As you may know, I am fueled creatively by my massive hatred of David Brooks. Sometimes, though, I forget that he’s not just a right-wing nut, he’s also exceptionally intellectually dishonest. Yesterday, in the wake of the Rubiobot’s dismal performance in New Hampshire, he wrote that:
Marco Rubio, who has become the most intellectually creative of the presidential contenders, has given us a book, “American Dreams.” He moves beyond the Reagan-era emphasis on top marginal tax rates. He moves beyond the Mitt Romney distinction between makers and takers.
The title of the column is Marco vs. Larry (which might be a good title for a rom-com where Michael Sera and Ryan Gosling compete for the affections of Emma Stone), and the idea is that Larry Summers also has some kind of a good economic plan but it’s not as good as Rubio’s because it’s not Burkean enough.
Anywho, it’s Rubio porn, meant to buck up the spirits of mythical moderate Republicans and/or get tote-baggers talking about what a serious guy Marco Rubio is. The least Bobo could have done was begin with “Dear Penthouse Forum”, so his readers would know where the column was going.
Contrast this with Michael Gerson’d dead-on piece about Donald Trump’s prospects in South Carolina:
Trump appeals fairly broadly in South Carolina — many opponents of Trump I talked with in the state report having some relative who loves him. But there are lots of angry, rural white males at his rallies. They have reason to feel disadvantaged in our economy and overlooked in our politics. This is mixed here (as elsewhere) with baser motives. On racial matters, according to one senior South Carolina Republican, Trump is using “not a dog whistle but a train whistle.”
Republicans who remain unreconciled to the Trump dynasty now comfort themselves with one scenario. After the shock of early Trump victories wears off, some candidate in a winnowed field will need to rise and restart the race. “Trump,” this heretofore mythic figure will argue, “has won some early primaries in the South. But he has a ceiling of support — just 35 percent in the GOP — that dooms him with the national electorate. So, here I am, the only candidate who can unite the party and win a majority in November.” At that point, the spigots of Republican money will open and the electoral terrain — in Illinois, Missouri and Ohio, and eventually in New York and California — will dramatically improve.
All of which depends on two questionable assumptions. First, I can remember when Trump’s ceiling was supposedly 25 percent. After a series of victories, it may rise again. Second, this scenario assumes that any of the mainstream candidates are capable of cutting the alpha down to size.
Gerson hates Trump at least as much as Bobo does (he’s devoted several columns to this topic) and in many ways he is just Bobo with extra Jesus sauce. But at least he has the decency to write columns about what is actually happening in the GOP primary, rather than mash notes to a pretty robot who probably won’t finish higher than third in the next primary.