Twenty, twenty, twenty-four hours to go

My therapist said to stop reading Bobo (she said he’s like a disease without any cure), so now I can only read others’ summaries of his columns. Just kidding, he bores me now that his wife left him– he’s just another soft rock concern troll on the Adult Contemporary charts. I liked his early stuff better, when he wanted to punch hippies and bomb people; now he just wants to enact unpopular legislation, or, better yet, wank about how concerned he is that unpopular legislation won’t pass. Anyhoo, this Jonathan Chait piece on Bobo’s Bowles-Simpson fetish is right on the money (via):

Brooks believes that the drumbeat on behalf of Simpson-Bowles is but a small taste of what is needed to reshape the face of American politics. He foresees a future in which we “Gather small groups of the great and the good together to hammer out bipartisan reforms — on immigration, entitlement reform, a social mobility agenda, etc. — and then rally establishment opinion to browbeat the plans through.”

If Simpson and Bowles failed, it is only due to a surfeit of hammering and browbeating. This can be fixed for future Simpson-Bowles commissions. For instance, why is Morning Joe a mere three hours long? It should be on 24 hours a day, and all Americans should have to watch it, Clockwork Orange–style.

Haha! It’s funny because that is exactly what these assholes would do if they could.

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70 replies
  1. 1
    Suffern ACE says:

    I really kind of blame the failure on Bowles. He’s too boring to be a spokesperson.

    There. I said it. I’ve been holding in what I really feel too long.

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Ash Can says:

    Future, my ass. We have that system now. We’ve always had that system, in fact. It’s called the legislature, and it’d be working today exactly as Bobo envisions if it weren’t for its Republican members. But to come right out and say this would derail his gravy train give the poor thing a terrible case of the vapors, so he has to continue to write around the elephant in the room.

  4. 4
    Yang Guang says:

    Viddy well, little peasants, viddy well!

    It breaks my little heart when the one of the elites haz a sad.

  5. 5
    NonyNony says:

    David Brooks writes today that American politics have grown “neurotically democratic.”

    WTF, Brooks? You’re saying the quiet part loud and the loud part quiet again!

    You’re supposed to talk about how awesome democracy as a concept while proposing things that are horribly, horribly undemocratic. You’re not supposed to trash democracy as a concept while proposing things that are horribly, horribly undemocratic!

    You used to understand this game, Brooks. You used to know how to be a hardcore conservative while convincing everyone around you that you were a moderate, mushy “kinda conservative” moderate.

    What happened to you Brooks? You used to be … well, you were never cool per se, but you used to be something. And now you are not that thing. What happened?

  6. 6
    Mnemosyne says:

    The funny part, of course, is that the reason the Simpson-Bowles commission failed is that Simpson and Bowles didn’t like the agreement that the rest of the commission came to, so they took their ball, went home, and created a PowerPoint presentation to show what they wanted. So it was kind of the exact opposite of what Brooks claims he wants — two crybabies who refused to compromise.

  7. 7
    jl says:

    Is this the Siimpson-Bowles commission that could not approve any plan, and actually, did nothing at all? Yeah, I guess doing that over and over again would Solve All Problems.

    Though in Brooks’ world, I guess having a deadlocked commission hijacked by the two corrupt chair-people who, with the help of the economic elites, peddle their failed proposal, which by pure coincidence favors the elites, dishonestly as if it were the commission’s official decision.

    I guess Brooks has thought deeply and decided that approach beats democracy. Or Brooks has entered his Andy Kaufman phase.

  8. 8
    Belafon says:

    @Belafon: I wish there was a way to tell google “Don’t insert yourself in the link.”

  9. 9
    Morzer (this is your final trigger warning, do not pass go if you have issues with depictions of Morzers engaging in Morzer-related activity) says:

    @NonyNony:

    David Brooks writes today that American politics have grown “neurotically democratic.”

    Just as studies show that they have, in fact, become moronically oligarchic. I tell you, sometimes I really wonder whether Brooks can even spell “fact”, never mind “research”.

  10. 10
    Hungry Joe says:

    Brooks’ columns used to be infuriating, but over the last few months they’ve become incomprehensible. I plow through them as kind of a fun exercise — like the Jumble! — just to see if I can figure out what the hell he’s talking about. Today’s almost made some (very wrong) kind of sense, but Sunday’s, although from all appearances written in Standard English, was Louis Nye-level doubletalk. Content-wise, it was indistinguishable from flat-out gibberish.

  11. 11
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Suffern ACE: It’s true. Simpson is colorful as hell. He carried that ambulatory haircut Bowles as long as he could, but he couldn’t drag the carcass across the finish line, so you lose, America.

  12. 12
    beltane says:

    @jl:

    Or Brooks has entered his Andy Kaufman phase

    I’ll go with that option. Come to think of it, conservatism in general has entered its Andy Kaufman phase.

  13. 13
    Doug says:

    Friends don’t let friends read David Brooks.

  14. 14
    Botsplainer says:

    My therapist said to stop reading Bobo (she said he’s like a disease without any cure)

    Am so hiring Sally Struthers and her quavering voice to do a PSA on it, to Sarah McLachlan “Arms of an Angel” background music.

  15. 15
    jl says:

    On the other hand, Brooks has made a good living doing, in a sense, nothing at all. From his point of view, might seem like a good idea.

  16. 16
    Belafon says:

    @Morzer (this is your final trigger warning, do not pass go if you have issues with depictions of Morzers engaging in Morzer-related activity): Brooks pines for the days when he could stand around and argue philosophy, mathematics, and physics with people who would agree that it doesn’t make sense for the earth to circle the sun because otherwise he couldn’t be the center of the universe.

  17. 17
    boatboy_srq says:

    Gather small groups of the great and the good together to hammer out bipartisan reforms

    I am sick and tired of the fixation on “bipartisan” BS. And I can’t tell whether Bobo still defines “bipartisan” as “my side gives up something too” or if he’s fallen into the definition of “everyone sits down and talks, and in the end the Dems give the Teahad everything it wants without getting anything in exchange.” Bipartisanship – the old version – has been dead since at least 1994, and Bobo wielded one of the stilettos that killed it.

  18. 18
    Wag says:

    Twenty, twenty, twenty-four hours to go

    I prefer to sniff glue.

  19. 19

    The money is never enough for these assholes. They need the fawning respect too.

  20. 20
    Hunter Gathers says:

    The only difference between animal crush pron and Bobo’s constant wanking to Simpson-Bowles is that Bobo wants poor people replacing the animals that are being crushed by women in high heels.

  21. 21
    TG Chicago says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The funny part, of course, is that the reason the Simpson-Bowles commission failed is that Simpson and Bowles didn’t like the agreement that the rest of the commission came to, so they took their ball, went home, and created a PowerPoint presentation to show what they wanted. So it was kind of the exact opposite of what Brooks claims he wants — two crybabies who refused to compromise.

    I’m not sure that’s right. The BS plan was voted up by 11 of the 18 commission members, but they needed 14 to move to the legislature. Was there another plan that got support from more than 11 members?

  22. 22
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Wag: Gabba gabba. We accept you. We accept you. One of us!

  23. 23
    srv says:

    Both sides do it. People ranting about Benghazi, birth certificates and Ukraine are exactly like the people who opposed the Iraq War.

    Do all FP’ers have therapists?

  24. 24
    Kay says:

    I’m still stunned at how out of touch you have to be to launch a political campaign based on scolding ordinary people about how Social Security and Medicare are too generous and how they’re lazy and coddled in the middle of an absolutely epic financial crash.

    “They’re down! Quick, cut the safety net before they get back up again!”

    There is not a time in my adult life where I would have more confidently said “people want some small measure of security, given what just happened to them“.

    It was and is a complete and utter disconnect. If they set out to prove they’re untouched by events that hammer everyone else they couldn’t have done it better.

  25. 25
    Mnemosyne says:

    @TG Chicago:

    I’m not sure that’s right. The BS plan was voted up by 11 of the 18 commission members, but they needed 14 to move to the legislature. Was there another plan that got support from more than 11 members?

    There is the commission plan that got 11 of 18 votes, and there’s the Simpson-Bowles PowerPoint presentation that they did to the press in advance to the commission’s report being released to show what they disagreed with in the report. Two separate things.

    You can download a PDF of the commission’s final report here. It is NOT the same as the public statements made by Simpson and Bowles, but a lot of press reports conflate the two.

    So, no, the commission’s report did not get 14 votes, in part because Simpson and Bowles took their ball and went home like the WATBs they are and came up with their own “report” that contradicted the commission’s conclusions.

  26. 26
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Brooks has always been a twit; now he’s a boring twit.

    Apparently democracy is too important to entrust to the people, in his view. Not that it matters, given that we have government by the Koch brothers, the DeVos family, Art Pope, etc.

  27. 27
    Morzer (this is your final trigger warning, do not pass go if you have issues with depictions of Morzers engaging in Morzer-related activity) says:

    @Kay:

    But isn’t this just more confirmation of how oligarchic our society has become? Yes, ordinary people do want a measure of security and dignity – as they have always done – but the only reason that elites conceded that security to them was because of the threat of some sort of social turmoil. The difference now is that the elites reckon that they control enough of the security, electoral and media apparatuses to crush any such turmoil before it really gets anywhere.

  28. 28
    Comrade Mary says:

    OT but happy: Judge strikes down PA ban on SSM. (Yeah, Buzzfeed, but has some detail and the full ruling).

  29. 29
    p.a. says:

    Remember Dave Barry starting columns with “I am not making this up”? Brooks’ should start with ” This is not snark. I really think this”.

  30. 30
    Morzer (this is your final trigger warning, do not pass go if you have issues with depictions of Morzers engaging in Morzer-related activity) says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    Brother Huckabee must be turning purple in the face after the events of the last couple of weeks. Idaho, Oregon and Pennsylvania is a pretty diverse bunch of states rejecting the bigots.

  31. 31
    Morzer (this is your final trigger warning, do not pass go if you have issues with depictions of Morzers engaging in Morzer-related activity) says:

    @p.a.:

    “I, David Brooks, being of sound, if minimal, mind….”

  32. 32
    Alex S. says:

    Maybe the only cure for your Brooks addction is Brooks himself – you’ll lose interest once he turns into Richard Cohen.

    @NonyNony:

    Yeah, maybe he ran out of material. There was a short period (around 2001-2003) when he could say that, because maybe 50.01% of the population support a stronger executive branch to get Osama bin Laden, the president should also have the power to install a committee with the power to eradicate the social safety net. That doesn’t work anymore.

    I guess some people are still furious that they missed the last chance (after the debt ceiling compromise of 2011) to really cut the safety net. Such a chance won’t come so soon again.

  33. 33
    RaflW says:

    There is no bipartisanship to “hammer out.” I won’t bother to find the piece, but someone recently wrote pretty convincingly that McConnell figured out about 5 seconds into the Obama presidency that he would not oversee any bipartisan anything in the next 4 (well, 8, because it hasn’t actually worked electorally) years.
    Anything bipartisan makes independents and moderates happy. And the modern GOP can’t have that.

  34. 34
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Kay: Now you understand what all the Hoover Republicans wanted – and what the Great Depression without an FDR would have looked like.

  35. 35
    Morzer (this is your final trigger warning, do not pass go if you have issues with depictions of Morzers engaging in Morzer-related activity) says:

    @RaflW:

    Short of writing it across the heavens in letters of fire*, I don’t think McConnell could have done much more to declare the GOP’s utter lack of willingness to work with the President.

    *Which he may have done, for all I know, down in Kentucky.

  36. 36
    LT says:

    “It’s funny because that is exactly what these assholes would do if they could”.

    What do you mean, “if”? They do just that, 24 hours a day. The only people allowed on corporate airwaves are corporate good soldiers. Which makes a certain sense.

    Kill your TV.

  37. 37
    J R in WV says:

    You say his wife left him? or vice versa, even? Didn’t she have the bulk of “their” vast forture? What will he ever do without millions upon millions of dollars invested in JP Chase GrandTheft?

    How can he properly represent the truly wealthy in the press and on TV without being truly wealthy himself?

  38. 38
    Joey Maloney says:

    @Morzer (this is your final trigger warning, do not pass go if you have issues with depictions of Morzers engaging in Morzer-related activity): Fuck an Idaho and Pennsylvania. His own home state was performing gay marriages for half a day before the ruling was stayed.

  39. 39
    Roger Moore says:

    Haha! It’s funny because that is exactly what these assholes would do if they could.

    Their ideal plan would be to get rid of this ridiculous democracy nonsense and let our betters decide everything. That would avoid the need for the boring, failure-prone part where you have to convince the proles to go with your plan.

  40. 40
    dms says:

    I’m sorry, but that second paragraph of Chait’s makes no sense whatsoever. He must have meant “dearth” rather than “surfeit.”

  41. 41
    RaflW says:

    @dms:
    That error has been pointed out several times to Chait in his comment section. Perhaps he doesn’t read his commenters. Or he stubbornly clings to his misapprehension of the word.

  42. 42
    burnspbesq says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The funny part, of course, is that the reason the Simpson-Bowles commission failed is that Simpson and Bowles didn’t like the agreement that the rest of the commission came to

    Which should have come as no surprise to anyone who had paid attention to Simpson’s voting record in the Senate. He was always the very model of a Wyoming Republican.

  43. 43
    Roger Moore says:

    @Wag:

    I prefer to sniff glue.

    Nembutal numbs it all, but I prefer alcohol.

  44. 44
    aimai says:

    @Botsplainer: You can look at Mr. Brooks’s column, or you can turn away.

  45. 45
    burnspbesq says:

    OT, but I’d like to say I think DOJ has it backwards.

    The chair of Credit Suisse should do time, and Dinesh D’Souza should pay a $1.8 billion fine.

    Also, if the reports that DOJ intervened with other agencies in order that CS wouldn’t lose its banking license are true, I’m not terribly happy about that.

    Fuckers enabled the evasion of billions of dollars of income tax. Hang they asses.

  46. 46
    Citizen_X says:

    @Roger Moore: Carbona not glue.

  47. 47
    Linda says:

    Once upon a time, conservatives could easily wag the dog with phoney scandals that people paid attention to, kill any bill they wanted dead and the elite got all the serious people to agree to Social Security and other safety net cuts that nobody wanted,but nobody had a public voice to denounce. Now they have to beat Benghazi to death and still everybody yawns except the people who are laughing out loud. They wanted to kill Obamacare, but it walks and breathes. It is a bitter pill for conservatives to find that they don’t yet own the U.S. outright and have to share it with riff raff.

    So, like the former prom queen who is now working at the Dollar Store and is divorced from her fat, balding ex-high school football star, conservatives are pining for the old days, wearing clothes too tight and cut too deep, and heading for the bar where they once turned all the heads, drinking themselves into bitter vengeful memories. So sad.

  48. 48
    Morzer (this is your final trigger warning, do not pass go if you have issues with depictions of Morzers engaging in Morzer-related activity) says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    A nice irony here – guess who endorsed the judge who struck down the PA gay marriage ban?

    http://tinyurl.com/po3ezvf

  49. 49
    LanceThruster says:

    And for the record, Morning Schmoe cheats as one of the hours is replayed.

  50. 50
    Kay says:

    @Morzer (this is your final trigger warning, do not pass go if you have issues with depictions of Morzers engaging in Morzer-related activity):

    The difference now is that the elites reckon that they control enough of the security, electoral and media apparatuses to crush any such turmoil before it really gets anywhere.

    You think it’s more organized than I do. I think they said “let’s talk about the deficit!” and no one among them said “should we do that while people are cashing in their 401k’s” ?

    Thomas Friedman does the same thing. Faced with terrified people who are just hanging on, he writes what are to me these ridiculous pieces about how no one will ever have a steady job again and we have to embrace disruption. I read it, and it’s like reading someone who lives on another planet.

    The deficit reduction people went to college campuses. Okay, faced with a choice of worrying about your own student loan debt when you’re 21 years old or whether Social Security is in fact “in a lockbox” which are you going to worry about? I was wishing one of the students would stand up and say “look, I have my own debt problems! I can’t give comfort to rattled billionaires right now!”

    I think at bottom it’s just amazingly self-centered. Like a character flaw a group of people share rather than a well-designed plan for our destruction :)

  51. 51
    xenos says:

    @burnspbesq: Hang their asses?

    Even better, corporate death sentence: sell US subsidiaries or see them closed down, then deem them non-compliant for FATCA purposes. Let them sit in Suisse looking to the Russians for customers. Because the EU and the Western Hemisphere are off limits.

  52. 52
    Roger Moore says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Fuckers enabled the evasion of billions of dollars of income tax. Hang they asses.

    Somebody doesn’t like competition.

  53. 53
    kindness says:

    Bobo’s wife left him? What about his vast spaces for entertaining.

    Personally I wish the Irish Setter (that Charles Pierce uses for his Bobo pieces) would get adopted out to a fellow Juicer. Give that poor dog a decent life for god sakes.

  54. 54
    catclub says:

    I am simply hoping for a rating system for Brooks’ columns from Moral Hazard, in ball lickings.

    @LanceThruster: I am so pleased that I had no idea this is the case.

  55. 55
    MattF says:

    @Hungry Joe: I agree that the big change is that Brooks has become unreadable. He used to be coherent– a little Straussian (‘National Greatness’), a little sociological (the wonders of zip-code demographics), a little rueful about his childhood infatuation with Adlai Stevenson. But he’s just jumped the tracks, and I have no idea what he’s talking about these days.

    He never should have moved away from Bethesda.

  56. 56
    rikyrah says:

    @Alex S.:

    I guess some people are still furious that they missed the last chance (after the debt ceiling compromise of 2011) to really cut the safety net. Such a chance won’t come so soon again.

    Cut it and not be held responsible, because that’s the entire point. They don’t want to run on cutting medicare and social security – they want to be able to do it and not be held responsible for it.

  57. 57
    J.Ty says:

    “My therapist said to stop reading David Brooks” is such a quintessential Balloon Juice phrase that it should go on the rotating taglines.

  58. 58
    burnspbesq says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Hahaha. People who help high-net-worth individuals evade income tax don’t compete with people who help multinational businesses pay the right amount of tax to each country in which they operate. Different services, different markets.

    I will choose to believe that you know that, and your comment was humor fail, because I don’t want to believe that you’re breathtakingly ignorant.

  59. 59

    @Morzer (this is your final trigger warning, do not pass go if you have issues with depictions of Morzers engaging in Morzer-related activity):
    Not really. Oligarchy is mostly a side effect. Reagan did chain it to racism, but it’s a natural connection anyway. It is more important to the cultural conservative part of the country to crush the brown hordes and the hippies who enabled them than to defend themselves from oppression. Much, much more important, since poor assholes sympathize with rich assholes. If (and hopefully this will happen soon) the racist freakout party loses enough ground that they can’t obstruct, the oligarchs are screwed. The vote still matters, maybe more than ever.

  60. 60
    Roger Moore says:

    @rikyrah:

    They don’t want to run on cutting medicare and social security – they want to be able to do it and not be held responsible for it.

    Which is why it’s so important for them to get bipartisan support. If they can get enough Democrats to sign onto the deal, they can spread the blame.

  61. 61
    Kay says:

    @Morzer (this is your final trigger warning, do not pass go if you have issues with depictions of Morzers engaging in Morzer-related activity):

    as they have always done – but the only reason that elites conceded that security to them was because of the threat of some sort of social turmoil.

    I think social turmoil is a very real threat, just not in the 1930’s brick-throwing style. I genuinely worry about some tipping point being reached, where people just essentially reject the social compact. They stop following the rules because they believe the rules don’t apply to powerful people.

    The truth is, in my experience, 99% of people will follow a court order. Ordinary people generally go along with this idea that we have rules and they have to follow them, however begrudgingly. A lot of this stuff doesn’t have to be enforced.

    What if that changed, as a response to inequality? What if some meaningful number of people just said “fuck it, I’m cheating and stealing and lying too, I’m getting away with all I possibly can”?

    I think that should concern them. It’s a pretty fragile thing we have going here, consent and law ‘n order.There’s nothing that says it has to continue. Maybe it wouldn’t be strikes and violence but instead more of a complete loss of faith and everyone gaming rules instead of breaking them. When they haul juveniles in here for violating an order the judge says “what if everyone did that? why are you special?” The truth is if “everyone did that” he couldn’t enforce any of these rules.

  62. 62
    PIGL says:

    @Wag: I find inspiration in this timeless classic:

    Beat on the brat (with a baseball bat ((oh yeah)).

  63. 63
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Kay: Actually, I think a number of people on the right are doing that rhetorically right now. The refusal to recognize the legitimacy of any Democratic president is part and parcel of it.

  64. 64
    Kay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Yeah, I agree. I felt the same way about Al Gore and Bush v Gore. He has to follow the order. Either that or be the person that says “this whole process is corrupt and I don’t recognize it as authority”. Which might make it kind of hard to be President. I don’t know what he does after he defies the Supreme Court.

    I feel as if it’s really profound. It turns up in all kinds of situations. It happened with the mortgage mess here. I think people were shocked that lenders didn’t know what they were doing. It’s a bank! They handle money for a living! You go get your mortgage, you assume that whole system is just humming along, then they’re saying “we don’t know, actually, who owns that property and we never should have said it was worth 150k when obviously it’s 75”

    I don’t do them, and they’ve always been popular in rural areas so it’s maybe not representative, but we saw an uptick in land contracts and can you blame them? They’re like “maybe I’ll handle this myself. Juuust take it down and record it, personally. My mortgage lender will be the owner”.

    You look at those old banks in cities, they built them to look like fortresses, solid, and there was a reason for that. They knew 99% of this was faith and trust and relying on just about everyone doing what they agreed to do.

  65. 65
    Turgidson says:

    @rikyrah:

    Particularly if they can not only evade responsibility, but pin the blame on the Kenyan Usurper who’s stealing the entitlements the real working ‘Murican working white folks EARNED by working at their places of work, and handing it out to the shiftless young unemployed bucks to buy free t-bones and Obamaphones with.

    …while in the same breath accusing him of wanting to explode the size of government and balloon the deficit (which only came into existence in January 2009), of course.

  66. 66
    Alexander says:

    My therapist said to stop reading Bobo (she said he’s like a disease without any cure), so now I can only read others’ summaries of his columns.

    Oh, DougJ… You’re so obsessed that you’re becoming a bore.

  67. 67
    Felonius Monk says:

    Reading a David Brooks column is like sniffing another person’s armpit — it is never very pleasant even if they’ve showered and used a deodorant.

  68. 68
    danielx says:

    He foresees a future in which we “Gather small groups of the great and the good together to hammer out bipartisan reforms — on immigration, entitlement reform, a social mobility agenda, etc. — and then rally establishment opinion to browbeat the plans through.”

    Yes. Another case of bipartisanship, in which Br’er Brooks manages yet again to dream of the Republican Party of his imagination, rather than the Republican Party that actually exists.

  69. 69
  70. 70
    Blue Gal says:

    @jl:

    Brooks has entered his Andy Kaufman phase.

    I’m sending that to Driftglass. Prepare to be quoted. — BG

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