Appearing on his natural home turf of PBS, David Brooks sneeringly describes Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) as “Ted Cruz, the senator from Canada”:
On PBS’s “NewsHour” on Friday night, New York Times columnist David Brooks warned that Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and similar legislators’ rise to prominence threatens the traditional Republican Party.
Brooks insists the motives of Cruz are less about legislation and policy and more about the politics of undermining the Republican establishment.
“What’s going on in the House, and a bit in the Senate, too, is what you might call the rise of Ted Cruz-ism,” Brooks said. “And Ted Cruz, the senator from Canada through Texas, is basically not a legislator in the normal sense, doesn’t have an idea that he’s going to Congress to create coalitions, make alliances, and he is going to pass a lot of legislation. He’s going in more as a media-protest person. And a lot of the House Republicans are in the same mode. They’re not normal members of Congress. They’re not legislators. They want to stop things. And so they’re just being — they just want to obstruct.”
Just as a reminder, David Brooks cut his teeth at National Review and the Weekly Standard, but has moved so far from his conservative roots that he no longer understands, or simply doesn’t care, that he’s railing against William F. Buckley’s slogan of “Standing Athwart History, Yelling Stop.” Not to mention that he must be the first employee of the New York Times to describe being “the Senator from Canada” as a pejorative, given that the Gray Lady, and Barack Obama, her ideological offspring, view the liberal Canada of the late ‘60s and ‘70s, aka “Trudeaupia,” as the starting point for all of their leftist visions. (You know, the notions that first WFB and later the Tea Party stand athwart.)
Brooks intended Bobos in Paradise to set the collective mood of the late 1990s into context in the same fashion as Tom Wolfe’s “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening” did for the 1970s. But unlike Wolfe, Brooks desperately seeks approval from the same Bobos that he analyzed. In sharp contrast, Wolfe’s white suit sets him apart from everyone who interviews him when he’s on the promo circuit, and more subtly, his notion of reportage being done as “The Man from Mars” deliberately sets him apart from his subject matter, when he’s out in the field being the interviewer. Contrast Brooks pitifully trying to be the Good Liberal Republican on PBS, with Wolfe explaining how he documented the comings and goings of the freaks who populated The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test in this 1987 NPR interview:
Wolfe said that Kesey would often test visitors and try to determine who among them was a “weekend hippie” and who actually followed the hippie lifestyle.
“He would say, ‘All right, let’s everybody get naked and get on our bikes and go up Route 1,’ ” recalled Wolfe. “They did. This separated the hippies from the weekend hipsters very rapidly. I didn’t have to worry because I was in my three-piece suit with a big blue corduroy necktie and the idea that I was going to take any of this off for anybody was crazy.”
The suit, he said, functioned to differentiate him from the people he covered in his pieces — and made it clear to his subjects that he was not one of them.
“I have discovered that for me, it is much more effective to arrive in any situation as a man from Mars than to try and fit in,” he said. “When I first started out in journalism, I used to try and fit in. … I tried to fit into the scene. … I was depriving myself of the ability of some very obvious questions if I fit in. … After that, I gave it up. I would turn up always in a suit and just be the village information gatherer.”
In contrast, having written Bobos in Paradise, Brooks produced a nicely written field guide to the new Left, and then afterwards, cashed in by going to work for those very same Bobos under the aegis of the New York Times, and in the process, became one of them. The result has been a series of spectacular judgment errors, most legendarily, falling in love with the senator from Cook County because of his trouser creases, but later viewing the former governor of Alaska, the Tea Party, and now Sen. Ted Cruz as all falling into the infra dig category of “Not Our Class, Darling.”
Occasionally, Brooks comes to his senses — he admitted in a 2011 New York Times column that “I’m a sap, a specific kind of sap. I’m an Obama Sap.” Well, no kidding, David. But to keep the paychecks rolling in, Brooks must continue to toe Pinch’s party line.
Which helps to explain his Canadian formulation to insult Ted Cruz. It isn’t just going birther; Brooks is trekking very close to the same “White Hispanic” Siberian territory where the Times had previously dispatched George Zimmerman last year. Which is a reminder that, to paraphrase Frank Burns on TV’s M*A*S*H, as far as the Gray Lady and its employees are concerned, tribalism is fine, as long as we all do it together.
Update: Welcome Instapundit and Mark Steyn readers. As Mark writes, unlike Brooks, his fellow Canadian immigrant, “It doesn’t have to be this way. I have a dream that one day my children will live in an America where they’re judged not on the color of their skin but on whether they’ve got an aunt in Saskatoon.”
Mark’s post is titled “The Last Phobia,” and while I would hate to risk arguing against the presumptive GOP senator from New Hampshire, I suspect the Times’ collective oikophobia causes the Great Lady to get a case of Marget Dumont-level vapors (vapours?) over all sorts of phobias, far beyond the growing Phantom Canadian Menace.
(Thumbnail on PJM homepage originally created for Roger L. Simon’s 2012 post, “David Brooks’ Odd Blindness.” And no, I’m not sure why Roger chose the singular case, either.)