The Modern Inquisition, Starring David Brooks in the Role of Phlogiston Man

I missed this, but see a couple of people talking about it, but the latest piece from David Brooks ought to make you want to throw things:

Over the past decades, Americans have developed an absurd view of the power of government. Many voters seem to think that government has the power to protect them from the consequences of their sins. Then they get angry and cynical when it turns out that it can’t.

It really is all a morality play to these sociopaths, isn’t it? Unemployed for the last year or two? SINNER! Underinsured because you can’t find a decent job, and your medical bills pile up? SINNER!

It’s important to realize what he is saying, and what these assholes really believe. Several hundred years ago, Brooks would be cheering as we burned people at the stake for witchcraft, or telling people that the reason they have the plague is because they were insufficiently faithful. Unable to produce a male heir? SINNER! Crops die? SINNERS! Have a drought? SINNERS!

David Brooks and the GOP don’t want to go back to the 1950’s. They want to go back to before the Renaissance.

*** Update ***

The incomparable Driftglass:

You know, I write about Mr. Brooks frequently because he is without question the single most powerful and shadow-casting practitioner of the dark art of lazy, incestuous, cheapjack Centrist punditry that is suffocating our culture under mile after smothering mile of tepid, Villager establishmentarian treacle.

And yet as I move from reading his empty, bloodless, word-tapioca blattings to writing about them for this blog, the realization that, in a country where 1 in 6 of my fellow citizens live below the poverty line, Our Mr. Brooks is actually paid — actually, richly rewarded with money, privilege and social cache — for the act of cranking out 1,600 words worth of this forgettable, poisonous tripe every week still just knocks me out.

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106 replies
  1. 1

    A couple of other people have suggested that they want to go back to before the Renaissance. Don’t remember who. Maybe it was in response to a Bachmann comment about people being closer to God before the Rennaisance or something like that.

    Dark Ages, here we come!

  2. 2
    Elizabelle says:

    I do wonder what it’s going to take for Brooks to lose the rest of his totebagging readership.

    A conservative that moderates can love, my a$$.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    People actually get angry and cynical when they realize that government won’t protect them from the sins of others.

  4. 4
    handy says:

    It really is all a morality play to these sociopaths, isn’t it? Unemployed for the last year or two? SINNER! Underinsured because you can’t find a decent job, and your medical bills pile up? SINNER!

    Well clearly it is John. In 1st Randians 66:6, the bible does say, “They who collect unemployment benefits shall not feast at the table of their betters.”

  5. 5
    cathyx says:

    Before the renaissance? The dark ages. That sounds about right.

  6. 6
    Yutsano says:

    @Elizabelle:

    I do wonder what it’s going to take for Brooks to lose the rest of his totebagging readership.

    Nothing. He’s fit himself into the wedge of the Moderate Republican side of the Village and can do no wrong to remove him from that perch.

  7. 7
    driftglass says:

    Assembled by rote out of cliches left over from 100 other identically mediocre columns…

    http://driftglass.blogspot.com.....-rote.html

  8. 8
    pete says:

    One feels like saying “Consequence this” while directing a large, steel-toed boot forcefully in the general direction of the point where Brooks’ legs meet. But he’s probably confident that government has the power to protect him.

  9. 9
    driftglass says:

    Also, why won’t the NYT finally euthanize that godawful “Conversation”…

    Sloths of Glory — http://bit.ly/mQEtw7

  10. 10
    Elizabelle says:

    The Democrats, besotted by the myth …

    Republicans, who should know better ….

    I ask you, doesn’t Brooks present these two introductions precisely ass backwards?

    Have not heard many commend Republicans as the party of reason for some time.

    Of course, I don’t travel in Bobo’s elite circles.

  11. 11
    cathyx says:

    And this attitude always comes from someone who is well-heeled through no fault of their own.

  12. 12
    driftglass says:

    Of course, now that David Brooks has officially become David Broder…

    http://driftglass.blogspot.com.....david.html

  13. 13
    A Mom Anon says:

    Oh fuck these people. Seriously. Newt was giving some dumb ass speech or another and said that if you weren’t”responsible”and didn’t have health insurance you should be able to rely on free clinics,churches and charity hospitals but you should never get great care because,well,you’re just not good enough to have the best stuff. (I heard the audio on Randi Rhodes’ radio show friday) Easy for the guy who gets free government health care for the rest of his damned life because he used to be Speaker of the House.

    As for Brooks,well,I hope that POS loses every dime he has and ends up in a really bad neighborhood after dark. Prick.

  14. 14

    David Brooks and the GOP don’t want to go back to the 1950’s. They want to go back to before the Renaissance.

    Well, it used to be the 50’s until they figured out that they would just have to go thru the 60’s again, so it’s pre Magma Carta and all that legal freeman habeous corpses mumbo jumbo.

    I figure by the end of Obama’s second term they will be back to ancient Egypt, looking for the next Cleopatra to lead them to power again.

  15. 15
    Lizzy L says:

    The unspoken corollary is that those who are successful, who have jobs and health insurance, who are politically connected, whose kids go to decent schools and whose cars don’t break down, are not sinners. Which from a theological standpoint is equally bullshit. Brooks is really a Calvinist jackass, isn’t he?

  16. 16
    PeakVT says:

    Puritanism from Brooks. Hilarious. I wonder if his rabbi approves.

    O/T: NPR’s lead story this evening is the voter suppression laws. The first person interviewed was pretty damn harsh on the Republicans. Nice change from Raz.

  17. 17
    John Cole says:

    @driftglass: DougJ was actually banned from commenting at the NY Times when he wrote that the only good thing that could come out of pairing Collins and Brooks was a murder suicide. I laugh every time.

  18. 18
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Linda Featheringill: One of the “thinkers” Bachmann cites as an influence is Francis Schaeffer

    “[In the series, Schaeffer] takes the audience through the entire history of Western culture through Roe v. Wade,” says Lizza. “The beginning chapters of this movie are all about where Christianity took wrong turns. For Schaeffer, it’s the Enlightenment. It’s the Italian Renaissance. It’s Darwinism. It’s secular humanism. It’s any point in history where he believes man turns away from God and turns away from putting God at the center of life.”

    From Lizza’s Fresh Air interview. I believe Schaeffer’s son recently wrote a book about his turn away from the Fundie Right.

  19. 19
    Zifnab25 says:

    I’m more annoyed with the feigned helplessness. “Govt isnt the solution, it’s the problem” spoken by a man that never saw a big bank bailout or a middle east war he didn’t like.

    When the Govt is helping millionaires evade liability for their mistakes, it is unserious to question relief. But when the average voter gets in trouble, it’s unserious to suggest relief.

  20. 20
    handy says:

    @Elizabelle:

    It’s the weakest kind of “both sides do it” appeal: The Democrats try to solve everything with Big Government when they’re in power, and *tsk* *tsk* Republicans you better not do that either when the other side is voted out.

    Except, of course they were doing the very things Brooks is wagging his finger at them for in real time. So I’m going to take a wild guess that when they get back in power, Brooks will do his sufficient duty to carry water for the Repukes as they run up deficits and bomb more brown people while scolding the Democrats for not being sufficiently bi-partisan.

  21. 21
    Citizen_X says:

    I am a sinner.

    I confess that I am indulging my anger by imagining Brooks getting pummeled and robbed in an alleyway by unemployed Americans. As payment for his sins, you know. And I am enjoying that vision.

    I apologize.

  22. 22
    Chris Grrr™ says:

    You won’t be protected from the consequences of flooding if you commit the sin of living anywhere near a river.

    Let them eat communion wafers.

  23. 23

    It seems that ideology allows/causes people to behave or believe in ways counter to their personal lives. Polling shows that stripped of ideology questions are answered considerably more “liberally” than districts vote.

    Me? I’m just opting as far out of the system as I can get w/o being ridiculously uncomfortable. Most of what I own (owns me) is for sale.

  24. 24
    Mino says:

    @Lizzy L: Exactly, it’s Calvin’s prosperity gospel wedded to social darwinism..

  25. 25
    Chris Grrr™ says:

    @Citizen_X: You’re a better person than I am. My own shortcomings led to thoughts having something to do with a head mounted jauntily atop a pike.

  26. 26
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Citizen_X: Not good enough, Citizen_X. True sorrow requires both remorse and a sincere desire to amend one’s life.

    And I have a feeling that you’re going to get angry again.

    (Of course, everyone sentient, but without a bottle of Thorazine the size of a coffee can, is angry, but what the hey…)

  27. 27
    Yutsano says:

    @General Stuck:

    I figure by the end of Obama’s second term they will be back to ancient Egypt, looking for the next Cleopatra Ramses to lead them to power again.

    FTFY. Women should never be anywhere but in the home to them.

  28. 28
    Scott Supak says:

    @John Cole: That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in a long time. Banned! Like a good book in Texas!

    What government apparently can’t protect us from is the consequences of Wall Street’s sins.

  29. 29
    Elizabelle says:

    Brooks’ column is entitled “The Planning Fallacy.”

    Take out “Planning” and you’ve described Brooks’ output pretty accurately.

  30. 30

    @General Stuck:

    I figure by the end of Obama’s second term they will be back to ancient Egypt, looking for the next Cleopatra to lead them to power again.

    They do keep reaching back in time, don’t they?

  31. 31

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Good work on the quote. :-)

    I guess that modern secular humanism did start with the Renaissance. Yes?

  32. 32
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Chris Grrr™: I really can’t imagine Bobo being jaunty – ever.

  33. 33
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Perhaps the saddest thing about my atheism is that I must accept that the esteemed Mr. Brooks will never, ever have to face the consequences of his sins.

  34. 34
    Elizabelle says:

    The key to wisdom in these circumstances is to make the distinction between discrete good and systemic good. When you are in the grip of a big, complex mess, you have the power to do discrete good but probably not systemic good.

    When you are the president in a financial crisis, you have the power to pave roads and hire teachers. That will reduce the suffering of real people who would otherwise be jobless. You have the power to streamline regulations and reduce tax burdens. That will induce a bit more hiring and activity. These are real contributions.

    What happens when you’re president in the aftermath of a massive systemic fail? Is taking the “school uniforms” approach (hey, we can do little common sense things and tinker around the edges”) sufficient?

    Second paragraph: aren’t the Tea Party patriots whingeing about hiring teachers (those overpaid government workers) and scoffing about “shovel ready projects?” As in, we can’t do anything big anymore, or anything that takes any money or ….

    well, planning.

    (And yeah, of course ANY time is a good time to reduce taxes and “streamline” regulations. No good society can survive the presence of either taxes or regulations.)

  35. 35
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    Ted Kennedy and Walter Mondale’s daughters died.

  36. 36
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    West Virginia Air Show Plane Crash: Plane Crashes At Thunder Over The Blue Ridge Open House & Air Show In Martinsburg

  37. 37
    gogol's wife says:

    @fasteddie9318:
    Yes, that’s where I have the advantage over you. I believe he will.

  38. 38
    Cat Lady says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):

    And yet Dick Cheney still haunts the earth. WTF?

  39. 39
    J. Michael Neal says:

    Goddammit. I’m being punished for just WANTING to be a sinner. I picked Lust and it hasn’t gotten me a thing.

    Shouldn’t I at least be able to get a bit of enjoyment out of this first life before I’m condemned for all eternity?

  40. 40
    PeakVT says:

    @PeakVT: Well, the voter suppression story was decent overall. It will be up in a few hours here.

  41. 41
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Think about his quote when the Right keeps pushing money towards the military: It takes an awfully big army to keep the devil from taking their souls.

  42. 42
    nancydarling says:

    It’s the same shit the “jobs creators” class said about the Irish during the potato famine. The evangelical movement at the time believed that poverty was the result of original sin and if they kept sending corn to the Irish, it would endanger their immortal souls—so they stopped all food support programs and only a million people died. Their souls went straight to heaven though. Below is a link to a great article,”Let There be Markets:The Evangelical roots of economics.”

    http://harpers.org/archive/2005/05/0080538

  43. 43
    Elizabelle says:

    @handy:

    It’s past time to push back.

    Last night, a friend’s tea partying sister was whining about Obamacare possibly causing her some inconvenience (she’s on Medicare) and her own sister and I were at her, politely but firmly, talking about how other countries already had better health care and paid less for it. It costs them less because they cover everybody.

    It’s the moral thing to do, and saves money in the long run.

    Stop them in their tracks. Kindly, but firmly.

    The “FDR didn’t get us out of the Depression” theme is out there too, and needs batting down just as persistently.

    They don’t get to rewrite history, and present it (as Brooks does) as accepted and proven fact.

  44. 44
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @Cat Lady: And his daughters!

  45. 45
    vtr says:

    In his mid-week column, he wrote about America’s failing sense of morality, without mentioning our financial industry and the mayhem it’s caused. What a pest.

  46. 46
    Thymezone says:

    “I write about Mr. Brooks frequently because he is without question the single most powerful and shadow-casting practitioner of the dark art of lazy, incestuous, cheapjack Centrist punditry that is suffocating our culture under mile after smothering mile of tepid, Villager establishmentarian treacle.”

    Really? Brooks is that powerful, sufficating our culture and everything? Or does he just look particularly annoying because the opposition worldview has no punditry worth a flying fuck to offer as an antidote? Because our side sits around and writes about how Obama is just like Bush?

    Somebody just for fun should do an article count on this blog. How many pieces are about how stupid our adversaries are? How many are profferings of good ideas and sound and convincing arguments in favor of progressive policy or Dem unity and messaging?

    If a stupid shit Republican farts, these blogs will smell it for days and talk about every aspect of the scent. Maybe if the left spent less time peering into the navel of banality and more time advancing good ideas and teamwork, we’d be better off? David Brooks has no power we don’t give him.

  47. 47
    Thymezone says:

    Filter test.

  48. 48
    RossInDetroit says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Think about his quote when the Right keeps pushing money towards the military: It takes an awfully big army to keep the devil from taking their souls.

    Who says he wants them? A wise man once said “Any soul is worth selling but not just any soul is worth buying. So you can take the devil’s interest as a compliment.”

  49. 49
    Elizabelle says:

    Major headline up on The Washington Post website.

    Another September of Obama Discontent
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....ml?hpid=z1

    Dan Balz writes:

    It is September and Barack Obama is in trouble. His poll numbers are down, and there is unrest within his party and among his supporters. Some Democrats have begun to doubt whether his inner circle is up to the task. They are calling for changes — in Obama and his team.

    To President Obama and his advisers, this may be today’s story, but it was also the story in September 2007, September 2008 and to some extent in September 2009 and September 2010. Obama weathered the first two storms but struggled through the second pair. Which history will be repeated? Can he count on the good luck that helped him earlier? Can he summon within himself the changes that may be needed this time?

    Don’t want to make light of Obama’s considerable difficulties, but maybe this is also the story the MSM writes, over and over again?

  50. 50
    Short Bus Bully says:

    This dove-tails nicely with Mr. Brooks’ masters as well. For the Koch brothers returning to the time when they can build castles and moats to keep the darkies out and happily watch their serfs toil under a mid-day sun from the comfort of the palace works just fine.

  51. 51

    @Cat Lady:

    And yet Dick Cheney still haunts the earth. WTF?

    I’m not convinced Dick Cheney CAN die, at least all the way.

    Sexy Beast grade bad man.

  52. 52
    Thymezone says:

    Goddam you guys and your stupid mod filter. I am going to repost this sonovabi*ch every way from Sunday until I get it to post without moderation. Why don’t you fix or get rid of the piece of sh*t?
    —-//

    “I write about Mr. Brooks frequently because he is without question the single most powerful and shadow-casting practitioner of the dark art of lazy, incestuos, cheapjack Centrist punditry that is suffocating our culture under mile after smothering mile of tepid, Villager establishmentarian treacle.”

    Really? Brooks is that powerful, suffocating our culture and everything? Or does he just look particularly annoying because the opposition worldview has no punditry worth a flying f*ck to offer as an antidote? Because our side sits around and writes about how Obama is just like Bush?

    Somebody just for fun should do an article count on this blog. How many pieces are about how stupid our adversaries are? How many are profferings of good ideas and sound and convincing arguments in favor of progressive policy or Dem unity and messaging?

    If a stupid Republican f*rts, these blogs will smell it for days and talk about every aspect of the scent. Maybe if the left spent less time peering into the naveI of banaIity and more time advancing good ideas and teamwork, we’d be better off? David Brooks has no power we don’t give him.

  53. 53
    Cat Lady says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred):

    This is why I am anti religion. I do hope that karma’s a fucking bad ass bitch though.

  54. 54

    When Iraq was at peak frenzy Brooks wrote a column describing our troops as tough warriors or gentle nurses–as needed. As an ex-Jarhead, this seemed funny to me. When I wrote to urge him to enlist and join the fight, I said he had the makings of a fine platoon leader and, since he was such a zealot for the war, he could really do a job. Brooks responded with a form letter saying he didn’t respond to mail because he was too busy writing his column.

  55. 55
    Thymezone says:

    Goddam you guys and your stupid mod filter. I am going to repost this sonovabi*ch every way from Sunday until I get it to post without moderation. Why don’t you fix or get rid of the piece of sh*t?
    —-//

    “I write about Mr. Brooks frequently because he is without question the single most powerful and shadow-casting practitioner of the dark art of lazy, inceztuos, cheapjack Centrist punditry that is suffocating our culture under mile after smothering mile of tepid, Villager establishmentarian treacle.”

    Really? Brooks is that powerful, suffocating our culture and everything? Or does he just look particularly annoying because the opposition worldview has no punditry worth a flying f*ck to offer as an antidote? Because our side sits around and writes about how Obama is just like Bush?

    Somebody just for fun should do an article count on this blog. How many pieces are about how stupid our adversaries are? How many are profferings of good ideas and sound and convincing arguments in favor of progressive policy or Dem unity and messaging?

    If a stupid Republican f*rts, these blogs will smell it for days and talk about every aspect of the scent. Maybe if the left spent less time peering into the naveI of banaIity and more time advancing good ideas and teamwork, we’d be better off? David Brooks has no power we don’t give him.

    –//

    Edit: Several reposts later, and I found the mod filter trigger: The word “inceztuous” from the top post … won’t pass the filter. Your own fucking top post can’t be quoted, that’s how good your piece of crap filter is. GET RID OF IT OR FIX IT, why should people have to put up with this nonsense for years now? It isn’t funny any more, just fix the fucking thing.

  56. 56
    PurpleGirl says:

    They want to take up back to the Iron Age when civilizations were beginning. They are sure that they would be the ones doing the leading and setting the standards.

  57. 57
    JPL says:

    @Elizabelle:

    The “FDR didn’t get us out of the Depression” theme is out there too, and needs batting down just as persistently.

    When a friend mentioned that it wasn’t FDR but WWII, I laughed and said well that was the biggest stimulus ever.

  58. 58
    nancydarling says:

    @Thymezone: Golly, Thymezone, you need to settle down and take a cosmic view of the mod filter before you blow a gasket.

  59. 59
    PurpleGirl says:

    @JPL: But if it was up to the Republicans they wouldn’t have gotten us involved in WWII, or at least not in the European theater. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Republican say what they would have done after Pearl Harbor. And it’s known that there were a number of Republicans who were isolationists and/or who thought Hitler was the shizz of his day. Hell, Bush’s grandfather was one of them — loaned German industry money through the investment back he worked for.

  60. 60
    Elizabelle says:

    Take this Mr. Brooks. You get your own “Buffett Rule” to contend with.

    NYTimes breaking news alert

    President Obama to Seek Higher Tax Rate on Millionaires

    President Obama on Monday will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, administration officials said.

    With a special joint Congressional committee starting work to reach a bipartisan budget deal, the proposal adds a populist feature to Mr. Obama’s effort to raise the political pressure on Republicans to agree to higher revenues from the wealthy in return for Democrats’ support of future savings from Medicare and Medicaid.

    Mr. Obama, in a bit of political salesmanship, will call his proposal the Buffett Rule, in a reference to Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor who has complained that the richest Americans generally pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than do middle-income workers, because investment gains are taxed at a lower rate.

  61. 61
    Thymezone says:

    @nancydarling:

    No I don’t. The thing is an abomination and has been one for years. It’s idiotic. And in my opinion, speaking as one who did various forms of software development for thirty years, easily fixable by someone who knows what the hell he is doing.

  62. 62
    Elizabelle says:

    @JPL:

    The business of America has become the weapons business.

    You could make a case that we have fetishized the military.

    (Recall the respect given first responders after 9/11, but once it became apparent that some were getting oversized pensions and benefits, hello GI Joe.)

    Think how defense contracting and manufacturing is the jobs program that we should have for non-military goods as well.

  63. 63
    Corner Stone says:

    @Thymezone:

    speaking as one who did various forms of software development for thirty years, easily fixable by someone who knows what the hell he is doing.

    Why can’t it be a “she” you fucking sexist pig?

  64. 64
    JPL says:

    @Elizabelle: If you only reward the owners they will trickle down in the form of piss jobs. Almost went off message, sorry.

  65. 65
    Scuffletuffle says:

    @Elizabelle: The Bobo Rule would sound better.

  66. 66
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Thymezone:
    Relax-lah, brother. Chill. FYWP’s mod filter is just not worth blowing a gasket over, OK? Still less gasket-blowing-worthy is David Brooks’ twice-weekly flaunting of his intellectual limitations. Just click on the link to Driftglass’ blog, and enjoy the latest of those always delightful photographic representations of Bobo being Bobo.

  67. 67
    Thymezone says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Uh, I meant “she.” The mod filter must have eaten my “s”.

  68. 68
    Thymezone says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    True. But the thing is, and by “thing” I mean the obvious point that the reactionary blogosphere (where you are now) doesn’t ever get …. is ….. the antidote to bad punditry is (wait for it) … good punditry.

    Not endless crappy punditry about the bad punditry.

    Eh?

    Add: For example, Steve Benen. Good punditry.

  69. 69
    Jebediah says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    Perhaps the saddest thing about my atheism is that I must accept that the esteemed Mr. Brooks will never, ever have to face the consequences of his sins.

    Not necessarily. Perhaps Big Baby DougJ will temporarily become Big Bad Bastard DougJ at the precise time they are stuck in an elevator together.
    I know it is highly unlikely, but not literally impossible.

  70. 70
    Elizabelle says:

    @Thymezone:

    I think you’ve got a really good point, Thymezone. (About the outsized reaction to Mr. Brooks’ fatuousness.)

    BUT: my problem is that he is the sugar-coating applied to a really ugly type of immoral greed and selfishness.

    AND: that he’s got a column in The New York Times, whose readers deserve better.

    He sounds reasonable, and gets a wider hearing than he would if he did not coat his offerings in the moderate, nice guy of the world language. His assumptions, and the outcomes that would result from his proposals, are ugly and benefit those in his tax bracket at the expense of actual fairness.

    What moderate Democratic-leaning columnists have Brooks’ bully pulpits (NYTimes, PBS NewsHour, NPR Friday afternoon political wrapup) and reach?

    Steve Pearlstein of the Washington Post is frequently awesome, but he’s now got a weekly column in the Business section. He was never as heavily promoted and syndicated as Krauthammar, Will and the other WaPost uglies.

    Robert Reich and Paul Krugman are reality-based and liberal. I don’t see them out and about on broadcasts any where as near as Brooks, who’s mined the FatuousPundit Industry for all it’s worth.

  71. 71
    Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion says:

    @fasteddie9318: My Cherokee grandfather used to say that, if the white man couldn’t convince you to believe in his Hell, he could certainly convince you to want to.

  72. 72
    Elizabelle says:

    @Scuffletuffle:

    Shall think of it as the Buffett and Bobo Rule. Will make it doubly appealing. Plz let it be passed.

  73. 73
    Gex says:

    @gogol’s wife: Not that that makes his drivel any more bearable, I’m sure.

  74. 74
    Elizabelle says:

    @Thymezone:

    Steve Benen’s terrific.

    Beyond political junkies, who knows of him?

    Why doesn’t someone like Benen — who’s probably been correct way more often than more famous pundits — get more attention?

    (To Thymezone’s point, Benen’s blog, and this one, and Talking Points, and a few others are all part of the same “react to GOP stupidity” chamber. They all feed each other and you get a lot of deja vu scrolling through any given day. Along with some great more original content.)

  75. 75
    phil says:

    @Short Bus Bully:
    Turns out the Koch brothers don’t like free markets when they are at the wrong end of the stick. Yep, they’re (Oxbow) suing two railroads for…monopolization!

  76. 76
    Samara Morgan says:

    how is the juicitariat any different than Bobo? they still believe in American exceptionalism, missionary democracy, and the “freed” market.

    And Anne Laurie even wants to overthrow that Eevul Harem Culture.

  77. 77
    Thymezone says:

    @Elizabelle:

    Yes, it’s the challenge of sensibility. In a world that struggles to find a way forward in the face of opposition from an army of fools who lack a cerebral cortex …. rabble rousing and appeals to the stupid, the race to the bottom that Obama referred to recently … always gets attention first.

    A presidential candidate said this: Americans are vulnerable to demagogic appeals. That was Richard Nixon, in 1968, before the Republican convention that nominated him, at which he unveiled something called Peace with Honor. Yeah. The guy who told Frost, when asked why he had called his opponent a communist in his first campaign for the House seat he won back after WW2: “Well, you have to win.” The stupid and the lie always sound better at first, especially to the morons.

    But the thing is, if we are going to be more than morons, we have to stop wringing our hands over the maunderings of Brooks and the ignominy of Douthat being in NYT and just do what needs to be done. We are in the fix we are in today because 58% of voters did not vote in the last election. We don’t fix that by fixating on Brooks.

  78. 78
    Rabble Arouser says:

    @Thymezone: Or you could, you know, offer up your services, since you have so many years of experience and all.

  79. 79
    Amir Khalid says:

    Bobo strikes me as one of those who have learned far more than they understand, and don’t realize it. But I’ll give him this: he is not the worst major newspaper columnist in America. That title goes to Charles Krauthammer who, in his reflexive opposition to anything that smells even faintly of liberalism, is absolutely barking mad.

  80. 80
    Thymezone says:

    @Rabble Arouser:

    Nope. Too much work. How John Cole and others manage to deal with this crap every day and keep blogs going is beyond me. I haven’t the stomach for it or the patience. I admire their fortitude. I tried editorial cartooning many years ago, where I only had to produce one piece a week. It gave me migraines. The whole idea of a deadline for intellectual product just kills me. My best ideas happen when I am asleep. That’s when I am at my best.

  81. 81
    Thymezone says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Krauthammer, besides having a name that sounds like a character from Hogan’s Heroes, is truly mad. Just batshit nuts.

  82. 82
    Rabble Arouser says:

    @Thymezone: But bitching, that requires no work at all!

  83. 83
    Thymezone says:

    @Rabble Arouser:

    I’m retired :)

  84. 84
    moe99 says:

    Can we add Mitch Albom and Richard Cohen to the crap pile?

  85. 85
    Elizabelle says:

    @Thymezone:

    But the thing is, if we are going to be more than morons, we have to stop wringing our hands over the maunderings of Brooks and the ignominy of Douthat being in NYT and just do what needs to be done. We are in the fix we are in today because 58% of voters did not vote in the last election. We don’t fix that by fixating on Brooks.

    Agree there.

    I’m addicted to my favorite blogs, and keeping up (when time permits) consumes time that could be better spent out in the community or at a voter registration table.

    Or making the onion soup that didn’t make itself today.

    Do worry that blogs serve to validate one’s feelings, but also sidetrack from doing the real work that needs to be done.

  86. 86
    handy says:

    @moe99:

    Absolutely. And where’s the tinder and matches so we can light the thing on fire afterwards?

  87. 87
    driftglass says:

    @Thymezone:

    “We” did not give Mr. Brooks a permanent chunk of incredibly valuable real estate in the NYT, or recurring column inches a dozen other mags. “We” did not give him a radio bit on NPR, a seat at the table at PBS or an unlimited backstage pass to the Sunday talk shows. “We” did not give him an open invitation to TED talks, a front-row at Davos, or a blank check to have his very bad book published and promoted to the end’s of the Earth.

    Believe me, if “we” had done this, “we” would undo it.

  88. 88
    Thymezone says:

    @driftglass:

    Right, and media placement runs the world. If Brooks didn’t have that NYT gig, we’d have a Democratic House right now. And gay marriages in the White House. I get it. Really, I do.

    The problem here is that the media/blog world is entirely self-referential. It cannot stop with the mirror gazing. David Brooks is an insignificant twit. That’s the truth. I don’t care if they make him editor in chief of the NYT, he is still a useless twit who doesn’t matter. What matters is what we do. Apparently you don’t get that. In that case, DougJ and his next piece about David Broder are all you have to look forward to.

    Speaking of meaningless twits, what did Andrew Sullivan do today?

  89. 89
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    In the world of political football, David Brooks is nothing more than an athletic supporter; he cups the balls of the wealthy and keeps them safe from harm. Things are so hard for Bobo that he had to take a second job; on the weekends he’s a ball washer for the wealthy on their political golf course.

    He’s a busy man but he has to earn a living!

  90. 90

    @moe99:

    Can we add Mitch Albom and Richard Cohen to the crap pile?

    What’s so disappointing is that Albom was, and still is, a fabulous sports reporter. (He’s terrible on The Sports Reporters, but so is everyone else.) His strength is in human interest stories. Whenever he tries to discuss the technical aspects of sports it’s inevitably a disaster. When he sticks to talking about people, or the city of Detroit, he can be marvelous. He just needs to avoid generalizing anything, because that’s always a mess for him.

  91. 91
    jefft452 says:

    JPL

    “When a friend mentioned that it wasn’t FDR but WWII, I laughed and said well that was the biggest stimulus ever.”

    It was a big stimulus, yes
    but even without it – GDP DOUBLED between FDR’s taking office and Pearl Harbor

  92. 92
    jefft452 says:

    ps
    it almost but not quite doubled between Pearl Harbor and VJ day

    granted its a shorter period, but the overall effect of WW2 to the economy was smaller then the New Deal (but much faster)

  93. 93
    Splitting Image says:

    Just throwing out that (for anyone who hasn’t found his blog yet), the best pundit on the intertrons is Slacktivist over at Patheos.

    He’s another guy that no one knows about outside of the political-junkie internet-connected circle, but I’ve found that he’s the one I consistently link to the most and try to encourage other people to read.

    Benen is also great. So is Scott Lemieux over at LGM. I’m also fond of Bruce Bartlett.

  94. 94
    Chad N Freude says:

    Nobody picked up the “Our Mr. Brooks” reference? God, I feel old.

  95. 95
    Jager says:

    @General Stuck: Well, it used to be the 50’s…
    Nay, nay it was the 90% tax rate on income over a million a year that sent them screaming from the fifties! They want to go back to the time when only the peasants paid taxes

  96. 96
    piratedan says:

    will no one rid us of these meddlesome villagers?

  97. 97
    sweetgreensnowpea says:

    while many of us are being subjected to things we feel are “immoral and unethical” (bothersome things that create great discomfort and destroy lives) they are not “illegal”.
    so i have been told.

  98. 98
    Pat In Massachusetts says:

    Paul Krugman is the only Times writer I bother reading. Brooks, Friedman, Dowd, etc. can all go straight to hell. None of them have the faintest idea the struggles Americans are facing, and could care even less.

  99. 99
    Elizabelle says:

    @Pat In Massachusetts:

    That’s true. Brooks, Friedman and to a lesser extent, Dowd, are insulated and isolated from what an average American faces. And they don’t seem to realize that.

    Reviewing the reader comments on Brooks’ article was telling. They weren’t buying his dissembling and misinformation.

    That should tell Brooks something.

    It probably won’t.

  100. 100
    g says:

    Then they get angry and cynical when it turns out that it can’t.

    What he doesn’t mention is that the reason it turns out that way is that some, like Republicans today, cynically and purposefully make it certain that it will.

  101. 101
    jake the snake says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    Take the advice of Howlin’ Wolf. ” I own this truck, it don’t own me.” At least according to “Cadillac Records”.

  102. 102
    Elizabelle says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    Yglesias’s linked post was titled “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Columnist.”

    Knowing that reference could make some readers feel even older.

  103. 103

    @jake the snake:
    Too many “toys” and other business accoutrements and they’ve managed to own me instead of the other way around. The process of being “in business” costs me over $6K per year not to mention the passive costs of plates and ins on toys.

    In the end run I thrash about to support a system that gives a fuck if most of the population suffers and I’m tired of it. I can get rid of damn near everything (except the house I very nearly own and will rent furnished) and take back some of the bucks I handed around so freely. The motorhome with a trailer for the bike will do nicely and let me figure out what and how to do it as I go along. Not quite casting back to hippyism but getting much more free of the system than now with the added benefit/scary effect of not planning any damn thing or being responsible to much of anybody. It won’t happen quickly, hell I have many thousands of dollars of tools alone and at least 5 vehicles to sell. Want one or some? Look at my blog under “Cars” or “Guns”

  104. 104
    vonhonkington says:

    when i was growing up, reading the newspaper was one of the habits i tried developing as a sign of maturity. before i at all understood politics in any way, i read an article by mr. krauthammer about gulf war syndrome.

    he posited that the soldiers were just malingerers wanting a handout and that their symptoms were simply the result of getting older.

    i was struck even then by how malicious and spiteful this line of reasoning is. it’s indefensible. but mr. krauthammer defended it.

  105. 105
    DougW says:

    @Citizen_X: Why apologize?

  106. 106
    DougW says:

    @fasteddie9318: Yes he will. If you believe in hell… Oh! You’re right! He doesn’t believe in anything except his ability to scalp the marks. Very good reasoning!

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