Splattered all over Manhattan

If Jesus had thought he’d be forced to watch this when he rose again, it’s quite likely that he would have stayed in his grave: David Brooks moderates a discussion with strategists and writers on the future of conservatism and the Republican Party at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research Panelists include Megan McArdle, Reihan Salam, Josh Barro, Avik Roy, and Yuval Levin. (h/t Reader J)

I’m going to try to watch some of it, I’m not sure why.

62 replies
  1. 1
    Judge Crater says:

    Is it too late to call in a bomb threat?

  2. 2
    ruemara says:

    You’re a glutton for punishment?

  3. 3
    Schlemizel says:

    Gee that sound like fun but I think I’m just going to sit in the basement hitting my balls with a hammer instead.

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    Apparently, the future of conservatism doesn’t include going to church on the holiest day in Christianity.

  5. 5
    MattF says:

    I won’t be paying attention, I’m pleased to say.

  6. 6
    DougJ says:


    I guess it’s from a month ago. It’s pretty interesting to watch so far.

    Why does Josh Barro consider himself a conservative?

  7. 7

    I’m going to try to watch some of it, I’m not sure why.

    You either a sadist or masochist (haven’t figured out which one yet) and I don’t mean in the fun BDSM way.

  8. 8
    Mike in NC says:

    Is an Easter Sunday drone strike out of the question?

  9. 9
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    I’m going to try to watch some of it, I’m not sure why.

    Self-loathing, pure and simple self-loathing.

  10. 10
    Baud says:

    This being an important religious weekend for Christians and Jews, President Obama took a break from his typically-partisan Saturday radio address to offer Easter and Passover greetings.

    Sen. Lamar Alexander on behalf of the Republican Party? Not so much.

    “These holy days have their roots in miracles that took place long ago,” Obama said. “And yet, they still inspire us, guide us, and strengthen us today. They remind us of our responsibilities to God and, as God’s children, our responsibilities to one another. “

    Sen. Alexander declared that “lifting the big wet blanket of Obama regulations will enable our free enterprise system to create plenty of jobs.”

  11. 11
    Baud says:


    Why does Josh Barro consider himself a conservative?


  12. 12
    Chyron HR says:


    Like Christ, the big wet blanket of regulations will be RISEN!

  13. 13
    J says:

    @Baud: like the re-purposing of the ‘wet blanket’ figure and good to know that Republicans aren’t letting sacred holidays distract them from fealty to Mammon.

  14. 14
    jake the snake says:

    You forgot the David Brooks giving a lecture tag. Too obvious?

  15. 15
    Baud says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Blessed are the job creators, for they shall inherit the earth, free from the oppressive burden of death taxes.

  16. 16
    Poopyman says:

    @Baud: Doesn’t explain why other conservatives consider him enough of a conservative to include him in these discussions.

  17. 17
    GregB says:

    I’m going to assume the pitchers on the dais contain vinegar and water.

  18. 18
    Baud says:


    Seems like this panel is directed to the wealthy urban conservative set, not the rabid wingnut base.

  19. 19
    Citizen_X says:


    lifting the big wet blanket of Obama regulations


  20. 20
    Suffern ACE says:

    Come see the spirited and lively back and forth between a bunch of upper middle class folk who disagree fundamentally about nothing that particularly matters to you.

  21. 21
    Poopyman says:

    @Suffern ACE: I might go if there was any chance that any one of them would get up and slap the shit out of any other one of them. Sadly, ….

  22. 22
    geg6 says:


    Why does Josh Barro consider himself a conservative?

    I have asked myself this very question many times. The only answer I have is he makes a buck off of it. I generally like him, but his insistence that he’s a conservative ring rather hollow in the face of his actual stated policy positions.

  23. 23
    amk says:

    so they are admitting the gop has an existential crisis?…

    nah, who am I kidding.

  24. 24
    chrome agnomen says:

    jeebus! and they claimed the neutron bomb was inhumane! here is a clear call to challenge that ruling!

  25. 25
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Poopyman: who knows? There might be moments of tension. Maybe followed by a brief awkward silence after which everyone agrees to change the subject and move on. I live for such moments.

  26. 26
    srv says:

    Imagine a day when there is a David Brooks Institute.

    Heh, I like the young kid arguing to stop whining about the debt and zings the apocolyptian: “A conservative is someone who believes every market is efficient except the treasury bond market”

    Dude must be reading K-Thug!

    Megan: “All my ideas are electoral death”

    Avin Roy waxing about the next great conservative, someone who makes conservatism accepting of the modern era…. Lols.

  27. 27
    Tiny Tim says:

    Barro is in some sense the “fantasy moderate conservative” the beltway types crave except they don’t have any understanding of what that is anymore. Old-style conservative technocratic solutions to problems would actually be surprisingly liberal today. The “bi-partisan consensus” on addressing issues is always some unholy super expensive program that funnels money to rich people in exchange for giving some scraps to poor people, because modern conservatives are just about funneling money to rich people.. Barro’s conservative in that he thinks that if you want to help poor people you should just give them some money.

  28. 28
    Pogonip says:

    @Suffern ACE: Hee Hee Hee Hee Hee.

  29. 29
    Baud says:

    @Tiny Tim:

    Barro’s conservative in that he thinks that if you want to help poor people you should just give them some money.

    So does he want to help poor people? (Honest question. I don’t know his views on that.)

  30. 30
    DougJ says:

    @jake the snake: You are right. I’ll add it.

  31. 31
    geg6 says:

    @Tiny Tim:

    I would argue that 21st century liberalism is more aligned with some of the more classical definitions of the word conservative. After all, we are trying, in many ways, to conserve the status quo left to us from the 20th century.

    It’s the modern conservatives who are radicals.

  32. 32
    Pogonip says:

    I would like to mention that FYWP published a string of hee’s but ate my long, erudite comment the other day.

    Oh, well. Happy Easter anyway, enjoy the dinner, if Easter ain’t your holiday come on over, we’ll still feed you and we’ll send you home with some of those umpteen colored eggs we now have on hand.

  33. 33
    cmorenc says:

    Actually, if all conservatives were like David Brooks, it would be splendid because they’d spend all their energies whipping up Whiggy pudding instead of brewing poisonous Tea, and giving TED talks at Aspen instead of THUG speeches about wrecking any possibility of constructive governance. I haven’t tortured myself trying to watch more than a few snippets of the linked conservative talk-panel, but I’d speculate it’s a good possibility that “Bengazi!” and “IRS scandal!” aren’t ever mentioned, even elliptically. THE REAL POINT is that if all conservatives were like this panel, they’d spend all their time babbling in harmless irrelevancy to the rest of us. The only potential danger from David Brooks is the extent to which his presence enables some deluded Democrats and moderately progressive folk into thinking a reasonable, constructive dialogue is possible with modern-day conservatives where we can somehow meet them half-way in a mutually acceptable (if imperfect) fashion.

  34. 34
    Ash Can says:

    What’s the point of this whole exercise in futility? The participants will all spout academic jargon for hours and hours, then conclude that the party’s messaging needs to be improved. Then Brooks will gush over the profundity of the conclusion, and everyone will go home thinking they’ve accomplished something.

    Oh damn, I gave away the ending, didn’t I? Well, look on the bright side — now you don’t have to watch it.

  35. 35
    Tiny Tim says:

    I think Barro is more interested in helping poor people than any republican politicians are, which is the thing that makes his “conservative” self-labeling sketchy.

  36. 36
    mai naem says:

    Okay, let’s look at this group and the GOP – Josh Barro – gay, Reihan Salam – swarthy even if he’s not he looks musleemy and his name is fer sure musleemy, Avik Roy – brown person taking white males’ jobs – also probably not Christian, Megan McArdle – married working woman with no kids – taking up white male job and not procreating, David Brooks – NYT and NY Joo – technically they want him dead after the rapture. So what do all these people have in common? The GOP doesn’t want them.

  37. 37
    Ruckus says:

    That does sound somehow more pleasant.

    As well as being more productive.

  38. 38
    mai naem says:

    @Tiny Tim: I’ve read Josh Barro’s stuff even before he was at the NYT and coming on MSNBC. I was genuinely surprised he was labeled a conservative. At most he’s an old fashioned Rockefeller Republican – think Jacob Javits, Millicent Fenwick, Ed Brooks.

  39. 39
    Ruckus says:

    So he can vote republican and convince himself not to throw up doing it?
    As several have stated, CASH.
    On a bet? That he lost badly and was given the choice to stand in front of the Washington Monument and shave his balls or this. He chose the greater of two evils.

  40. 40
    MattF says:

    @mai naem: Yeah, they’re all fellow travelers, useful idiots. Makes Mr. Rove happy to see them emitting vocal phenomena in public.

  41. 41
    Crouchback says:

    It’s all kind of pointless. As it currently exists, the GOP is funded by a relatively small number of rich right wing cranks. Elderly reactionaries and the Christian Right make up the core of its electoral base. And it relies on institutional advantages such as gerrymandering and voter suppression to maintain its power. All these elements make it resistant to reform – they can’t expand without breaking their current base.

    So the current GOP will not be reformed until it collapses. If current trends continue, the elderly part of the base will die off and population trends will make it difficult to maintain gerrymandering and other institutional advantages after the next census. But until then there is little incentive to reform – the GOP is in win now mode. I don’t see any point in nattering about reforming the GOP until after the 2024 presidential race.

  42. 42
    Pooh says:

    I think Josh Barro is just playing the character Donna dated for a minute on West Wing.

  43. 43
    brettvk says:

    @mai naem: Brooks is Jewish? I always took him for a High Church Anglican, for some reason.

  44. 44
    gogol's wife says:


    What really enrages me about that passage is the hyphen between “typically” and “partisan.” When did it become acceptable to put hyphens between adverbs and adjectives? It now seems to be New York Times house style.

  45. 45
    dp says:

    Masochism is a terrible condition.

  46. 46
    kindness says:

    Doesn’t the Geneva Convention make torture illegal? Listening to Brooks Round Table is certainly torture.

  47. 47
    Hungry Joe says:

    @gogol’s wife: It’s not NY Times house style — it’s cost-saving on copy editors.

  48. 48
    gogol's wife says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    I actually wrote to their style editor, and he argued with me about it. He thinks it’s ambiguous to omit the hyphen. The world is going to hell in a handbasket.

  49. 49
    Baud says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    I took that quote from the Christian-Science-Monitor, not-the-New-York-Times.

  50. 50
    gogol's wife says:


    ARGHHH! The disease is spreading! And I first noticed it when my husband got back a copyedited manuscript from the University of Chicago Press. They had stuck in hyphens between adverbs and adjectives all over the manuscript. Then I started seeing it in the Times.

  51. 51
    mai naem says:

    @brettvk: He’s jewish. I have no idea how I even know. He must have mentioned it in one of his Diane Rehm appearances. It’s in his wikipedia entry. Speaking of Diane Rehm, she had on a guy earlier this week who’s written a John Wayne biography. I didn’t listen to the whole thing but it was kind of funny because he had several people email/tweet about his WWII deferments/chickenhawkiness. The biographer was obviously an admirer of Wayne and kind of bs’d his way out of the questions.

  52. 52
    JustRuss says:

    @gogol’s wife: Thanks for fighting the good fight. The NYT editor is a phillistine.

  53. 53
    Hungry Joe says:

    @gogol’s wife: ***SIGH*** I kind of wish you hadn’t told me that.

  54. 54
    Jay C says:

    @mai naem:

    Which subject always reminds of one of the more famous quotes from one of John Wayne’s more famous films (slightly edited):

    “This is the West Hollywood, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend”.

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:

    @mai naem:

    I didn’t listen to the whole thing but it was kind of funny because he had several people email/tweet about his WWII deferments/chickenhawkiness.

    Apparently one of the reasons Wayne was so hawkish about the Vietnam War was that his friends and colleagues who did go to WWII (especially John Ford) rode him really hard about all of his deferments. IMO, he could (somewhat) justify his deferments since he already had 4 kids to support by the time the war started, but his guilt at not going really fueled a lot of his later war hawk positions.

  56. 56
    Alex S. says:

    @mai naem:

    Indeed! Stockholm Syndrome…

  57. 57
    Marc says:

    Here’s one just to further piss off the front-pagers:

    David Brooks: Obama Has A ‘Manhood Problem’ In Middle East

    To paraphrase a wise man, go ask Osama bin Laden if he thinks the president has a manhood problem.

  58. 58
    Mandalay says:

    @mai naem: Not only was Wayne a chickhawk, but he was a racist as well, even giving him a break because he spewed this stuff back in 1971….

    In a 1971 Playboy interview, Wayne said: “We can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks. I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership to irresponsible people.” Wayne was also asked his opinion of Indians after wasting so many of them in the movies. He said: “I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country from them, if that’s what you’re asking. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival.”

    I suspect that he and Brando weren’t very chummy.

  59. 59
    Chris T. says:

    @mai naem:

    So what do all these people have in common? The GOP doesn’t want them.

    Oh, so that’s why they’re so desperate to get into the club!

  60. 60
    Tehanu says:

    David Brooks moderates a discussion with strategists and writers … at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research Panelists include

    I blearily skimmed over this and for a moment I thought it read, “Parasites include…”

  61. 61
    divF says:

    @brettvk: There are several jokes, all along the line the Anglicanism is the route that many hyper-assimilated upper-class Jews take. For example, “dress British, think Yiddish”. There is another longer one that I am not able to tell, since the punch line requires a knowledge of Hebrew that I don’t have.

  62. 62

    @Mandalay: I suspect that he and Brando weren’t very chummy.

    I don’t think Neil Young would have been very chummy with John Wayne either.

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