Stacy McCain paints a near-perfect picture of the dinosaur media's clumsy attempts to regain relevance in what they think is a youth-controlled universe. NYT, WaPo and the others don't have a clue -- just look at NYT's representation of leading conservative thought -- David Brooks! I rest my case.
Entries in David Brooks (35)
David Brooks seems to think that "free market" principles played a part in breaking Big Government. I hate to break (pun intended) it to Brooks, but what has broken Big Government is Big Government -- plus, bought politicians using cronyistic measures to favor Big Business are not representative of free market principles or libertarianis. How can someone so apparently smart, be so ignorant? Or is Brooks simply doing what all statists do -- obscure the issues in defense of another form of statism.
So, the old form of statism has failed because of libertarians and rampant free marketism, thus now another communitarian form of statism is needed to fix what's broken. Rather than a centralized tyrant, let's create local tyrants who inevitably will receive marching orders from centralized technocrats. No, Mr. Brooks, libertarians didn't break government, although I'd like to take part of the credit.
Brooks is the worst kind of political pundit -- he pretends to be conservative and concerned with government abuse of power, like his concern over subsidies, but he's statist to the core. His kind have no confidence in the ordinary person's ability to self-govern and choose freely in a real free market. Brooks is from the old Conservative mindset which believes an elite few have to guide the hoi-polloi to a better, more stable and civil world. Even when he's playing the smart and pragmatic conservative he promotes managed conservatism from above. Brooks is a joke that doesn't seem to end. If the new Republicans inspired by classical liberal ideas lead us in a new direction, Brooks will have no niche for his Big Government centrism -- perhaps the joke will end, and then we can laugh.
On Meet the Press with David Gregory this morning, the interviewed guests were Bill Daley and Michelle Bachman. Daley was asked about Obama's response to the Mid-East protests and the current budget debate. Daley defended all of Obama's responses and actions and proposals, maintaining that Obama does not think in political terms, but, rather, what's best for the country and "democracy" in general. Yep, Daley said that. Bachman was asked about Obama's responses, actions and proposals, and Bachman thinks Obama is not doing a very good job. Yes, she feels that way, really. When the subject of entitlements were brought up to Daley regarding a Democrat strategy to let the Republicans make the first proposals to deal with entitlements so that Democrats can blame the Republicans for reducing SS and Medicare, Daley said Obama doesn't think like this and wants to work with Republicans to address the entitlement problem. So, when Republicans make their proposals, we ought to see headlines in the news media stating Obama is following the Republican's lead to deal with entitlements and that the Republicans have Obama's full support. These headlines will no doubt follow a speech given by Obama praising the Republican's courage to deal with entitlements and that he is totally on board with the effort. Not.
The Political Roundtable was small, with David Brooks representing moderates, and Eugene Robinson representing the Left. I can't think of a more mediocre pair of pundits. The conversation was focused on Obama's responses, actions and proposals regarding the Mid-East protests, the budget controversy and the 2012 elections. Brooks and Robinson both believe that spending cuts should not interfere with government "investment" and that jobs are the most important concern for the public. All throughout the discussion, the question was how this affects Obama and his approval rating as opposed to Republicans and the public perception of spending cuts.
This morning's Meet the Press respresents the obsession the media has with the President. Especially since Clinton, American Presidents have become more like Monarchs, with congress and the courts becoming side issues. With Obama, the idea of Monarch has reached a pinnacle in the media. The Meet the Press show was wasted on speculations regarding Obama's popularity and chances for re-election. Our country faces major challenges, as does the world, but all the media seems interested in is whether Obama will be affected by the challenges and if he will be President in 2013. This might be fearful reaction to the mid-term elections which strongly favored Republicans. If Obama loses in 2012, the major media outlets and all arms of the State could be threatened with a new Republican push to beat back State power. We'll see how it turns out -- there always seems to be a tendency to move back to the status quo each time it's threatened.
The show began this morning with an interview with experts on foreign policy and they discussed the Egyptian revolution and nothing new was revealed, just a rehash of how well Obama has handled the situation and how the Muslim Brotherhood will not be a threat, although nothing is really for sure at this point. Then David Gregory interviewed John Boehner and rehashed the situation with spending, then Gregory tried to get Boehner to denounce anyone who thinks Obama is a Muslim, which Boehner wouldn't do, but Boehner takes Obama at his word that he's a Christian. Real riveting stuff. Republicans want to cut spending.
Then there was the roundtable discussion with Rep. Schilling, a Republican Tea Party type, Kasim Reed, The Mayor of Atlanta, a Democrat, Dee Dee Myers, a Democrat, David Brooks, a centrist, and Mark Halperin, a Democrat. Of course it's all about party affiliation and politics. Gregory and Brooks presented the image, regarding the Egyptian situation, that Obama was on the side of protesters, and the State Department was on the side of keeping Mubarak in power to help with the transition, with Obama winning the conflict. There was no speculation that this might have been the administration's political strategy to cover all bases as situations in Egypt quickly shifted back and forth. There was also practically no talk about the egregious missteps and lack of intel.
Then Gregory revealed the Democrat strategy to trap Republicans. Gregory didn't state the strategy, but he continued it by trying to trap Rep. Shilling into saying the retirement age of SS will have to be raised to make any significant dent in the national debt. Gregory didn't meantion how Democrats will excoriate the Republicans if they try to raise the SS retirement age, but that's what the Democrats are waiting on. The Democat strategy is to get the Tea Party Republicans to make committments to reform SS, Medicare and Medicaid by showing specific cuts and reform measures -- then the Democrats will savagely attack the Republicans for taking retirement and health security away from old people, allowing the poor and sick to die, and leaving children to suffer with no access to healthcare. Then Gregory will ask why Republicans are so callous to the needs of the most vulnerable in society.
The only question Gregory needed to ask Rep. Shilling is does he think the Republicans would join Democrats, if Democrats were willing, in a bipartisan effort to reform SS, Medicare and Medicaid even if it means raising the retirement age. Then Rep. Shilling should have said that he will go even further if Democrats are willing to help, by looking at meaningful ways to transition these social programs to the private sector.
Then it would have been a good show. As it was, it was just more political posturing and gamesmanship.
Moderates like David Frum and David Brooks thought they saw a coming transformation of America in 2008, so they dreamed of a Republican Party made up of moderates who could compete for political power in the future. The moderates believed, rightly, that social conservatism was no longer relevant in the political world, that candidates running for office on a platform of establishing moral dominance over a society quickly losing its way in sin and permissiveness would be out of touch with the reality of a society which is actually socially liberal, or, at least, a society that doesn't want morals pushed on them by government. The moderates had other reasons they believed the Republican Party was out of touch: the relationship with Big Business -- the old guard of Country Club Republicans blocking young blood, gay Republicans, women, minorities from full participation -- the image that Republicans ignore the plight of the poor -- the association of Republicans with war and unquestioning patriotism and American exceptionalism which has caused conflicts in the global community -- the fact that Republicans have been viewed as anti-diversity and hostile toward multi-culturalism -- so on and so forth with many legitimate concerns. But, the main problem Republican moderates wanted to solve was the influnce social conservatives have had over the direction of the Party -- moderates wanted to marginalize the social conservatives and all their spokespeople like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levine, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, and Glenn Beck, although they haven't quite figured out how to take Beck, so they just call him a crazy hate-monger.
The moderates soon had another problem -- the Tea Party -- but to the moderates, this was just an outgrowth of social conservativsm, a reactionary movement caused by a black president, changing times, and a fear of diversity and new ideas of governance. Yes, the moderates said, some progressive policies go too far, but we need major changes if we are to deal with out of control healthcare costs, global warming and our dependence on oil, the problem of Wall Street gambling us to the brink of financial collapse -- so Republicans had better stop complaining about "socialists" and birth certificates and bleeding heart liberals and join the government efforts in compromise in order to create a better, more sustainable society which is interdependent with the rest of the world. The moderates warned that Republicans can't afford to sit on the sidelines and just say no. This strategy, the moderates warned, will relegate the Republican Party to minority status for decades, and allow the worst of progressivism to come about. Centrists urged Republican participation in molding the legislation so at least the extreme elements were moderated -- what we would get, hopefully, would be the best of both sides as America is transformed to meet 21st century challenges. Yes, the moderates said, we agree that government has limits, but these are different times, and the emergencies facing our nation can't be ignored or put on hold as partisanship creates obstruction which will be blamed on Republicans and make them look backwards and reactionary, small-minded, clinging to an idealized past of a Christian America that has no relevance in the modern, complicated, cosmopolitan present.
However, the concerns of the moderates regarding social conservatism never quite materialized, and they misread the resistance to progressivism. Although social conservatives are involved in the obstruction of the progressive agenda, the main thrust was a desire to limit government, cut spending and bring about the creation of a free market. The rising stars in the Republican Party have not been moderates, but more libertarian-minded Republicans like Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. A large faction of the Tea Party has requested that the movement concentrate on economic matters, not social issues. In the meanwhile we've watched the EU struggle to bail-out member states teetering on collapse because of long term, welfare-state, progressive policies, just like the policies that progressives in America are pushing to implement, and moderates are calling to compromise with. The moderates have been caught between progressive big-spending, social engineering and the movement to limit government, cut spending and implement a free market. But these types of clear distinctions now bother moderates, and Frum is building a No Label movement. This is little more than a desparate act to avoid clarity.
The results of the midterm elections, and Obama's recent compromise on the extension of Bush's tax cuts, speak loudly to a change in direction and the failure of the moderate plan to work hand in hand with the progressives to transform America, relying on the calm and reasonable center. This doesn't mean the Republican Party is on the rise and that there will simply be a switchover in power like we've seen for decades - it means that progressives, liberals, moderates and Big Government Republicans have all misread the American public. We are entering a time in which the pressure will be to disempower the State and liberate market forces. The public is pushing for personal soveriegnty and economic growth -- people are tired of government meddling -- tired of the politically connected becoming richer and more powerful off the backs of workers and producers -- tired of Washington DC political animals telling them what they should think and how they should live their lives -- they are tired of government wasting their money, then finding ever more clever ways to tax them. If any group is making itself irrelevant, it's the Republican moderates. I suggest they worry less about strategy, spin and sophisticated, Machiavellian strategy and more about adopting the principles they've denigrated the last two years.