. He voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 and he supported Hillary or was AWOL in 2016. Brooks is either neutral or supporting Biden in 2020. How can someone who supports (or is neutral) on Liberal Democrats having power be a conservative? Crazy!

So, how in the hell is he conservative? He's a socially liberal, globalist, open borders, big business, war-mongering, elitist. Conservatism is family, God, and Country. Brooks maybe cares about Family and that's it.

And that quote about Brooks being not being made editor of NR because of antisemitism. It made me laugh. First, it just shows that NR even in 2000, had become so globalist/Left-wing it was considering making a future Obama supporter its editor. And second, Brooks instead of being happy that a Catholic-run magazine hired him and gave him a position, is upset that they didn't make him editor! Talk about Chutzpah. BTW, Commentary magazine never made a Gentile writer its editor, why is that? Is that Anti-Gentilism? LOL.

It reminds me of Brooks' column on Judah Benjamin the Confederate secretary of state. Instead of praising the Confederates for giving a Jew such a high position, he blathers about antisemitism, because he was criticized during the war, and wasn't honored AFTER the war. Again, what chutzpah.

Gahrie said...

Reagan was in favor of immigration amnesty,

Reagan accepted a deal with the Democrats that would have solved the problem but the Democrats went back on their word.

rcocean said...

BTW, Jonah Goldberg just wrote a ridiculous column where he stated that "you can vote for Biden and be a good conservative, and you can vote for Trump and be a good conservative". IOW, "conservatism" is a meaningless label, that has no connection to the real world. This may explain why Erickson, Will, Rubins, and Max Boot, could call themselves "Conservative" while supporting Hillary Clinton in 2016 and rooting for Joe Biden. And if this is what "conservatism" truly is, then we should simply stop talking about it.

Narayanan said...

wildswan said...
Brooks is a good observer who deforms his observations to please his paymasters - a cross between a hunting dog and a spaniel retriever.
-----------==========
nicely done - he also speaks in complete sentences which deftly deform his observations [and also his soul? (do Jews believe in soul?)]

curious Q:
don't hunting dogs get rewarded/tossed piece of the cornered-hunted prey-kill;
while spaniels need to be trained for soft mouth - no biting-chewing birds prey-kill?

Joe Biden Is Corrupt said...

The Democrat party is a big pile of corruption, lies, corporate media whores, international money whoring... chi com-Soros corruption, money laundering for socialist whoring and Schitt-Pelosi Maddow Lies.

but it's always about that sad GOP. The sad GOP is destroyed.

Long live the corrupt modern democrat party.

Leland said...

If I want to know what Trump did to the GOP, David Brooks is the last person I would read. Scratch the qualifier; David Brooks is the last person I would read.

Kevin said...

The Republican Party looks completely brain-dead at every spot Trump directly reaches.

Trump has a very coherent and intellectually-thoughtful policy: DRAIN THE SWAMP.

The best that Swamp Creature David Brooks can retort is that it's not a policy he can allow himself to recognize.

Not Sure said...

he thinks it must be Catholic teaching because that's all he has read?

Brooks is the embodiment of an old joke about the University of Chicago: a school where atheist professors teach Catholic theology to Jewish undergrads.

hombre said...

"Some would say I'm envious of Mr. Buckley.” That’s quite true. More importantly, some say that effete pseudo-conservatives like Brooks and Kristol are envious of Trump because he has done much of what they claim they wanted in the name of conservatism without them or, perhaps, in spite of them.

Of course, this generously assumes that they actually are conservatives - an assumption there is no reason to make.

Kevin said...

Here's Brooks' problem with America:

The people at Boeing and NASA start the day by reading Brooks' column.

Elon Musk does not.

Kevin said...

ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!

Everyone take note of how David Brooks always uses complete sentences.

That is all.

Joe Smith said...

@Althouse

"Brooks thinks John McCain, in 2000, represented their idea." Ideal?

When Trump is out of the game it will be tough for 'Republicans' to not get sucked into the Neocon Lincoln Project orbit. There's too much money in grifting. We will have an even bigger uniparty than we have now.

I suppose I am a Republican in name only...maybe I should switch to an Independent. In reality I have always been Libertarian without worshipping the anarchy that comes with that.

The job of the government is to build roads, keep the domestic peace, allow for commerce, and fight wars. Don't steal my money without giving me value. Don't pick winners and losers.

I voted for gay marriage and wouldn't want to see abortions banned because it is not possible. But I don't have to marry a man. If a person with a cervix wants an abortion, xer should have to pay for it.

When Trump leaves it's going to be a rough road, because it's hard to compete with people who want to give everything away.

RobinGoodfellow said...

“... Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Tell me again what she ever did? I get Bill, but Hillary was famous for being famous.)“

She married well.

Had she not married Bill Clinton, she’d be a junior partner in a medium sized Chicago law firm.

hombre said...

“Brain dead?”

I’m a proud ex-Democrat. Even calling on my “roots” I am unable to see that opposing abortion, opposing illegal immigration, supporting the Constitution, particularly the First and Second Amendments, opposing world domination by China and their American pimps, supporting the police, opposing riots, calling out the mediaswine for lying, promoting jobs, particularly for minorities, asking NATO to pay up, etc., etc., promotes brain death.

I can easily see how contrary views are symptomatic of brain death. However, I admit I no longer read Brooks or others of his ilk because I understand that lunatics usually have explanations for their lunacy that must seem plausible to them, but are not.

Sam L. said...

I gave up on Brooksie yearrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs ago.

effinayright said...

buwaya said

Reaction is the only way to answer people with "ideas". Ideas, about political ideology, must be killed. These are things of the devil.
**********************

buwaya, is the "idea" of Liberty a thing of the Devil?

Stephen St. Onge said...

        Brooks and the other #MSM 'conservatives' are just the Ripon Society in disguise.  They are only worth paying attention to as a means for discovering what the NYTwat and its ilk think would be useful acceptable in the role of "respectable losers."

narciso said...

no, because ideology is rarely about liberty, license and regimentation, more like it,

Martin said...

I would not argue that the GOP is "brain-dead," although that pre-dated Trump by a decade or more, and David Brooks and William Kristol are part of the crime.

But the Democrats are utterly deranged and destructive.

That being the choice, I'll take brain dead as less of an immediate threat.

Readering said...

clinton would not be a junior partner in a Chicago law firm. She'd be a retired partner who had served as president of the ABA.

Joe Smith said...

"Wasn't Brooks the one who left his wife of 20 years to run off with his research assistant helping him with a book?"

Went online to see if he at least traded up to a hottie...inconclusive.

But I did find out that the guy (Brooks) was born in Canada! That explains a lot : )

M Jordan said...

Trump is the Id of Republicanism. Brooks thinks of himself as the Ego, or more particularly, the brain. Whatever. There come moments in history when the Id must exercise its full-throated growl. That moment was 2016. I would have thought four years of it would succumb to a more cognitive moment but I didn’t fully anticipate the Left’s (and I include Brooks here) Id echo. So the battle of the Ids goes on. 2020 will decide which Id-path we follow. But Brooks’ dream of exciting intellectualism won’t be part of the equation.

M Jordan said...

By the way, is everybody as happy as I am that William Buckley is a forgotten footnote?

Rabel said...

"I speculated that Brooks thinks the Christian religious intellectuals are Catholic and not Protestant, especially not Evangelical."

Yes. He's a secular Jew who went looking for spiritual aid after after he dumped his wife for his assistant 23 years his junior. He found some relief in the more communal aspects of Catholicism and the intellectual side of the Church which was happy to break bread with the important writer from the Times.

This identification with the Catholics allowed him to hold the Protestants and their icky Evangelical brethren at arms length while preserving his bona fides within his social group and yet to acknowledge that Jesus is just alright with him.

For example see this from The Jesuit Review:

“I found that Christians, especially of the Protestant evangelical variety, are plagued by the sensation that they are not quite as intellectually rigorous or as cool as the secular world,” he writes. “At the same time, many of them are inflated by the notion that they are a quantum leap or two more moral.” Brooks believes the critique offered in Mark Noll’s 2010 book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind—“The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind”—is essentially still true."

- "inflated by the notion that they are a quantum leap or two more moral" -

David brooks wrote that. About somebody other than himself. True story.

Jim at said...

The 'Republican Party' Brooks yearns for gave us John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Thanks. No.

William said...

Dave, ixnay on the z word. It brings to mind too many unwelcome associations with Nancy Pelosi and Jerry Nadler. Given that Biden is the nominee, I wouldn't recomment using brain dead either....Strictly speaking, Nadler doesn't have the absolute appearance of zombie, but his gait is extremely zombiesh. How come there are no fat zombies? Maybe it's the paleo diet.

Known Unknown said...

Trumps seems to be a working-class Republican to me.

iowan2 said...

Readering said...
clinton would not be a junior partner in a Chicago law firm. She'd be a retired partner who had served as president of the ABA.


Yea. So?
You seem to think that would be some marker of accomplishment. Its not.

Obama was President of the Harvard Law Review. The only President to never publish at least one article in the Harvard Law Review. Not really a marker of accomplishment.

Static Ping said...

If Brooks had any decency left, he would realize that his employers have been, at best, misleading and, at worst, lying about what has been happening in the world for the past four years, pushing various unfounded conspiracy theories and dubious narratives in an obvious attempt to achieve a particular political end, all while creating a working environment so toxic that new hires are allowed to bully - with impunity - not only editors but anyone within shouting distance of not only the nation's political center but also the moderate wing of the Democratic Party. Despite all this, he is willing to take their money and appears to be fine with it. He grifts. That's all you need to know.

hombre said...

“I found that Christians, especially of the Protestant evangelical variety, are plagued by the sensation that they are not quite as intellectually rigorous or as cool as the secular world,” he writes. “At the same time, many of them are inflated by the notion that they are a quantum leap or two more moral.” (“Plagued by the sensation ...”? Really?)

Why are lefties always projecting? How is it even possible to be less intellectually rigorous than an incurious secularist, particularly a secular progressive? He may be “plagued by [that] sensation,” however, most intellectually rigorous Christians are struck by the inability of secularists to make their case and/or to understand that philosophical materialism is, indeed, philosophical.

As for “cool.” Does Brooks strike anyone as cool or as a fit arbiter of coolness?

Finally, we Christians are not moral relativists and ARE, therefore, a quantum leap (two are unnecessary) more moral than secularists. Although some secularist do behave morally - today - particularly those who have chosen to ape Christian morality.

BrianE said...

I give Buwaya at 9:16am a thumbs up. I hadn't considered conserving something as reactionary. Seems accurate, though, no doubt, not appealing to the intellectual.

Amadeus 48 said...

The full UChicago joke is: The University of Chicago—a Baptist school where Jewish professors teach St. Thomas Aquinas to atheists.

Also: the University of Chicago, where the spirit of Medieval Scholasticism still lives.

I got married at Bond Chapel 46 years ago. The U of C was a strange and wonderful place.

Michael K said...

Readering said...
clinton would not be a junior partner in a Chicago law firm. She'd be a retired partner who had served as president of the ABA.


Well if your law firm is all about "rainmakers" that could be true. And, given the direction of the ABA lately, I could agree with that too.

Hillary Clinton was the bag man for her husband and is the most corrupt person to run for president since Aaron Burr. Good to know your standards for law firms.

Michael K said...

When Trump is out of the game it will be tough for 'Republicans' to not get sucked into the Neocon Lincoln Project orbit. There's too much money in grifting. We will have an even bigger uniparty than we have now.

Joe Smith, I agree completely.

Nancy Reyes said...

Goodbye Country Club Republicans

Hello Blue Collar Reagan Democrats turned Republican.

Readering said...

The Clinton Foundation was investigated but not sued. The Trump Foundation was dissolved in a consent decree that held it committed fraud.

Readering said...

Country club Republicans on display this weekend. But Brooks's analysis is that they are not the future.

rcocean said...

What's so hilarious about the Never-Trumpers and their "Whither The Republican Party?" is they have it completely backwards. Trump didn't "destroy" the Republicans he saved it. Without trump, and his "Ethno-nationalism" the R's stand for nothing - except cutting the capital gains tax and being the loyal opposition. Its the party Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Mitch McConnell, and Lindsey Graham. In other words, a bunch of losers.

The problem is the R's need to stop the Democrat's from turning them into the California Republicans on a national scale. The R's in California are Dead, dead, dead. The D's control almost everything and have so rigged the election laws that the R's won't come back even if Gov Newsome burned down the churches and handed out free cocaine and hookers. What is Mitten, Lindsey, or Mitch going to do to stop them? Nothing. They're already salivating over being a minority again, and cutting deals to save the low capital gains tax.

rcocean said...

People forget why Trump got nominated. Everyone else in the Primaries, except maybe Cruz, was peddling the same Moderate Republican, Big Business, Bullshit. Reducing the size of Government, cutting Business regulations, Amnesty, open borders, "reaching out to minorities", globalization, support for wars in the middle east, more money for Defense. Plus a few insincere squeaks about being Pro-life. The same old McCain/Romney talk that lost twice before.

This crap was a loser with Ford in 1976, but the R's keep returning to it, like a dog to bone.

ken in tx said...

Trump had to buy or build his own country clubs to be a really accepted Country Club member. His money would have got him in a traditional club, but he would have never been truly accepted. "Not our sort, dear." And he's still not. He's a Queens hardhat guy with money. That's why he is hated so.

Narr said...

Since we're still up, I wonder about all the broohaha about David Brooks. Is he that important?

I never thought so. But leave aside the political-- I'm always impressed by how, when his name comes up here (as it does with regularity) it summons some old-fashioned gents forth to shout, "He divorced his wife! He married his [muuuch prettier] young research assistant!"

The guy may be a cad and a bounder (I only know what Google Images and Wikipedia show me) but what is this, 1890 again? Is divorce bad? Is marrying a younger woman bad?

Do Brooks's critics know the details of his first marriage? Wikipedia says his first wife converted to Judaism. I'd divorce my wife if she did something like that.

And how do our internet gallants know the first wife wasn't a bitchy harridan who was happy to take her cut and boogie?

Narr
And explore her long-suppressed sexuality . . .

Joe Smith said...

@Narr

"Wikipedia says his first wife converted to Judaism. I'd divorce my wife if she did something like that."

Not sure if you're being funny, but Brooks was born (brought up) Jewish. His first wife converted for him. Granted, it sounded like a very secular form of Judaism, but it was Judaism nonetheless. And she apparently became very observant afterward.

So now what is your opinion of Brooks?

Either way, he's a sanctimonious prick so why not take the opportunity to get in some shots?

hstad said...

"Where Do Republicans Go From Here?/The party looks brain-dead at every spot Trump touches. But off in the corners, there’s a lot of intellectual ferment." so says "David Brooks"!
Brooks is a classic, self-appointed Intellectual, whose wrong on two counts - the first is like a lot of these 'Elites' they're infected by "TDS". Another 'Elite' said it better: "...To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead. – Thomas Paine"...

Secondarily, even the "Guardian", no friend of Conservatives states it well:

“…Psychological research shows that misinformation is cleverly designed to bypass careful analytical reasoning, meaning that it can easily slip under the radar of even the most intelligent and educated people. No one is completely immune. Indeed, there is now evidence that smarter people may sometimes be even more vulnerable to certain ideas, since their greater brainpower simply allows them to rationalize their (incorrect) beliefs…”

Yep, the arrogant gene is strong in David Brooks!

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/apr/01/why-smart-people-are-more-likely-to-believe-fake-news


Narr said...

Not being funny-- the circumstances of first wife's conversion are unclear, but I took the Wikipedia article to mean she had converted to Judaism "without or despite" him. (The faith(s) involved--whatever they may be--don't interest me as such.)

If it was under different circumstances that's interesting but not important to my point-- women are perfectly capable of doing whatever they want, and often do. I don't consider that her conversion itself has any claim on Brooks's loyalty, even if she did it all because of her love for him.

I don't have any different opinion of Brooks now than I did before, since I have no more information or insight than I had before. He divorced his first wife for a better looking younger one. Happens all the time.

Narr
Even in the best families