Conservative columnist David Brooks has finally called out what has been clear as day to the rest of us for a long time. The Republican Party is no longer traditionally conservative; rather it has become full of radical anarchists. This is why the House is ungovernable, Brooks explains in his New York Times column.
This fever has been a long time coming on, Brooks says. It’s not just Ted Cruz or the Freedom Caucus. “The Republican Party’s capacity for effective self-governance degraded slowly, over the course of a long chain of rhetorical excesses, mental corruptions and philosophical betrayals. Basically, the party abandoned traditional conservatism for right-wing radicalism. Republicans came to see themselves as insurgents and revolutionaries, and every revolution tends toward anarchy and ends up devouring its own.”
It’s not often that I agree with David Brooks, but this had me cheering. And it’s not because we are on opposite sides, but rather because I’ve been writing this for a long time because it’s the truth. However, it’s easy to dismiss when it comes from the other side. It should be harder to dismiss coming from their own camp, and this matters. We should want the Republicans to get it together, because it takes balance to run a democracy well. Right now, the only measured thought, even temperament and incremental change pusher we have in government comes from people like President Obama. Oddly enough. And yet, not oddly at all.
Brooks wrote this has been coming on for over 30 years, “or at least since Rush Limbaugh came on the scene, the Republican rhetorical tone has grown ever more bombastic, hyperbolic and imbalanced.”
Yes, they sound like carnival barkers. I often run a little experiment of leaving the sound on C-SPAN but turning away and guessing whether the speaker is a Republican or Democrat. I am usually right, because the Republicans squeal, scream and generally conduct themselves in a constant state of heightened hysteria — in other words, they sound like con artists, hawking bull, often under the guise of religion. It’s incredibly painful and embarrassing to listen to.
Brooks continued, “Civilization was always on the brink of collapse. Every setback, like the passage of Obamacare, became the ruination of the republic. Comparisons to Nazi Germany became a staple.” Yes, that’s the big tell. When the little boys won’t stop screaming NAZIS about every single thing they don’t like, mom and dad stop listening.
Bemoaning the mentality that “inconvenient facts are ignored”, Brooks quoted from Max Weber’s “Politics as a Vocation.” He wrote, “If a politician lacks the quality of detachment — the ability to let the difficult facts of reality work their way into the mind — then, Weber argues, the politician ends up striving for the ‘boastful but entirely empty gesture.'”
I ask you to think of the politician who had demonstrated the most emotional restraint and detachment, even when relentlessly personally attacked with falsehoods so insulting most of us can’t relate to his calm. Yes, that’s right. President Obama. Nancy Pelosi also ranks high among the pragmatic and detached enough to allow facts to run her decisions rather than emotion and desire.
Who is boastful but empty? Senator Cruz comes first to mind. Donald Trump exemplifies this – he is nothing but ego and thuggery with a good legal team. But the list is entirely too long, and while there are a few liberals that could be added to that list, they are inconsequential and certainly not running the party. These were Brooks’ choice examples as well.
“These figures are masters at destruction but incompetent at construction,” Brooks condemns. He ended his column with the thought that this malignancy grew through “a thousand small betrayals” of conservatism. The full column is a must-read.
David Brooks is being brutally honest, speaking the truth even when no one wants to hear it. So of course, conservatives are already condemning him as “not a real conservative”.
Our media still pretends conservatives are the go-to rational actors. The media is still pretending there is nothing to see here. The crazies aren’t crazy. The media had no idea the Benghazi probes were political until Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) actually told them this. Our democracy suffers due to the media’s failure to call out the facts and repeated willing complicity in selling unverified Republican lies to the public as fact.
Heading into the Democratic debate tonight, it’s vital to note that there is not a single Democratic candidate who would not be a better choice than any Republican in the running right now. By a long shot.
There’s something wrong with this picture, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.