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    David Brooks Is The Worst Parent In America, Or At Least That's What I'm Going To Assume

    In yesterday's David Brooks column, he offered a tepid endorsement of Mitt "Thurston Howell" Romney for President.  Brooks games out what the next two years will probably look like under Romney or Obama.  There's really nothing insightful or interesting there, so here's his conclusion:

    The bottom line is this: If Obama wins, we’ll probably get small-bore stasis; if Romney wins, we’re more likely to get bipartisan reform. Romney is more of a flexible flip-flopper than Obama. He has more influence over the most intransigent element in the Washington equation House Republicans. He’s more likely to get big stuff done.

    So the lesson here is that if one party is acting like a bunch of intransigent jerks, you need to make sure they have a President who will cooperate with them.  Let's put aside for a moment that Brooks sort of qualifies this by arguing that the actual policy mix we would end up with would be something close to his preferred center-rightism, which he says would be the case because Romney would have learned the lesson that moderatism wins and that the Tea Party wouldn't be willing to destroy a Republican President.  Doesn't his argument boil down to weak-kneed Chamberlainesque appeasement?

    Does David Brooks raise his children this way?  I kind of doubt it, but if he does he is a terrible, terrible parent.  What he is arguing is tantamount to feeding your kid ice cream for dinner because the screaming won't stop.  The essential logic seems to have eluded him, even in the face of arriving at the conclusion that the man he described this way should be our next President:

    This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?
    It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey.
    It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture. Americans haven’t become childlike worshipers of big government. On the contrary, trust in government has declined. The number of people who think government spending promotes social mobility has fallen.
    The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor.
    Romney’s comments also reveal that he has lost any sense of the social compact. In 1987, during Ronald Reagan’s second term, 62 percent of Republicans believed that the government has a responsibility to help those who can’t help themselves. Now, according to the Pew Research Center, only 40 percent of Republicans believe that.
    The Republican Party, and apparently Mitt Romney, too, has shifted over toward a much more hyperindividualistic and atomistic social view — from the Reaganesque language of common citizenship to the libertarian language of makers and takers. There’s no way the country will trust the Republican Party to reform the welfare state if that party doesn’t have a basic commitment to provide a safety net for those who suffer for no fault of their own.
    The final thing the comment suggests is that Romney knows nothing about ambition and motivation. The formula he sketches is this: People who are forced to make it on their own have drive. People who receive benefits have dependency.


    I would surmise that when Brooks' children act up he just raises their allowance.

    I get a kick out of these 'intellectual' conservatives.

    I just read Frum this morning at the Beast, twisting the current message that Mitt wanted to get rid of Fema; let the states sort it out and somehow talk the states into 'outsourcing'

    I mean if you just look at the video, Mitt is saying get rid of FEMA and....

    And yet Frum claims the Mitt was simply attempting to evade the original question.

    See, Frum and Brooks will sound 'reasonable' and then the next day or column; they turn into George Will on an off day. hahahahah

    I do know this.

    When Barry did something big he signed stimulus bills and health care bills and equal pay bills...

    If Mitt ever has a chance to do something big he will change SS, Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Education, the EPA and a host of other departmental programs FOREVER.

    God save us all from Mitt ever getting a chance to do something big.

    I just want to go to sleep until next Wednesday.  In some alternate presentation, Mitt Romney might have been a viable candidate.  His campaign has been laughable, but what hurts is that he's still treated seriously.  I just want to get beyond this campaign so I can be in a good mood when we all get obliterated in the fulfillment of Mayan prophecy.

    What irks me the most is all this damned talk about how if Romney is elected there will be much more bi-partisanship.    How does rewarding Obstruction make it go away?  It seems to me that the best way to stop obstruction is to deny the obstructionists their goal, which is to get back into power.  If Romney wins, it will make the case that obstructionist tactics work.  It's a galling proposition that what Brooks believes is that you can only get bi-partisanship when Democrats are made to agree with everything that Republicans want.  That's not compromise, it's capitulation, but that's what Brooks defines as bi-partisanship.

    Now everyone, even Chris Matthews is talking about how Mitt could get around a 'filibuster' in the Senate and pass everything through some fluke in Senate rules.

    Frankly, the dems will hold the Senate according to Silver and many others.

    But Mitt would simply accede to whatever the new Radical Repubs put forth.

    I would be writing my Senators, Al and Amy every damn day asking them to deny Mitt anything he asked for!

    See, I am a partisan.


    I get so damn mad. hahahahahah

    dd - What's the deal with Chris, on his Sunday show he was very conciliatory and supportive of Romney, with little to nothing to say positive about Obama?  Really irritated me.  Fickle Pickle or ?

    Frankly I think it is senility. ha

    Watched him today again; harder on the repubs; screaming at the liars...hahahahahah

    I dunno, he just gets like this from time to time.

    I have never seen him harder on repubs than he has been all this year.


    A reflection of the debate in Christy's mind

    For those of a new generation, a reflection via Big Time Rush

    Thanks, DF. I can't to back to check Brooks' actual editorial without erping up my dinner but as I remember he was making the argument that Tea Partiers would somehow escape the wrath of being challenged from the right if they exercised bipartisanship with Mitt---something about people still hated Democrats---sounded farcical.

    In any case, I don't see any other outcome, if it comes to R in the WH which I don't think will happen, than Romney being completely controlled by the Tea Party Congress who are not going to bend one iota. This is why, if Romney is elected, we will see a combination of service cuts and tax cuts which will bring on another recession.

    I hope I made that perfectly clear.  

    What Brooks,. Romney and all parents who want to do right with their kids is to learn to raise their kids Gangnam Style

    Aargh I sometimes torture myself and watch that train wreck show of complete misogyny. How many men get to speak for women? Oh yes, all the men on Morning Joe even when Mika is sitting right there.

    David Brooks is kind of crazy, I called his little column March of the Moderates.. hahaha.. he is so crazy, he seemed like he really believed that all of the sudden moderation would overtake Republican TBag Party and all would be great for America, they would get so many things done together, Mitt and the people he will control. LOLOLOLOL, he and Mark "always wrong" Halperin aren't that different are they. Oh and they all have one thing in common...the math it's not important.

    Let's put aside for a moment that Brooks sort of qualifies this by arguing that the actual policy mix we would end up with would be something close to his preferred center-rightism, which he says would be the case because Romney would have learned the lesson that moderatism wins and that the Tea Party wouldn't be willing to destroy a Republican President.

    Brooks sort of hedges in a Romneyesque way: Mitt would get "big things" done, but in a moderate sort of way.

    I've had trouble tuning my crystal ball to what a Romney presidency would look like. He would definitely nominate Bork-approved justices up and down the line. That's an easy bone to throw to the right, and they care a lot about it.

    Beyond that, I'm having trouble. I guess he could close a few meaningless loopholes no one understands and ballyhoo them as big things. He'd ditch the estate tax. It would be hard for the Democrats, or even the Teabaggers, to resist a 20% tax cut, even if it raised the deficit.

    I can't tell, though, whether he'd wag the Tea Party or the TP would wag him. He'll have his eye on four years hence, so he needs to keep the right on his side. Can't afford to have them turn on him. Maybe Ryan would be able to run interference for him on that end.

    Some think that a Romney win will rouse the Fighting Democrats to resist all depredations on the safety net and programs for the less well off. I don't know. They strike me as more conciliatory than the right--maybe because they really want to get something done.

    The House is likely to stay red, which means it's going to be business as usual there.  The Senate will likely stay slightly blue.  Let's assume that it didn't though.  If Romney won and the GOP won control of the senate, they still wouldn't have 60 votes.  This would be the opposite of 2009-2010.  I think it's pretty clear what kind of agenda a Boehner/Cantor house and a McConnell/Kyl senate would pursue.  So, I think the two germane questions in that scenario are:

    1. What motivation would Romney have for blocking this agenda?

    2. Would senate Dems use the filibuster like the GOP has to block said agenda?

    As for question #1, I see no evidence that Romney's personal convictions or political ambitions would contradict the GOP legislative agenda.  As for question #2, I have doubts that they would do so.  At the very least, I have no good evidence that they would play procedural hardball the way the GOP does.  It would be a change in m.o. for them.

    This is what the conservative argument has come down to -- vote for our guy or our other guys in Congress will destroy the country.  Basically, you have to vote Republican, no matter what you believe, because Republicans now refuse to tolerate or work with Democrats.

    Pretty much.  I keep trying to convince my mother that this is the case.  She was unfortunately swept up in some of the faux Independent-ism of peripheral Tea - not that she would actually support most of these nitwits if she actually came face to face with them.  CA, for the most part, has some pretty solid, old-school Howard Jarvis Republicans.  They pretty much exist as a bulwark against raising any state taxes, but that game has been in effect here for over three decades.

    At any rate, she's fond of the oh-so-insightful "both parties are awful" dichotomy, which I find to be totally obnoxious.  It seems like people who deem this to be a profound insight of some kind, but it's really not.  The Republicans have completely abandoned the role of the loyal opposition.  Furthermore, their policy mixtape still sounds exactly like Dubya's, even after all the colossal failure it brought.  We pretty much have one functioning party right now in our two party system.

    To return to David Brooks, he seems to think we need to reward this behavior, but supposedly not because he wants to see more of it.  Rather, we should do it because it's just pragmatic or some shit.

    Good to hear from you after the storm.  Hope you don't mind me pinch-hitting for you on Ole Brooksie while you were potentially water-logged.

    Please, keep Brooksie in line!  I only have internet and power when I go to the office, so it'll be awhile before I blog again.

    Destor: sorry that my suspicions that you lived downtown and lost power were right. As Robert Wright wrote, the charm of losing power really wears off before a full day is over, even in a single family home, much less an apartment complex or a whole area.

    Relaying news you might already know; I have NY1 on in the background:

    Con Ed says they will have most people with underground lines back this weekend, but  most of those with above-ground line problems could have to wait until next weekend or even later.

    If you look at the outage map on the Google Crisis Project for the Con Ed area,


    you can see how massive the  outage damage they have to deal with is; I've read and heard how the powers that be are bringing in workers from elsewhere in the country to help but until yesterday, they couldn't really even get here. And even then, those who lost power in ConEd area have better reason to hope than elsewhere--the other companies have even bigger problesm: 90% of Long Island lost power and NJ is one big disaster area

    BTW, lots of people are writing stories, worldwide, about your predicament downtown vs uptown, I rounded several of them up here:


    It is being covered on the tube, too.

    Transit was really the problem until yesterday, nobody that knows how to run or fix anything could get into Manhattan, they can now. Even gas was running low in the whole tri-state area; they just explained on the tube that Schumer had to have the port reopened so that the gas tankers can refill the trucks to refill the gas stations.

    Thanks for the news roundup, AA.  We're in the west village.  Underground lines, at least!  Con-Ed failed us, though.  And paide more than $1.2 billion in dividends over the last year.  Grrrr!

    Back soon, I hope!

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