Mr. Brooks: stalked by his youth…


The pundits/gasbags of Wingnutopia are focused on the The Professor. Some like Rushbo are moving towards a full embrace of Scarborough’s Gingrich meme:

“Who was the last person to actually cut government? Who was the last person who actually led a movement that balanced the federal budget? . . . The last time there was true welfare reform, the last time government was cut, Gingrich did it.”

The Wingnut potentate is telling his minions that the “establishment” (Left AND Republican) is out to silence Newt. It’s pretty close to an endorsement and it’s clear that The Professor is preferred over Mittens. Meanwhile, the establishment voices of Wingnutopia’s Beltway tribe are yelling at the base and telling them “NO, Stop, please don’t choose Newt”. All of this gives the Grifter from Georgia more street cred.

Will, Noonan, Douthat, Krauthammer, and a host of other members of the Conservative establishment are doing what they can to stop the base from embracing Newt. I think they will fail. It will be fun to see how each on them walks it back to proclaim The Professor a Conservative Hero and the best of all possible people to be President.

And then there is Bobo. I expect that his walk back and embrace of Gingrich may be the most tortured of them all. His column today was packed with all the regular hilarity, but there was a gem that really stood out (emphasis added):

In the two main Republican contenders, we have one man, Romney, who seems to have walked straight out of the 1950s, and another, Gingrich, who seems to have walked straight out of the 1960s. He has every negative character trait that conservatives associate with ’60s excess: narcissism, self-righteousness, self-indulgence and intemperance. He just has those traits in Republican form.

I’ve often wondered about the hatred of the 1960s by the Wingnuts, but this line from Bobo clarified it for me. These traits–narcissism, self-righteousness, self-indulgence and intemperance–are core to the modern conservative movement, but they are embarrassed by them. They like to pretend they belong to somebody else and so they invented fantasy memories of the 1960s complete with phantom hippies as the home for their shadow material.

That said, I think you could make a strong case that roughly half of all Baby Boomers have embraced narcissism, self-righteousness, self-indulgence and intemperance as core to their world view, but then again half of all Boomers have grown up to be Conservatives, Dittoheads and TeaBots. The Venn diagram of the two groups would almost completely overlap.

The truth is that these conservatives were pricks in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties when they were young and still are today–they just like to justify their dickishness by blaming it all on fantasy hippies from a mythical time. Regardless of when they were born, they have a desperate need to project these traits elsewhere as a way to avoid any and all responsibility for their actions–and so we all must hate the 1960s as described by their collective false memory.

Mr. Brooks is haunted by the narcissism, self-righteousness, self-indulgence and intemperance of the modern conservative movement, but rather than confront these traits, he chooses projection and blame shifting. No surprise that he blames it all on phantom hippies from a decade that only exists in his imagination. This avoidance of bad conservative thinking and behavior is part of the glue that holds Wingnutopia together. And when they need to disapline a member of the tribe they lob the biggest insult that they can think of: “you’re a hippie”. And so that became the heart of Bobo’s swipe at Newt.

Sometimes I think that Bobo must have had a bad hit of Purple Haze and never recovered. That would explain a lot about Bobo but there was never enough bad acid to explain the modern conservative movement.


80 replies
  1. 1
    beltane says:

    Too bad they don’t have, or want, a candidate who belongs to the 21st century. Then again, nostalgia and sentimentality are hallmarks of the reactionary mind.

  2. 2
    Little Boots says:

    wait, you’re not doug.

  3. 3
    Suffern ACE says:

    Will, Noonan, Douthat, Krauthammer

    all come from a part of the country where the Republican party has been largely rendered impotent barring scandal from incumbent Democrats. If they were interested in getting their party back, the establishment they represent could buy Clear Channel and pull Rush off the air. But they’ve given him hundreds of millions over the years and now can’t shut him up. Too bad. So sad. Hope when he eats them, he starts at the head and not the feet.

  4. 4
    Little Boots says:

    the sixties unhinges so many people. especially those for whom the 70’s is the operative decade. we kind of don’t know what to do with ourselves. we’re not exactly jealous, we’re just a little unhinged by the decade that came before. this is David’s problem. we’re not quite jealous. we’re just a little lost.

  5. 5
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    As I said, there’s going to be a lot of bile-swallowing going on over there on the right if Newt gets the nod – but they’ll do it and they’ll smile as best they can.

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Little Boots: Brooks was, I believe, born the same year as Obama.

  7. 7
    Little Boots says:

    when everyone had a choice.

    brooks chose the crazy.

  8. 8
    Little Boots says:

    dennis, did I introduce you to ta nehsi coates, or was that fever dream?

  9. 9
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist: Bile is such a fatty food. I expect Brooks to gain 125 pounds during the next year. That would lead to horrible spinal problems, and I expect he’ll lose about 6 inches in height as his stature continues to decline.

  10. 10
    Little Boots says:

    dennis, really need you to chime in.

    omnes is in a mood.

  11. 11
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Obama is exactly one week to the day older than Bobo. August 4, 1961 v. August 11, 1961.

  12. 12
    Dennis G. says:

    @Little Boots: I do not remember how I first started reading TNC and I feel like I have been reading him for years. Still, when I think about it I have a memory that a comment suggested I check him out, which I did. It is quite possible that it was a comment from you. And I thank you for it.


  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Suffern ACE: I have been at Lao parties where bile was served as a dip/sauce (a delicacy). Oddly enough, it is very bitter.

  14. 14
    Little Boots says:

    @Dennis G.:



    Possible truth!


    (sorry, dennis, but I needed that.)

  15. 15
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Little Boots: Go get him, sport. And just remember that I introduced you to Lana Del Rey.

  16. 16
    Little Boots says:

    and he really is awesome. for the rest of you. READ HIM!

  17. 17
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Hmmm. I wonder what the salt pig equivalent would be for bile.

  18. 18
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Little Boots: Speed kills.

  19. 19
    Little Boots says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: ‘

    this is true. and I will tell everyone you are awesome.

    with pride.

  20. 20
  21. 21
    Dennis G. says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: The Baby Boomers were the post war generation and that was made up of the children born between 1946 and 1964. That is a wide spread and there were really three or four waves/generations that have all been marked as boomers. As you get past 1960, it becomes harder and harder to tie those folks to the earlier boomers. Still, this group is the mass that drove pop culture and into the 1990s (and maybe even now) subsequent generations have been defined in relation to and/or reaction to the boomers. Hence the recovered memory of the 1960s gets to have as much meaning for a conservative born in 1988 as one born in 1954 or 1961.

    The myth holds the wingnuts together. Facts do not matter.


  22. 22
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Dennis G.: I am August of 1964 and I don’t see how I could be considered part of the generation that technically starts with my father’s slightly younger sister and not part of the same generation as my younger brother, so I get that bit. I just find the juxtaposition of those two, Obama and Brooks, to be amusing – especially now that I know they were not only born a week apart, but that Obama is the elder of the two.

  23. 23
    Little Boots says:

    eschaoton’s crazy. just saying.

  24. 24
    Little Boots says:

    omenes, stop talking crazy.

  25. 25
    Little Boots says:

    and stop upsetting Dennis, who is right about what I’ve done.

  26. 26
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Suffern ACE: A bile duct?

  27. 27
    Little Boots says:

    and no ignoring me

  28. 28
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Little Boots: Have you paid any of my damn bills yet?

  29. 29
    Little Boots says:

    dennis? Q

  30. 30
    Little Boots says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    no, you’re too angry still.

  31. 31
    cokane says:

    I’d say well over half of the baby boomers became the nasty conservatives you describe. If you look at voting behaviors of age cohorts in 08 and 10.

  32. 32
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Little Boots: Technically, you want a semicolon there instead of a comma, but I don’t want to seem a grammar scold.

  33. 33
    Little Boots says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    dammit, I hate when I screw up the grammar.

  34. 34
  35. 35

    The depth of conservative psychological projection is bottomless.

  36. 36
    Little Boots says:

    am I right that Omnes is in a mood? I can’t be the only one who noticed.

  37. 37
    srv says:

    Oh god, don’t tell me Bobo is that young. Oh, the fucking humanity…

  38. 38
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Garner’s Modern America Usage, 3d ed., 2003.

  39. 39
    Suffern ACE says:

    @srv: You’re gonna be stuck with him for the rest of your life. Beck is even younger. He’ll be back soon. They never go away.

  40. 40
    Little Boots says:


    dennis and I are bonding, and Omnes is bitter.

    somebody needs to stop.

  41. 41
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Little Boots: Perhaps. I thought I noticed, though I suspect that I might be as well.

  42. 42
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Little Boots: An anecdote: When I was a kid, my family used to take long car vacations. I would watch out the window of the car looking for interesting things. My younger brother would simply get bored and start playing the “I’m not touching you” game. I found that the best way to deal with it was to simply hit him. He wanted attention, and he got it. He would then be fine for a half hour or so while I looked for bison or eagles.

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): Shit [,/;] I don’t have that one.

  44. 44
    Little Boots says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    a parable.

    oh great.

    Oh don’t be angry. you know how I get.

  45. 45
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Little Boots: I am not bitter. I don’t do bitter. If one goes down that road it is like succumbing to the dark side of the force. Nope, won’t do it.

  46. 46
    srv says:

    @Suffern ACE: When I was young, I arrived back home Sunday and drove past the Drum. “Yanni and John Tesh together” it said. I cut across 4 lanes to make the exit, parked on the sidewalk, opened the trunk, harnessed up my suicide vest and ran for the turnstyle.

    Alas, their performance was the night before…

    Get Bobo, Peggy, George and douchebag maximus together on stage together, and someone will step up to the glory.

  47. 47
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I might have made up that cite. : ) But I suspected you’d know of him, and approve of the reference at least. And he was DFW’s favorite grammarian.

  48. 48
    Little Boots says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I know you don’t. I just like to do what I do.

    as I said, do not take me seriously.

    and I know you’re not bitter.

  49. 49
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Little Boots: I take very few people seriously. You are not among those people.

  50. 50
    Little Boots says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    oh, good,

    and if it makes you feel better:

  51. 51
    Little Boots says:

    and the important thing is dennis and I have a whole TBC thing.

    so there.

  52. 52
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Little Boots: TNC?

  53. 53
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    But, but…

    The Dark Side has cookies!

  54. 54
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: The Light Side has pie and tartes. The choice is obvious.

  55. 55
    Jewish Steel says:

    narcissism, self-righteousness, self-indulgence and intemperance

    Some of the most fun I’ve had in life has involved some combination of these things. Brooks is God’s own prissy little fuck.

    If you can get all 4 in there, that’s the superfecta!

  56. 56

    Thank FSM that I was in elementary school when that POS Bobo was born… that gives some time for education to have gone to hell.

  57. 57

    I read the quoted passage as Brooks pompous code for Gingrich can’t be President because he couldn’t keep it in his pants. Since serious thinkers are not supposed to write columns at the level of gossip about the royal family, Brooks has to use pretenticode to talk about Gingrich doing the dirty on the down low and lots of other slang we are both too young to remember (I admit that I am a year older than he is and it hurts).

  58. 58
    Pat In Massachusetts says:

    I had to stop reading all the above named pundits some time ago to literally keep my sanity. If they represent the prevailing thought in America, well then we might as well all call it a day, because their America does not include me and people like me living in it.

    They are disgusting and actually quite hateful and what galls me the most is that they are paid quite well for those attributes.

  59. 59
    dmbeaster says:

    It is weird that two decades that began 50 and 60 years ago still serve as Bobo’s touchstone. Its a clear signal of the rightards’ obsession with the culture war for which those decades are shorthand.
    I came of age politically in the 70s. I don’t remember anyone of that time referring to the 10s’ and 20s’ in order to explain their worldview, and if they had, they would have been viewed as nuts.

  60. 60
    Mino says:

    Hate to crash the mellow, but lots and lots of genuine hippies took off the headbands and went straight in the 80’s, carrying all their narcissism, self-righteousness, self-indulgence and intemperance with them. You don’t imagine every hippie evolved into a liberal, do you?

  61. 61
    debbie says:

    @ srv:

    Oh god, don’t tell me Bobo is that young.

    I can’t believe he and Obama are the same age. Brooks seems a good 10 years older. It must be all that backwards-looking.

  62. 62
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @debbie: He is getting chunkier too and chunky Bobo has gotten less chunky, we may have to switch their names.

  63. 63
    catclub says:

    @Jewish Steel: Think about the people who opposed civil rights in the 60’s. Those four traits kinda jump out at you.

    Of course, the people who were right about the damn war
    (does one even need to pick one) are considered self-righteous by the ones who were in the majority and wrong.

  64. 64
    Dennis G. says:

    @Mino: That was part of the point I was trying to make, but I guess I missed the mark. So it goes.


  65. 65
    SFAW says:

    I had to stop reading all the above named pundits some time ago to literally keep my sanity.

    Missed it by THAT much.

  66. 66
    SFAW says:

    Of course, the people who were right about the damn war (does one even need to pick one) damn-near-everything are considered self-righteous by the ones who were in the majority and wrong.


  67. 67
    SFAW says:

    He is getting chunkier too and chunky Bobo has gotten less chunky, we may have to switch their names.

    Well, except the “chunky” part of “chunky Bobo” did not (primarily) refer to his BMI.

    Be that as it may: we can always go to Thing 1 and Thing 2, except I wouldn’t want to put them in the same galaxy as Dr. Seuss.

    How about Dork 1 and Dork 2? SFB 1 & 2? Prissy-Overprivileged-Imbecile 1 & 2?

    Trying to find just the right name can be SO difficult, sometimes.

  68. 68
    J says:

    I think this post is on to something. Look at some of the comparative data. Catholic priests, subject to an extremely conservative hierarchy, rape and abuse children, and the blame belongs to… the sixties.

  69. 69
    El Cid says:

    If you’re a liberal and you tell a conservative that a metal can should go in recycling and not the trash, you are a screaming narcissistic death camp commander liberal who would never comprehend the sort of humble humility practiced by real Americans around the cool section of Applebees’ salad bars.

  70. 70
    Adam C says:

    This needs to go in this discussion somewhere.

  71. 71
    debbie says:

    @ Jewish Steel:

    If you can get all 4 in there, that’s the superfecta!

    The only time I’ve achieved all four was the celebration party we had while watching Nixon’s resignation speech.

  72. 72
    jake the snake says:

    I have to borrow this template from H P Lovecraft. BTW, I did not realize HPL could afford razor soup.

    David Brooks is a short, plump fellow of about Fifty, with a bland face, thinning hair, and very questionable taste in attire. He is actually an immensely good sort — kindly, affable, winning, and smiling. Probably he has to be in order to induce people to let him live after they have read his columns.

  73. 73
    wrb says:

    This is an extremely perceptive post.

  74. 74
    DanielX says:

    @jake the snake: I KNEW there was a reason David Brooks was still alive, although I’m not certain his affability is sufficient. Woke up at 2 am with acid reflux and it was from dreaming about the Friday column. “Hayekian modesty”, indeed…what the fuck would David Brooks know about Hayekian modesty or any other kind of modesty? Clearly he doesn’t have the intellectual modesty to cover up his shortcomings the only way he could – by taking a vow never again to speak or write a word for public consumption.

  75. 75
    SFAW says:

    by taking a vow never again to speak or write a word for public consumption.

    He prefers to remove all doubt. He’s good that way.

  76. 76
    Mike G says:

    Bobo may have been born in 1961, but he has the mindset of someone living in the 1920s.

  77. 77
    Rick Massimo says:

    Oh for fk’s sake. I was going to say – well, I guess I still will – that I am 47 years old, I have a 12-year-old son who comes up to my cheekbone and who’s a year and a half away from starting high school, I wake up in the middle of the night to pee and I got aches and pains when I get up in the morning, and I DON’T REMEMBER THE SIXTIES because when they ended I was FIVE so could these people PLEASE stop acting like Abbie Hoffman is still running around Chicago because that was a LONG TIME AGO.

    But Brooks is only three years older than I am? He didn’t live through them in any significant way either?

    Then fuck him. He’s just being a Stalinist of history. And yeah, Ross “Pull Up a Chair and Lemme Tell You About the ’70s Because I Know All About Them, Having Been Born Nov. 28, 1979” Douthat is learning well.

  78. 78
    jafd says:


    ISTR – being born in 1950 and coming from a politically-active family – that there were a lot of 1970’s right-wingers and general curmudgeons that looked back to an ‘ideal world’ before 1929 or 1932 or 1941 – the theme music for _All in the Family_ ain’t a bad summary of the view.

  79. 79

    Will, Noonan, Douthat, Krauthammer, and a host of other members of the Conservative establishment are doing what they can to stop the base from embracing Newt. I think they will fail

    Their problem is they’re talking to people who don’t read or listen to them. There are, to be sure, a couple exceptions; but by and large who the hell in the group they’re trying to reach reads Will, etc? They’re also trying to stir some “middle” group that ordinarily doesn’t get out for Primaries in the first place and for a Party that generally runs closed Primaries.

  80. 80
    A.J. says:


    “there is never enough bad acid to explain the modern conservative movement.”

    I’m stealing that one. And not going to give you credit.

    This one may surpass my other favorite crack: This (conservatives, Rethugs, Baggers) is what happens when you drink the bong water.”

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