Thursday, April 21, 2005

...and David Brooks is a miserable hack

I must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed today, because I really have nothing positive to say about what I've seen in the papers today. This may be, in part, because I made the mistake of reading David Brooks. I think Brooks has some interesting stuff to say occasionally, but the incredible congruence between his opinions and the Republican party line is becoming increasingly tiresome. Moreover, his willingness to spout partisan crap that is patently and obviously false or baseless is just plain stupid.

Consider today's commentary in which he argues that Roe v. Wade must be overturned in order to save America from itself. Jesus H. Christ on a popsical stick! According to Brooks, after Roe:
Religious conservatives became alienated from their own government, feeling that their democratic rights had been usurped by robed elitists. Liberals lost touch with working-class Americans because they never had to have a conversation about values with those voters; they could just rely on the courts to impose their views.

Read this paragraph and compare it to the currently popular narrative conservatives use to describe American politics. According to that narrative, conservative Americans are maligned and ignored by liberals who, by definition apparently, are not working class and who use the judicial system to impose their worldview on the country. By Brooks' theory, Roe arose spontaneously and ahistorically out of the mind of Harry Blackmun and "invented the right to an abortion", thus poisoning the well of American politics.

Right. And the Barry Goldwaters, Richard Mellon-Scaifes and other assorted lunatics who have constituted and funded the paranoid and radical right-wing in this country since at least the late 1950s have NOTHING to do with this?

Anyway, according to Brooks, the self-destruct protocol that is Roe has culminated in the current showdown in the Senate over judicial appointments. Thus, every debate over judicial nominees boils down to their stance on abortion, and the 10 nominees the Democrats have blocked by filibuster were treated this way because they were pro-life. (Sure Dave, and the nominees' unwillingness to answer questions about their judicial approaches, their belief in constitutional literalism, or their citation of the Bible as binding precedent had NOTHING to do with those filibusters.) As a result of this abuse of the filibuster, Republicans are now forced to consider doing away with the filibuster altogether.

And now, Brooks reaches around and plunges his arm deep into his ass to pull out a reason why doing away with the filibuster would be bad. According to Brooks,
Those who believe in smaller government would suffer most. Minority rights have been used frequently to stop expansions of federal power, but if those minority rights were weakened, the federal role would grow and grow - especially when Democrats regained the majority.

What? Sure, the filibuster has been used to protect minority interests. It's also been used to "protect" majority interests (see Strom Thurmond). This protective mechanism, anti-democratic as it is, probably is a good reason to keep the filibuster alive. But what's this about federal growth? Perhaps the pressure of his elbow hitting his colon was making David feel woozy. What else could it be? That's the only reasonable explanation I can find for him asserting that the current Democratic party is especially good at making government grow. Hey Dave, your boys have been in control for pretty much five years now. Total control. Who's been growing government? Not those pesky democrats and their pesky filibusters, that's for sure.

Anyway, this is a long, snarky, and not especially enlightening post, so I'll end it here. David Brooks and Sam Brownback should do the following:

Hug A Root.

Update: The Rude Pundit has something to say on this topic as well.