Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Today In Republican Detachment Disorder: Michael Gerson

Former George W. Bush chief speechwriter, senior Republican policy adviser and reliable Beltway Republican stalactite, Michael Gerson, is truly, madly, deeply, concerned about the millions and millions and millions of bigots and imbeciles who apparently all suddenly and simultaneously precipitated out of thin air -- fully formed and raving mad -- and joined the Republican Party mere moments after Michael Gerson left.

What an amazing coincidence!

Mr. Gerson lays out a damning-but-not-nearly-damning-enough list of crackpot Conservative conspiracy theories which will be familiar to anyone with a Conservative family member or colleague who has figured out how to use The AOL, and which Donald J. Trump has been playing like the Pied Piper to lead the GOP to its doom.

There are conspiracies about immunization, Mexicans, those "really" responsible for 9/11, the "murder" of Antonin Scalia and so forth, but if you look closely, you will notice that the activation date of the various crackpot Conservative conspiracy theories Mr. Gerson cites --
Watching the excellent documentary “Ebola in America: Epidemic of Fear” is to relive the confusion and controversies of the summer of 2014: the initial public health mistakes, the divided and unclear responsibilities, the hysterical coverage on cable TV. But it is the political role played by Republicans and conservatives that stands out, and not in a good way.

At every stage, elements of the right made a reasonable, science-based response to Ebola more difficult. Against the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie quarantined a nurse returning from West Africa who had tested negative for the disease. Some conservative media outlets spread false information about the disease to exaggerate an impression of public health incompetence.

But it was Donald Trump who led the opposition...
-- all just so happen to be after the Bush Regime left office and scattered to the winds to join think tanks and America's Very Serious newspapers.

For example, there is no mention of Vince Foster or the Mena airport.  Not one word about those other group who leading Conservatives claimed were equally responsible for 9/11.  No mention of Terri Schiavo.  Nothing about Dubya hitting the Terrorism Alert Panic Button whenever his re-election numbers started to look shaky, or the millions of raving, unhinged words spilled by the Right calling Liberals idiots or dupes or terrorist-loving traitors for questioning the predicate and conduct of the Iraq War.

So when Mr. Gerson asks --
What kind of politics is ascendant in the United States?
-- I really don't think he wants the answer.

Because during Mr. Gerson's entire career as a speechwriter and senior Republican policy adviser, his Republican Party has been only too happy to openly traffic in this kind of hateful, often-racist trash and paranoid filth to keep the meathead base dumbed down, whipped up and pointed in the right direction during every election.

Mr. Gerson's Republican Party is a wicked thing which, like cholera, destroys everything it touches.

It has been deliberately sowing the wind for decades now.

So how fucking dare he start bitching now, at this late hour, as Trump's banners are flying and Trump's drums are beating, about the horrors of reaping the whirlwind.

The Sad Bastard Divorce Chronicles of David Brooks

Chapter 37: I Did It All For You, Sarah!

If some strident Liberal blogger from the wrong side of the Acela corridor tracks were to cruelly snip and paste and very lightly decontextualize excepts from Mr. David Brooks' column in the New York Times today, I would wager that the average bright American human would have no fucking idea what the holy hell Mr. Brooks was writing about.

In fact, one could make an excellent case that Mr. Brooks was taking time off from using his column to beg for his job in order to use his column to tell his ex-wife that while Mr, Brooks may be a cold fish, he only got that way because he was working so fucking hard to make you happy, Sarah, and give you everything you ever wanted!

Or maybe not.

You be the judge:

Brooks writes of a career which "appears, from the outside, to be all consuming."

Of "...friendships [which] appear to have been formed at networking gatherings reserved for the extremely successful." 

A few on the inside describe a person who is "warm and caring...[b]ut it’s hard from the outside to think of any non-career or pre-career aspect..." .

Years of hard work at preaching the Gospel of Both Siderism have made him "...less like a human being and more like an avatar from some corporate brand."

But why did Mr. Brooks end up this way? Because, damn it, he cared too damn much!
Workaholism is a form of emotional self-estrangement. Workaholics are so consumed by their professional activities that their feelings don’t inform their most fundamental decisions. The professional role comes to dominate the personality and encroaches on the normal intimacies of the soul. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones once put it, whole cemeteries could be filled with the sad tombstone: “Born a man, died a doctor.”
There’s a larger lesson here, especially for people who have found a career and vocation that feels fulfilling. Even a socially good vocation can swallow you up and make you lose a sense of your own voice. Maybe it’s doubly important that people with fulfilling vocations develop, and be seen to develop, sanctuaries outside them: in play, solitude, family, faith, hobbies and leisure.
My God, Mr. Brooks even gave up his Sundays to give  those stupid TED talks and collect tributes at The Aspen Institute and appear on "Meet the Press" with his close personal friend David Gregory just so he could put food on the table and a $4M roof over his family's head. And this is the thanks I get, Sarah! A letter from some "M" Street lawyer telling me it's over!
Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote that the Sabbath is “a palace in time which we build.” It’s not a day of rest before work; you work in order to experience this day of elevation. Josef Pieper wrote that leisure is not an activity, it’s an attitude of mind. It’s stepping outside strenuous effort and creating enough stillness so that it becomes possible to contemplate and enjoy things as they are.
What do you know about getting up at five o'clock in t'morning to fly to Paris... back at the Old Vic for drinks at twelve, sweating the day through press interviews, television interviews and getting back here at ten to wrestle with the problem of a homosexual nymphomaniac drug-addict involved in the ritual murder of a well known Scottish footballer. That's a full working day, Sarah, and don't you forget it!

So, if Mr. Brooks is not making the public case that he is not a monster, but just another hard working 1950s husband who stayed too long at the office and came home one day to find Mrs. Draper gone, what in the holy hell is he writing about?

Believe it or not, he is writing about Hillary Clinton.
Why Is Clinton Disliked?
Wow.  In other words, to quote the late Sam Kinison in "Back to School":
So why don't we dive right in by interpreting one of the easiest events in the last twenty years of American history.
Oh!  Oh!  Oh!  I know!  I know!  Call on me!

I'll bet a lot of it as to do with 25 years of unrelenting Clinton ratfucking by our nation's lavishly financed Conservative Hate Machine.  Radio.  Teevee.  Movies.  Magazines.  Newspapers.  Whole libraries of wall-to-wall slander, such as that owned and proudly displayed by Travis County, Texas' Republican Party chairman, Trump fanboy and full-time lunatic, Robert Morrow:

The Conservative Hate Machine has been wildly successful at producing tens of millions of infinitely reprogammable Republican meatheads whose opinions on any given subject can be flipped off and on like a light-switch.  So I'll bet a big chunk of Hillary Hate has a lot to do with the fact that the GOP is stuffed with madmen like Robert Morrow.

Another few percentage points can probably be chalked up to the fact that free-floating misogyny is still alive and well in the American polity.  And another few points are certainly due to professional Hillary Haters like Andrew Sullivan, Worse Than Bush! purity angels like the Greenwald Horde, and some number of Bernie-or-Busters whose "Live for the One, Die for the One" faith --

-- demands a corollary belief  that all opponents are Enemies who are a thousand feet tall and Irredeemably Evil.

So when I add all that up, I get a number that seems pretty close to Hillary Clinton's current disapproval rating.

Ah, but David Brooks does not live in the same world and you and I.  As I have mentioned over the years more times than is polite, Mr. Brooks lives in a fantasy world constructed out of his obsessive contempt for the Real World as it really is and his own, pathological denialism about his own past.  A world in which Mr. Brooks' prosperity is directly tied to his lies, and therefor as the Real World keeps pissing all over his Whig Fan Fiction universe...
...the more operatic those lies become -- such as his complete revision of the entire history of Conservatism to infuse it with a genteel, communitarian spirit that never was and to omit all the inconveniently icky stuff that actually turned it into a cultural and electoral force to be reckoned with...
And so Mr. Brooks -- a University of Chicago baccalaureate in History -- opts to simply skip over the last quarter of a century of American political history and focus on the real reason people don't like Hillary Clinton:
I would begin my explanation with this question: Can you tell me what Hillary Clinton does for fun? We know what Obama does for fun — golf, basketball, etc. We know, unfortunately, what Trump does for fun.

But when people talk about Clinton, they tend to talk of her exclusively in professional terms...
Yes, people don't like Hillary because they don't know what she does for fun.

No, I did not make this up.

And why is knowing the intimate details of Hillary Clinton's hobbies so this important?

Because these kids today with their Walkman portable cassette players and disco dance parties and their Twitters just don't "dig" this hard-working, service-oriented "rap" that Hillary is laying down!
This formal, career-oriented persona puts her in direct contrast with the mores of the social media age, which is intimate, personalist, revealing, trusting and vulnerable. It puts her in conflict with most people’s lived experience. Most Americans feel more vivid and alive outside the work experience than within...
Yes, David Brooks wrote that.  In fact, David Brooks was paid a shit-ton of American money to write that.  David Brooks, who less that a month ago was finally forced to admit that he does not have the slightest fucking idea what is going on outside of his elite, Acela corridor bubble --
I was surprised by Trump’s success because I’ve slipped into a bad pattern, spending large chunks of my life in the bourgeois strata — in professional circles with people with similar status and demographics to my own. It takes an act of will to rip yourself out of that and go where you feel least comfortable. But this column is going to try to do that over the next months and years.
-- has fallen completely off the "I swear I've learned my lesson!" wagon and back into the enormously profitable business of telling lies in condescending, authoritative, Ex Cathedra language about "most people's lived experience" what "Most Americans feel...".

In other words...

PS:  Several others are making what they can of the loose stool Mr. Brooks' passed off as journalism today.

Yastreblyansky takes the scholarly approach

Brother Charles Pierce has a little too much fun pulling Mr. Brooks' arm off and beating Jonah Goldberg to his knees with it.  So, y'know, win-win.

Jezebel uses the "W" word.

Salon just reprints paragraphs of Brooks' column for some reason.

Wonkette doing that Wonkette thing,

Vox, which doesn't include any bar charts so I was confused.

On the other hand, innocuous Beltway folding chair, John Harwood, thinks that Mr. Brooks' column is "valuable", so what do I know?

Monday, May 23, 2016

MSNBC's Chris Matthews Presents... Eva Brown-Nose

Just another friendly reminder that "Liberal" MSNBC really, really does not give a shit about you.

Andrew Sullivan vs. The Children of a Lesser Blog

Far above us and far away, our betters continue to have a very strange conversion in which things we Children of the Lesser Blogs have been saying for fucking years is poached and passed off as bleeding-edge, state-of-the-art insight into our parlous times.

One such exchange took place at Slate Magazine recently in which Slate Group's chairman and editor-in-chief, Jacob Weisberg, gives an advanced seminar in How To Interview Andrew Sullivan Without Mentioning That Liberals Were Right About The Right All Along.

Jacob Weisberg: This was a fantastic piece. I think it’s one of the most important things written about the phenomenon of Trump. But the really striking thing about it is that you see Trump not just as a dangerous politician or as a demagogue, but a threat to the survival of American democracy.
Yes, it is possible that by some metric I do not understand, other than the tens of thousands of words Liberals have written about the Rise of Trump since the day he descended the Escalator of Greatness into our lives, and other than the millions of words Liberals have written since the dawn of blogging about the descent of the Republican Party into fascist madness, Andrew Sullivan's very-very-very-late-to-the-party May 2, 2016 column may be "one of the most important things written about the phenomenon of Trump".

Sure. Go with that.

But this next bit? This next bit is fucking hilarious...
[Weisberg]: ...You and I hear in everything Donald Trump says that he is the would-be dictator. That those are his instincts. Why do so many of his supporters not hear that monarchical tone in his speech?

[Sullivan]: Well, I think some of them do and like it. And some of them just don’t take him seriously. There’s something that I’ve noticed in people who support him is just that they will say they support him, but then they say, “Well, I don’t really think he’s going to be able to do all those things he says.”...

[Weisberg]: When you use these terms like un-American, undemocratic, neo-fascist, you’re really picking up on something that is new with Trump in modern American politics, which is violence and the threat of violence as part of the campaign. Talk about how Trump has brought violence into American politics in a way that isn’t precedented.

[Sullivan]: We’ve had plenty of rowdy and difficult public meetings in the history of American politics. Goodness knows, extraordinary levels. And in modern times, too. But the one thing you’ve also always had when a protester stands up, or a heckler tries to shut something down, the speaker, whoever he or she is, and whatever office they’re running for, will generally say something like this: I respect your views. This is a free country. You can air this. But please, allow me to respond. And if they don’t respond, or if they start being cantankerous, they say, Well look, we’re going to ask security to come and take you away. And that is what we have as a civil democratic norm. And what he says in contrast is, Look at this person. What a disgusting person this is. I would like—and I’m directly quoting—to punch that person in the face. I want that person to be carried out on a stretcher as in the old days. I want violence inflicted upon people who are protesting or heckling me.

That is an extraordinarily new thing in American politics...
Ladies and gentlemen, Congressman Joe Wilson!

Ladies and gentlemen, the Never Ending "Arm Yourself Against The Kenyan Tyrant" NRA freak show!

Ladies and gentleman, Congressman Michael Grimm!

But maybe Mr. Sullivan is right, even if his timeline is conveniently wrong.

Maybe the GOP only went barking mad after the Kenyan Usurper stole their White House and turned it over the Muslim Brotherhood, the New Black Panthers and Teh Gays,

But then how would you explain...

Ladies and gentlemen, Senator Jesse Helms from 1994!
"Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here," the newspaper quoted Helms as saying. "He'd better have a bodyguard."

The President, asked about Helms' remarks during a White House news conference, called them "unwise and inappropriate." While asserting his authority in matters of foreign affairs, he said that it is up to Republicans to decide who will speak for them.

"The President oversees the foreign policy of the United States and the Republicans will decide in whom they will repose their trust and confidence," Clinton said.

It was a vintage performance for Helms, a conservative ideologue who has built a career based on pugnacious rhetoric and flamboyant attacks. But his critique of Clinton prompted soul-searching among some Republicans who fear that Helms, by his intemperate remarks, will bolster Democratic charges that the GOP is a party of extremists.
And, of course, ladies and gentlemen, The Dixie Chicks!
And that's not even touching on abortion clinic bombings, right-wing-crazytalk-made-manifest in Oklahoma City, or America's long, tragic history of lynching by state-sponsored terrorist organizations.

So sadly no, Andrew this is not "an extraordinarily new thing in American politics".  In fact, if you ever bothered to leave your Beltway terrarium you would find that this is a very old thing in America politics.  We fought a bloody civil war over it.  We fought a century-long Civil Rights cold war over it.  And for about 40 years now, they leaders of the Republican party have been methodically refining and cultivating America's unique witch's brew of racism and fascism to seize and hold political power.

In fact...wait...I can see the outline of one more example slowly rising from the mists of forgetfulness...

It appears to be from the...Sunday Times of London on...September 16, 2001...

OMG, Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Andrew Sullivan!
The middle part of the country - the great red zone that voted for Bush - is clearly ready for war. The decadent left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead -and may well mount a fifth column.
Of course, I'm sure we all remember how swiftly and completely Mr. Sullivan was shunned and sidelined after that.  How terribly his career suffered and how no one would be his friend anymore.

Because that's our civil democratic norm.

This World Was Never Meant For One As Beautiful As You

You may have noticed that I do not post on this blog about every lunatic shudder and tic and primal scream of the Donald J. Trump rolling freak show.

First, because other blogs with staffs and such already do that, so keep up the Lord's work there people!

Second, because it seems to me to be an empty, repetitive exercise.  Of course Trump lies about Iraq and lies about Libya.  Of course he's a braying, racist troll.  Of course he's trying to drag the race for president to his level by yelling "Rape!" at the top of his lungs.

Of course a thousand other things.

So what?

There are tens of millions of Republicans out there who believe exactly the same things. Meatbags who cannot function on a day-to-day basis without a steady diet of the insane slurry of madness and conspiracy that Fox News and Hate Radio serves up, hot and ready, every day. These are people who were only too happy to be cheerleaders for every one of Dubya's spectacular public failures.  Who yelled "Traitor!" at the tops of their lungs at anyone who disagreed with them.  And then -- without missing a beat -- of course they were only too happy to scamper through the Bush-Off Machine, reverse themselves 180 degrees and pretend they'd never heard of George W. Bush.  And -- bonus! -- begin immediately scream "Dirty Libtard Commie!" at anyone who pointed out that they were flagrantly lying.

And constantly chasing them down their batshit rabbit holes armed with all the facts in the world gets you exactly nowhere.  Prove to them that, say, Hillary never, ever said that she wanted to get rid of the 2nd Amendment and take away all their guns and they will hocus-pocus up a guy...whose cousin knows a guy...who was at this thing where Hillary's Close Personal Friend revealed the Whole Awful Plot!  

So there ya dirty Libtard commie. 

And of by some miracle you waste a few precious hours of your life tracing down the friend and the cousin and the alleged event where this all supposed all happened and prove beyond any doubt that it's all nonsense of course all you will get for your trouble is a "Yeah, but, y'know the Libs are just as bad" as your Conservative friend slithers off to make another nine-course meal of Sean Hannity's bullshit.  

As I wrote a decade ago as the long shadow of the Bush Regime blighted the land:*
What [David Brooks]** and the rest of the Moderates will not bring themselves to face is that no matter how bulletproof you make that most Randite of delivery systems -- the “rational argument” -- and now matter how aggressively you deploy it in favor of the most basic virtues preached by Ms. Rand (such as woman’s right to choose, or letting consenting adults do what they want – including marrying who they want) it will not change one, microscopic Fundy mind in any way that is measurable by even the most delicate instruments.

Stacking one scientific journal, magazine and grade-school textbook atop another for the last 150 years hasn’t caused Conservative Christopaths to grow opposable thumbs en masse, climb down out of the Stupid Tree and stop believing dangerously lunatic trash. The only effect Reality has on these clowns is to make them feel ever more picked-on and angried-up.

They are the intractable opponents of democracy who, for example, make it their business to make it impossible to keep the Public Square neutral, because Jebus Abhors a Vacuum. Because when you believe the Absolute Truth of your God should fill all things, you will also and inevitably view neutrality-by-design as an Evil Liberal Assault on your righteousness.

We must be rid of them, and there is no cure for the chronic disease of Conservative Fundamentalism (other than a free Huckster Convention in the Utah desert, followed by a thermonuclear flash, followed by an abrupt, mushroom cloud-shaped Rapturing of the faithful up to Heaven in the guise of radioactive-ash) but a slow, deliberate, erosive process of marginalization and education.

A process that cannot even begin as long as one political Party, far from distancing themselves from the Theocratic Hordes, instead insists on selling their soul for remaindered prices by pandering to the scum of the Earth for partisan gain.

And then has the gall to be surprised that the irrational, hateful people they coaxed into the drunken, electoral bed the night before for some kinky, partisan sex insist on behaving like irrational, hateful people when the sun comes streaming in the window the next morning.

When all of a sudden up you don’t have the stomach to look at the thing you let fuck last night, do you?

You just wish it would leave.

Christ, why won’t it leave?

Why won’t it get its scabrous ass out of your face and just leave?

And then you realize to your horror that you’re in its bed, not the other way around.

And it still wants to play.

And, finally, of course our establishment media is only too happy to go along with the Right at every turn of this never-ending. Lie/Fuck-up/Bellow-and-lie-your-way-out-of-accountability/Lie-Again/Fuck-up-Again cycle.  Because abetting this travesty and providing your Conservative pal with his infinite "Get Out Of Accountability Free Because Both Sides" card is their fucking business model.

Nothing will change until the Very Serious People who are set the parameters of our national debate are compelled to start acknowledging out loud and in public that the biggest reason our country is in trouble is that the Republican party is a dangerous madhouse, and the reason is got that way is because Conservative elites and oligarchs and media corporations designed it that way.

*In retrospect I should have expanded the range of this post to include the entire menagerie of failed lunatics and scheming con men who make up the GOP which I documented here and here back in 2005   Well, I was young.  I rose early, hit the gym, read the papers, wrote fast as blazes, and then went off to work 10 hours at a paying gig, squeezed in a sliver of social life, caught the evening news, wrote some more and then bed.

**Yeah, I have been writing about David Brooks for a very long time.  Nice to see that I'm starting to get some company on this lonely beat :-)

Sunday Morning Comin' Down

Donald Trump, Liberal Blogger:

Trump is right, although he gets his dates wrong.  Kristol (and dozens like him) has been open, suppurating lesion on the whole concept of professional journalism for decades, whose long record of spectacular public incompetence would have gotten them sacked from any other job years ago. But through some special, private arrangement among the scumbags who run our media not only are none of Bill Kristol's serial fuck-ups in any way career-ending, but employees of the corporations who run the media are clearly under orders to never broach the subject of what a colossal fraud Kristol is.

 It is among the many theses which we scrofulous Liberal outsiders nail to the Media Cathedral door every week, year after year, and which are brushed off by the High Priests who run the media, every week, year after year. Very much like Captain Renault's bar tab in "Casablanca":
Oh, please, monsieur. It is a little game we play. They put it on the bill, I tear up the bill. It is very convenient.
It is very convenient.  But in Donald Trump, the media has made a monster that it bigger his creator. And so while no mere Liberal media critic has ever succeeded in dragging Kristol into an exchange over his spectacular public incompetence, Trump is now big enough to prompt an actual response from Bloody Bill.

 A weak, weak, weak-assed response:
Every time Trump goes after the media he wins, because far, far too many of them -- and the corporations they serve -- really are every bit as shitty and corrupt and unaccountable as he says they are.

The media has had years to listen to its critics.  Years to empty it overflowing dumpsters and fire it's Kristols. But instead of cleaning house, they have doubled down on the trash and treacle because far, far too many of them -- and the corporations they serve -- really as as shitty and corrupt and unaccountable as Trump says they are.

None of this affect Bill Kristol in any way, of course. Undeterred by any worries that the young man who hired him will ever fire him, Kristol is free to proceed with great confidence in his plans to create a Third Party out of other people's resumes and other people's money, because he knows for sure where all those Independent voters are hiding.

They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat...

And speaking of that sack of neocon offal, for some reason, ABC's "This Week..." continues to pay him to masturbate in public:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, and I want to bring that to Bill Kristol, because obviously you've been -- made no secret that you're against Donald Trump; you're part of the Never Trump movement, trying to get a third-party candidate into this race. But that whole movement seems to be dwindling right now.

KRISTOL: No, I don't think so. I think the Republican National Committee and the Trump and Clinton campaigns are trying to sort of strangle it in its infancy because they're scared of this. I mean, look at that poll. When you throw Mitt Romney and someone who hasn’t run in four years, probably isn't the ideal, in a way, third-party candidate that would impressive man and I think would be a good alternative to vote to Clinton and Trump, he right is a 20-20 --
It was a wasteland & you're better off having skipped the whole, sorry mess.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Madame Noonan's House of Palmistry, Tarot and Zinfandel

On the way to her Salon of Whispery Beltway Secrets, Madame Noonan teetered through the halls of her co-op, conducting an impromptu tour of the place.

"The Death Mask of St. Ronald Reagan," she intoned breathlessly, nodding at a pile of old towels on a milk-crate end table.

"The original Black Grimoire of Newton Leroy Gingrich," she said reverently, indicating a Washington D.C. metropolitan phone-book from 1977.

"The Secret Sex Dungeon of Rutherford B. Hayes," she shuddered, pointing to a wicker basket full of old pantyhose.

Finally she arrived at a small card table on which sat a box of Fig Newtons, a souvenir coffee mug from the set of "This Week with George Whatshisname" full of dried out pens and blush brushes, and a glass of wine the size of a birdbath.  She pounded the wine like a pro --

-- and then stared blearily into the lees and made strange, dramatic movements with with her hands which were either meant to conjure voices from the Other Side or keep her from tipping over.

"Many things, I see," she said melodramatically. "Many things."

Let’s begin with a prophecy: It is not only the Republican Party that is breaking and perhaps re-forming. The Democratic Party is also starting to come apart. We’re seeing the first signs of it now. ... Here’s what I suspect is coming whatever happens this year. Just as a portion of Republicans—nobody knows how big—will break from the GOP over Donald Trump, some percentage of Democrats, especially among the affluent will, in the next cycle, start to peel off from their party over its lurch leftward. They will not be at home in a party of smiley-face socialism that threatens to become actual socialism. They will not want the American economy destroyed. They will not be comfortable in a party that supports the most extreme political correctness; they do not want their 10-year-old daughters using transgendered bathrooms with men. They will find themselves increasingly opposed to the political correctness that has swept the universities. They will have increasing qualms about spending $60,000 a year to have their bright, kind children turned into leftist robots. 
So they will start to split off from the Democrats, and they will find the Republicans who split off in 2016, and together, in 2020 or so, they will attempt to create their own party. It will be pro-growth, moderate on social issues, more or less neoconservative in its foreign policy. It will be smallish but well-heeled. It will try to hold together and grow. 
That is my prophecy...
"And thus shall the Royal Road of Both Siderism lead inevitably to the Imaginary Third Party of my dreams!" Madame Noonan slumped back into her chair, exhausted by the power of her mighty vision. 

Her hand trembled as she poured herself another catchment basin of wine.

"And when exactly is all of this supposed to happen?"  I asked. 

 "Meh," she shrugged. "Let's say five or ten years after everyone forgets I wrote it.  That usually works."

She dropped her voice and looked suspiciously around the room. 

 "By the way, have I shown you Rutheford B. Hayes' sex dungeon yet?" she asked. "He died in there you know. Died."

Professional Left Podcast #337

"It is not a fragrant world.”
-- Raymond Chandler, writer


  • Media Matters:  Megyn Kelly Repackaged A Year’s Worth Of Fox Softball Questions To Trump

The Brunch Davidians

He loves the smell of Portuguese baked eggs in the late morning.

2007 was a bad year to be Beltway pundits or a Professional Reasonable Conservatives,  The serial and spectacular failures of the Bush Administration were flaying all of their pretty words to confetti, and the Democrats -- who were supposed to have been drive from power for 1,000 years -- were suddenly back in control of Congress and setting their sights on the White House.

Leading this mad dash away from his own long record of unstinting support and praise of the Bush Administration was David Brooks, who suddenly rediscovered Edmund Burke on his way down the fire escape, across the alley and into the Emergency Both Siderist All-Occasion bunker, there to wait out the conflagration in comfort.

In that column, the early onset of Mr. Brooks' own Republican Detachment Disorder are clearly evident here, along with his trademark sweeping ideological generalizations of people -- "suburban, Midwestern and many business voters" -- who Mr. Brooks has never actually met:
To put it bluntly, over the past several years, the G.O.P. has made ideological choices that offend conservatism’s Burkean roots. This may seem like an airy-fairy thing that does nothing more than provoke a few dissenting columns from William F. Buckley, George F. Will and Andrew Sullivan. But suburban, Midwestern and many business voters are dispositional conservatives more than creedal conservatives. They care about order, prudence and balanced budgets more than transformational leadership and perpetual tax cuts. It is among these groups that G.O.P. support is collapsing.
Those Republicans.

 Over there.

 Who were, at the time, not so much worried about parsing the distinction between creedal and dispositional conservatism as they were about why the hell Barack Ahmadinejad Obama hates Murrica so much that he refuses to wear a flag pin! Huh! Huh! Riddle me that, college boy!

Many of us had already been writing about the inexplicable professional longevity of David Brooks for years using various tropes and methods, but it turns out that we were doing it all wrong! It turns out that if you want to be taken up to Pundit Asgard where the Very Serious People live, you are best served by 1) having access to a very large platform operated for the delight and edification of America's upper-class white supremacist community and, 2) you should begin your very limited and respectful critique of Mr. Brooks' work with a big glob of flattering ego lubricant:
David Brooks is a national treasure. He is perhaps our most gifted spotter of trends, and his pop-sociology seems moved by a genuine curiosity, and so is often blissfully immune from the draw of familiar categories and conventional wisdom. He has taught us more about the life of the contemporary middle class than anyone, and most weeks he is the only reason to read the New York Times. 

But as a spotter of trends, Brooks is also a generalizer, and tends to advance a simple, coherent, well packaged aphorism as an explanation for large events and ideas. It is the columnist’s fate, of course, but this tendency to push a clever observation to its breaking point does have its shortcomings...
Thus began Yuval Levin's October 5th column in the National Review, and, over the years the results have spoken for themselves.

You'll land on elite Manhattan Institute panels of "Whither Conservatism" moderated by David Brooks.

Your career will be promoted in national columns by David Brooks:
Burkean Revivalists. This group includes young conservatives whose intellectual roots go back to the organic vision of society described best by Edmund Burke but who are still deeply enmeshed in current policy debates.

Yuval Levin, the editor of National Affairs is one of the two or three most influential young writers in politics today. He argues that we are now witnessing the fiscal crisis of the entitlement state, exemplified most of all by exploding health care costs. His magazine promotes a big agenda of institutional modernization...
And your ideas will be touted in national columns by David Brooks, especially when those ideas help David Brooks butter his Both Siderist bread
The final Sidney Award of 2014 goes to Yuval Levin’s moral meditation, “Taking the Long Way,” in First Things, a journal of religion and public life. Levin argues that both left and right are committed to flawed visions of liberty. The left is committed to the ideal of the freely choosing individual, while conservatives are committed to an ideal based on secure rights, especially property rights.
You will, in turn, validate and admiringly reflect David Brooks' gliding-above-all disconnected and dissociated world views -- 
A career immersed in those issues, even at the highest levels of journalism, was not as fulfilling as planned. One close friend is Yuval Levin, whom the New Republic calls “the right’s new favorite intellectual” and who Brooks calls a mentor. Levin says Brooks has come to believe “ultimately, it isn’t really politics that shapes an advance toward justice. It’s moral improvement.”
-- and postulate reforms which the actual, real Republican party as it exists here-and-now is not interested in in any way:
David Brooks' "Conservatism of Skeptical Reform" Is a Daydream


January 10, 2014
David Brooks has put down the joint he’s been toking in his boutique hotel room. His Friday column extols what he calls the “conservatism of skeptical reform.” Taking off from the new issue of National Affairs, edited by conservative intellectual and policy entrepreneur Yuval Levin, Brooks begins by juxtaposing the ideas of “conservative policy wonks” in NA with the GOP—that is, with the only political vehicle that could promulgate and implement these ideas—and he concludes that the reform conservative agenda will have a pretty much frictionless ascendancy within the party...
Which brings us to today's David Brooks column, in which Mr. Brooks once again postpones his journey to the dark heart of Murrica in favor of one more C- "Murrica: A Land of Contrasts" book report, this time about his friend Yuval Levin's latest offering.

Instead of turning his platform over to the genuine voices of actual Americans living in pain and rage and fear out beyond the Acela corridor, Brooks offers one more long, melancholy, detail-free Brooksian sigh about our parlous modern times.  Instead of a sharply observed hike through a real country where most of us live, Brooks takes one more slow plod through a wading pool of tepid inoffensive tapioca, which you can read for yourself if you are so inclined.

Mr. Brooks will never leave the clean, well-lighted circle of his Brunch Davidians to see for himself what is actually going on out here in the wild.

It would shatter him.