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DAVID BROOKS THEN: You know, this Trump fellow isn’t really quite the thing, what with his flashy patriotism and crass insults.

David Brooks Now: “Donald Trump Hates America.”

Related: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump.

#JOURNALISM: E.J. Dionne: No fair asking Democratic contenders to take a position.

Related: What Pelosi Versus the Squad Really Means: The progressive-liberal civil war isn’t just a conflict of what’s too far left. “Critics on the left argue that liberalism is a set of seemingly neutral procedures that the privileged adopt to mask their underlying grip on power. Left-wing critics detest liberalism’s incrementalism and argue that only a complete revolution will uproot injustice. They do not share liberalism’s belief in the primacy of free speech.”

Also related: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump.

DAVID BROOKS: Democrats Are “Making A Terrible Mistake” On Contempt, Destroying Checks And Balances.

This constitutional crisis is just for show. Partly the Democrats want the show because it just feels good to bash the administration. “This has had a cathartic effect on the Democrats because we have finally been able to find a way to fight back at the obstructionism,” Representative Jamie Raskin told my Times colleague Sheryl Gay Stolberg.

Partly they are trying to appease the wing of the party that is calling for impeachment right away. The party leaders generally opposed impeachment for sensible reasons. It would be impossible to win a conviction in the Senate without some Republican cooperation and overwhelming popular support — which doesn’t exist. It’s much better for the Democrats if they focus media attention on their presidential candidates. A Trump vs. Nadler media war is exactly what Trump wants.

The problem with any policy of appeasement is that it rarely appeases; it only emboldens. And that’s what’s happening. You can feel the atmosphere in the Democratic Party changing, getting more passionate, getting more caught up in the back-and-forth combat with Trump, getting more whipped up into impeachment furor.

A bunch of needless “But Trump did it first!” stuff aside, when Brooks is right, he’s right.

BUT DOES HE STILL ADMIRE THEIR TROUSER CREASES? On PBS, David Brooks Warns Democrats ‘Somewhere to the Left of Che Guevara.’

IT’S COME TO THIS: David Brooks of the New York Times decries elitism.

The authors of [the Green New Deal] fantasy are right that we need to do something about global warming and inequality. But simple attempts to realign incentives, like the carbon tax, would be more effective and more realistic than government efforts to reorganize vast industries.

In an alienated America, efforts to decentralize power are more effective and realistic than efforts to concentrate it in the Washington elite. The great paradox of progressive populism is that it leads to elitism in its purist form.

The impulse to create a highly centralized superstate recurs throughout American history. There were people writing such grand master plans in the 1880s, the 1910s, the 1930s. They never work out. As Richard Weaver once put it, the problem with the next generation is that it hasn’t read the minutes of the last meeting.

But I’m sure Brooks would agree that they really know what they’re doing when it comes to sharpening their trouser creases.

TROLL LEVEL: COCAINE MITCH. Mitch McConnell is going to force the Senate to vote on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. “I’ve noted with great interest the Green New Deal, and we’re going to be voting on that in the Senate to give everybody an opportunity to go on record.”

Meanwhile, even David Brooks is getting snarky with AOC: “But the underlying faith of the Green New Deal is a faith in the guiding wisdom of the political elite. The authors of the Green New Deal assume that technocratic planners can master the movements of 328 million Americans and design a transportation system so that ‘air travel stops becoming necessary.’ (This is from people who couldn’t even organize the successful release of their own background document.)” Oh, snap!

UPDATE: Heh.

CORN, POPPED: Covington Boy’s Lawyers Send Preservation Letters to Over 50 Media Entities. “Including NYT, WaPo, CNN, NPA, TMZ, Elizabeth Warren, Alyssa Milano, Kathy Griffin, Maggie Haberman, Ana Cabrera, David Brooks…”

FLASHBACK:

Brooks is, of course, horrified at Trump and his supporters, whom he finds childish, thuggish and contemptuous of the things that David Brooks likes about today’s America. It’s clear that he’d like a social/political revolution that was more refined, better-mannered, more focused on the Constitution and, well, more bourgeois as opposed to in-your-face and working class.

The thing is, we had that movement. It was the Tea Party movement. . . .

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racist, denounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared “I’m not a fan of this movement.” After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

Still true, and as events abroad indicate, not limited to the US.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS: CNN’s Kirsten Powers declared all Trump supporters to be racist this past Friday.

Speaking with the chyron “Why Trump Resonates With White Women” below her on “CNN Tonight” with Don Lemon, Powers said Trump’s racist rhetoric from his campaign to the present was too vast to summarize as she assessed white women who support the president.

“They’ll say, ‘Well, I’m not racist. I just voted for him because, you know, I didn’t like Hillary Clinton,'” the former Clinton administration official said. “And I just want to say that’s not—that doesn’t make you not racist. It actually makes you racist. If you support somebody who does racist things, that makes you racist. So, I just want to establish that.

Powers was a bit more nuanced in 2014, when she was a liberal employed by Fox News:

In their latest video, as Noah Rothman writes at Mediaite, RCP’s Carl Cannon takes Kirsten Powers of Fox News out for a spin, which produces this interesting moment:

Cannon began by asking Powers how she is treated by her Fox colleagues. He recalled that New York Times’ conservative columnist David Brooks was not well-received when he first started writing for the Times and asked if Powers had encountered a similar experience.

“People are really nice at Fox,” Powers revealed. “It’s been good for because I – before that, I lived in a real liberal bubble.”

“All my friends were liberals and I grew up in a really liberal family,” she continued. “I had a lot of ideas about conservatives and then I got to Fox and just, I was like, ‘Oh, they’re not all evil and stupid.’”

I realize she’s speaking glibly and off-the-cuff, but the inference is that on some level, Powers actually did believe that all conservatives are evil, thus butting up against fellow Fox News pundit Charles Krauthammer’s law of politics from over a decade ago. “To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil,” Krauthammer wrote in 2002.

And Powers is back to believing that all conservatives are evil — at CNN, she’s safely back in the bubble.

Related: A Cold Winter for White Women.

TWO GRAY LADIES IN ONE!

● Shot: The Quiet Death of Racial Progress. How can we stop backsliding toward inequality?

—Headline and subhead on new column by David Brooks in the New York Times.

● Chaser: Does the word “Caucasity” — used in the NYT today — express the idea of whiteness as a problem?

—Headline, Ann Althouse, January 31st.

● Hangover: ‘Pinch’ Sulzberger, then publisher of the New York Times, told a crowd at the Metropolitan Museum in 1994 that “alienating older white male readers means ‘we’re doing something right.’”

New York magazine, November, 1991.

EMERALD ROBINSON: The Collapse Of The NeverTrump Conservatives. “Many people mistook their policy positions for principles, and Trump has made them look foolish. What do they stand for now? What does it mean to be conservative if you’re not clear about what you’re conserving? Credit David Brooks, of all people, with waving the white flag first this April, and with some humility when he admitted that ‘Part of the problem is that anti-Trumpism has a tendency to be insufferably condescending.’ Brooks then basically summarized the great failure of the Never Trumpers as ‘an epic attempt to offend 40 percent of our fellow citizens by reducing them to psychological inferiors.'”

It’s difficult to argue that we’d be better off with a Hillary economy, a Hillary foreign policy, or a second Hillary Supreme Court Justice. But that’s what you’re arguing, if you’re NeverTrump.

ROGER KIMBALL: The Long March: Reckoning With 1968’s ‘Cultural Revolution,’ 50 Years On.

It seems so long ago, shrouded in a Day-Glo glaze of grateful recollection. But when it comes to the Sixties, and especially the fulcrum year of 1968, Time magazine is right: “50 Years After 1968, We Are Still Living In Its Shadow.” Indeed, paroxysms of the 1960s, which trembled with gathering force through North America and Western Europe from the mid-1950s through the early 1970s, continue to reverberate throughout our culture. The Age of Aquarius did not end when the last electric guitar was unplugged at Woodstock. It lives on in our values and habits, in our tastes, pleasures, and aspirations. It lives on especially in our educational and cultural institutions, and in the degraded pop culture that permeates our lives like a corrosive fog.

As even David Brooks has noticed. And this is a good column.

THIS IS A GOOD COLUMN BY DAVID BROOKS: The Strange Failure of the Educated Elite.

Once upon a time, white male Protestants ruled the roost. You got into a fancy school if your father had gone to the fancy school. You got a job at a white-shoe law firm or climbed the corporate ladder if you golfed at the right club.

Then we smashed all that. We replaced a system based on birth with a fairer system based on talent. We opened up the universities and the workplace to Jews, women and minorities. University attendance surged, creating the most educated generation in history. We created a new boomer ethos, which was egalitarian (bluejeans everywhere!), socially conscious (recycling!) and deeply committed to ending bigotry.

You’d think all this would have made the U.S. the best governed nation in history. Instead, inequality rose. Faith in institutions plummeted. Social trust declined. The federal government became dysfunctional and society bitterly divided.

How about that.

BROOKS ON TRUMP: ‘There Are a Lot of Things I Like That He’s Done and the Economy Has Not Tanked.’

To say the least.

SCOTT ADAMS: President Trump Earns the Highest Presidential Approval Level of All Time.

The Small Business Optimism Index hit an all-time high. That’s the new Presidential Approval Poll.

In olden days (pre-2016), candidates for president were not so different from each other. I can remember pundits complaining endlessly about how similar the Democrats and Republicans had become. In that environment, you can easily imagine someone who voted for Candidate A warming up to Candidate B. In those simpler times, a presidential approval poll meant something.

Today, a “presidential approval poll” is little more than taking attendance. If you’re a Democrat, you disapprove of President Trump as a lifestyle choice. If you voted for Trump, you probably still approve of him because you knew exactly what you were getting. And if you are an anti-Trump conservative, you allow cognitive dissonance to rule your brain and you say he’s doing a good job but you disapprove of him anyway. David Brooks accidentally described this phenomenon in this article.

I contend that business optimism — and small business optimism in particular — are the new standard for presidential approval because “economics” captures most of what a president influences.

But does it predict elections?

I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING: David Brooks Says Anti-Trump Movement Is Getting ‘Dumber,’ Becoming a ‘Smug Fairy Tale.’

ANN ALTHOUSE CORRECTS DAVID BROOKS:

Preening over his own lofty intellectual standards, Brooks makes a lowly grammatical mistake and no one doing the “normal” journalism at the NYT noticed: “the monotonous daily hysteria of we anti-Trumpers” should be “the monotonous daily hysteria of us anti-Trumpers.”

I think “we” might feel more dignified than “us,” but mixing up your objective and subjective pronouns is a pretty lowbrow mistake. Speaking of things noticed and found silly, I find that silly — not because you made an error but because you’re so sure you’re the one on high looking down at other people.

Anyway, the monotonous daily hysteria of anti-Trumpers is worse than “silly.” I write about it all the time, not — as you might think — because I’m pro-Trump, but because the haters hate too much and it’s making them weird and crazy. In my view, Trump was too weird and crazy to be President, but in the real world, he is President, and it’s weird and crazy not to live in the real world.

I wonder where Brooks goes to notice young people looking at daily hysteria and finding it silly. Is there a coffeeshop in D.C. somewhere or what?

On the other hand, it’s news when David “sharp crease” Brooks notices that the anti-Trump movement is more about tribalism and aesthetics than anything substantive.

ANN ALTHOUSE: David Brooks gets awfully grandiose and contemptuous. “If Roy Moore’s opponent wins, I would expect Democrats to exult at the fabulous new political opportunity and even to laugh openly at the Alabamans (who will be on the receiving end of contempt no matter what they do). And I do not believe that after this election there’s going to be any great shift to voting based on which candidate is more moral. I watched the Sunday shows this morning. All that cheesy emoting in the Theater of Sanctimony. Such scenery chewing! Especially by Brooks. Isn’t he too a sinner?”

Weird how none of these paragons of moral leadership got all upset about reports of underage prostitutes and Senator Menendez (D-NJ), when Menendez would be replaced by a Republican governor. . . .

Related: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: The End of Prestige:

European colonization was in some sense the longest running hit play in history. It was a performance that ended only by a humiliating eviction from the theater by the empire of Japan in 1942. When Yamashita brought the curtain down he ended the suspension of disbelief so critical for the thing to work. Though the British eventually returned victorious to Singapore in 1945 the magic was gone. Prestige had fled away. Ten years after “Lives of a Bengal Lancer” the bugles had ceased to blow.

In the unending exposes of financial, moral and sexual turpitude we are witnessing a similar humiliation of a ruling elite. The critical role played by prestige in upholding the current status quo was no less important for the Western elite than it was for the old District Commissioners. Not so very long ago the elites were accepted as woke, part of the mission civilisatrice; better educated, better looking, better dressed, destined to greater things, the smartest people in the room. They could pronounce on matters of morality, politics and even the climate. What a shock it was to find through the Internet and social media it was all a sham; and these gods of Washington and Hollywood and the media were deeply flawed and despicable people.

Given the lack of quality control and penchant for recruiting rather than expelling the scandalous it’s amazing in retrospect the prestige lasted so long. All the same, now their fallibility has been exposed under the spotlight of technological innovation, the spell is broken. The elites may still rule but the sullen masses no longer flock to their door as they did of old. Perhaps the single most destabilizing political development since the WW2 has been the destruction of ruling class prestige by the Internet.

Related: The Suicide of Expertise.

Plus, David Brooks on our elites: They really do stink.

HOW BAD IS GEORGE CLOONEY’S SUBURBICON? So bad that the New York Times reviewer chokes on its “moral piety.”

By the final bogusly optimistic shot, it’s obvious what “Suburbicon” wants you to know: This movie voted for Obama.

If Hollywood movies are in trouble, something as confused as this one signals a hastening of their demise.

As even David Brooks admits, the problem with our elites is that “they really do stink.”

Related: The Suicide Of Expertise.

WHEN EVEN DAVID BROOKS IS ADMITTING IT: David Brooks: Those Of Us Trying To Rebut Trump Have The Disadvantage That “Our Elites Really Do Stink.”

HE’S RIGHT. THEY STINK ON ICE:

Shot: David Brooks: Those Of Us Trying To Rebut Trump Have The Disadvantage That “Our Elites Really Do Stink.”

Real Clear Politics today.

Chaser: David Brooks is Still in Love with the Crease in Obama’s Pants.

—Neo-Neocon, February 11, 2016.

THE HACK LIST: Iconoclast and professional contrarian reporter and editor Ken Silverstein has started on his WashingtonBabylon blog a compilation of hacks in DC and elsewhere who deserve a good calling out. The heads alone are worth the price of admission:

“Hack List 2017: Why the New Yorker Sucks, in One Annotated Story”
“David Brooks: Gabagool By Any Other Name”
“Release the Transcripts! “Journalist”/Clinton Surrogate Ezra Klein Nets $30,750 For a Single Speech”
“The Lassie Chronicles: In New Book on Bill Clinton, Joe Conason Finds His Inner Lapdog.”

Ken is a preternaturally cranky guy, and deserves a place in the Pantheon of Journalists Who Despise All Politicians. As it ought to be.

 

 

NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY: TV shows like ‘Young Sheldon’ disguise a scary truth about boys today.

These TV characters represent an extreme, but it’s one that’s resonating with the American public: Boys are increasingly feeling left out and left behind. In a world that is increasingly dependent on communication skills and collaborative work — skills that girls seem to master more easily — boys are becoming adrift.

For their TV counterparts, things eventually turn out well in business and in love. Extreme smarts, it seems, can make up for a lot of social problems. For average boys in America, it is increasingly hard to navigate today’s educational and professional worlds. Schools, as many have noted, seem like hostile environments to them. From zero-tolerance policies that discipline boys who turn their thumbs and forefingers into guns to reading lists that are devoid of adventure to playgrounds that are built to minimize risk to the dramatic reduction in recess time, there seems to be fewer outlets for boys’ energies or imaginations. Which may be why they are diagnosed with ADHD at twice the rate of girls.

Christina Hoff Sommers, author of “The War Against Boys,” predicted that “the gender gap favoring girls is threatening to become a chasm.” That appears to be coming true. In a recent piece in the Atlantic, Amanda Ripley writes, “Wherever girls have access to school, they seem to eventually do better than boys. In 2015, teenage girls outperformed boys on a sophisticated reading test in 69 countries — every place in which the test was administered. In America, girls are more likely to take Advanced Placement tests, to graduate from high school and to go to college, and women continue their education over a year longer than men.”

Boys graduate from high school at lower rates. They make up only 43 percent of college graduates. And they are outnumbered by women in graduate school — 135 women for every 100 men. The results are obvious in our workforce, where there are at least 7 million prime-age men who have simply dropped out.

Colleges and universities in particular seem to place more value on social skills — participation in extracurricular activities, leadership in school groups — as well as on “executive function,” the ability to manage and organize many tasks, rather than just being very good in one area of study. When David Brooks coined the term “Organization Kid” while watching kids in elite colleges, he was describing a skill set that is much more common in girls.

Related: ‘Young Sheldon’ and the War on Genius.

INTERESTING CHANGE OF STRATEGERY FOR DEMOCRATS:

● Kerry in 2004: “Can I get me a huntin’ license here?”

● Obama in 2008:

“I just want to be absolutely clear, alright. So I don’t want any misunderstanding. When ya’ll go home and you’re talking to your buddies, and they say, “Ah, he wants to take my gun away,” you’ve heard it here — I’m on television so everybody knows it —  I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe in people’s lawful right to bear arms. I will not take your shotgun away. I will not take your rifle away. I won’t take your handgun away. … So, there are some common-sense gun safety laws that I believe in. But I am not going to take your guns away. So if you want to find an excuse not to vote for me, don’t use that one. Cause that just ain’t true.”

Narrator voice: it was true.

Fast-forward to this week, post Vegas:

● Nancy Pelosi in 2017: “They’re going to say ‘you give them a bump stock, it’s going to be a slippery slope.’ I certainly hope so.”

New York Times fauxcon Bret Stephens: “Repeal the Second Amendment. I have never understood the conservative fetish for the Second Amendment.”

●  Democrat operative with a lavalier, NBC’s Katy Tur agrees with Stephens, suggests repealing 2nd amendment should be Democrats’ end goal.

Original NYT RINO David Brooks:

“Too often, the people who have been the spokesperson for gun control have been Michael Bloomberg and, frankly, Jimmy Kimmel,” he said “And I like Michael Bloomberg. I like Jimmy Kimmel’s show. But they shouldn’t be the face because everybody’s cultural awarenesses get up when it’s a New York mayor or a Hollywood star. And it has to come from people who own guns in this country.”

Well gee, if you don’t like Bloomberg and Kimmel, how ‘bout Nancy Pelosi? This is an interesting turn for the Democrats going forward. Who will believe them if and when they utter the we’re just everyday folks, we’re not coming for your guns lies that Kerry and Obama uttered during their campaigns?

JAMES POULOS: Two Cheers for Democracy.

How best to return the body politic to both liberal moderation and classical natural right is the puzzle that defines American conservatives’ central challenge. David Brooks, also invoking Craiutu, recently attempted to cast moderation’s charm in stark terms, as the only alternative to the “warrior mentality” in politics. The radicalizing, “warrior” mentality, he says, “just means more culture war, more barbarism, more dishonesty and more dysfunction.” The moderate soul does “not see politics as warfare,” but as “a voyage with a fractious fleet,” or a method of “coping with the complexity of the world.” No sect can master the science of politics, because politics is a “limited activity” that can never save us or become the whole. Thus, the political art emerging from the acceptance of politics’s limits is a conversational art. Political arts require mediating between what are falsely propounded and marketed as airtight, mutually exclusive, comprehensive doctrines. Both extremism and careless moderation can cause disaster, but humility emerges from practicing political arts, properly understood. Politics is the art of reflectively choosing the least bad options—accepting human political wisdom and knowledge’s limits, instead of lusting and lurching after utopian visions of justice.

Plus, “In today’s political landscape, the influence of fake ‘warriors,’ for social justice or other causes, is maximized, while the deployment of soldiers, real warriors, is seen as a risk and burden to be minimized.”

Young people need some kind of outlet for their energies, and it would seem that social-justice warrior-ing is filling in for more traditional coming-of-age rituals.

GUESTS OF DAVID BROOKS WORST HURT:  New Yorkers refuse to eat these hard-to-pronounce dishes: study.

COINCIDENCE, I’M SURE: Going to the New York Times opinion page to reread David Brooks’ column calling for Google’s Sundar Pichai to resign, and I get this:

THE ATLANTIC: A Question for Google’s CEO.

When CEO Sundar Pichai addressed a controversial memo about diversity that circulated inside Google, culminating in the termination of its author, James Damore, he began by telling the company’s 72,053 employees that “we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it.”

“However,” he added, “portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace. Our job is to build great products for users that make a difference in their lives. To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not okay. It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct.”

I have a question for the CEO.

Given that the full text of the memo is public, that it is the subject of a national debate on an important subject, that many educated people disagree with one another about what claims it made, and that clarity can only help Google employees adhere to the company’s rules going forward, would you be willing to highlight the memo using green to indicate the “much” that you identified as “fair to debate” and red to flag the “portions” that you deemed Code-of-Conduct violations?

Absent that, it seems to me that Google employees will remain as uncertain as ever about what they can and cannot say at the company. As an illustration, consider Alan Jacobs, an English professor at Baylor University who declares himself confused about your meaning:

How badly has Pichai screwed the pooch? So badly that David Brooks is calling for his scalp.

DAVID BROOKS IS RIGHT: Sundar Pichai Should Resign as Google’s C.E.O.

DAVID BROOKS: Sundar Pichai Should Resign as Google’s C.E.O.

The mob that hounded Damore was like the mobs we’ve seen on a lot of college campuses. We all have our theories about why these moral crazes are suddenly so common. I’d say that radical uncertainty about morality, meaning and life in general is producing intense anxiety. Some people embrace moral absolutism in a desperate effort to find solid ground. They feel a rare and comforting sense of moral certainty when they are purging an evil person who has violated one of their sacred taboos.

Which brings us to Pichai, the supposed grown-up in the room. He could have wrestled with the tension between population-level research and individual experience. He could have stood up for the free flow of information. Instead he joined the mob. He fired Damore and wrote, “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not O.K.”

That is a blatantly dishonest characterization of the memo. Damore wrote nothing like that about his Google colleagues. Either Pichai is unprepared to understand the research (unlikely), is not capable of handling complex data flows (a bad trait in a C.E.O.) or was simply too afraid to stand up to a mob.

Or (the worst and seemingly likely option) Pichai is the mob’s leader.

NOW DAVID BROOKS IS LECTURING US ON MANLINESS. You’ll never guess who his number-one role model is.

Related: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump.

THE COLUMN THAT ALL AMERICA WANTS. THE COLUMN THAT ALL AMERICA NEEDS: Who else but David Brooks, the man, the myth, the sandwich shop legend, the Fonzie of Fifth Avenue, can explain to the readers of the New York TimesHow Cool Works in America Today”?

Cool had other social meanings. It was a way of showing you weren’t playing the whole Horatio Alger game; you weren’t a smarmy career climber. It was a way to assert the value of the individual in response to failed collectivisms — to communism and fascism, to organized religion. The cool person is guided by his or her own autonomous values, often on the outskirts of society.

To be cool was to be a moral realist. The cruelties of the wars had exposed the simplistic wholesomeness of good and evil middle-class morality. A character like Rick Blaine in “Casablanca” is trying to live by his own honor code in an absurd moral world.

Until he realizes that “the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world,” and joins the effort defeat Hitler. Having taken an interest in the horrors of the world beyond his café’s doors, does that mean that Bogey’s Rick is no longer cool? Brooks goes on to explain to his readers at the Times the difference between “cool” and “woke:”

Cool was politically detached, but being a social activist is required for being woke. Cool was individualistic, but woke is nationalistic and collectivist. Cool was emotionally reserved; woke is angry, passionate and indignant. Cool was morally ambiguous; woke seeks to establish a clear marker for what is unacceptable.

But earlier in his column, Brooks wrote that “You can [still] see cool figures like Kendrick Lamar…” But if “cool was politically detached, but being a social activist is required for being woke,” how does that explain this album by Lamar and its cover, as Victor Davis Hanson noted last year:

A few hours before delivering that State of the Union, President Obama met with rapper Kendrick Lamar. Obama announced that Lamar’s hit “How Much a Dollar Cost” was his favorite song of 2015. The song comes from the album To Pimp a Butterfly; the album cover shows a crowd of young African-American men massed in front of the White House. In celebratory fashion, all are gripping champagne bottles and hundred-dollar bills; in front of them lies the corpse of a white judge, with two Xs drawn over his closed eyes. So why wouldn’t the president’s advisors at least have advised him that such a gratuitous White House sanction might be incongruous with a visual message of racial hatred? Was Obama seeking cultural authenticity, of the sort he seeks by wearing a T-shirt, with his baseball cap on backwards and thumb up?

To play the old “what if” game that is necessary in the bewildering age of Obama: what if President George W. Bush had invited to the White House a controversial country Western singer, known for using the f- and n- words liberally in his music and celebrating attacks on Bureau of Land Management officers?

For a much better definition of how “cool” changed American society, it’s still tough to beat the column the late Michael Kelly wrote on the topic 20 years ago, after Frank Sinatra passed away at age 82:

And what Frank Sinatra projected was: cool. And here is where the damage was done. Frank invented cool, and everyone followed Frank, and everything has been going to hell ever since.

In America, B.F., there was no cool. There was smart (as in the smart set), and urbane, and sophisticated, and fast and hip; but these things were not the same as cool. The pre-Frank hip guy, the model of aesthetic and moral superiority to which men aspired, is the American male of the 1930s and 1940s. He is Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep or Casablanca or Archie Goodwin in Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe novels. He possesses an outward cynicism, but this is understood to be merely clothing; at his core, he is a square. He fights a lot, generally on the side of the underdog. He is willing to die for his beliefs, and his beliefs are, although he takes pains to hide it, old-fashioned. He believes in truth, justice, the American way, and love. He is on the side of the law, except when the law is crooked. He is not taken in by jingoism but he is himself a patriot; when there is a war, he goes to it. He is, after his fashion, a gentleman and, in a quite modern manner, a sexual egalitarian. He is forthright, contemptuous of dishonesty in all its forms, from posing to lying. He confronts his enemies openly and fairly, even if he might lose. He is honorable and virtuous, although he is properly suspicious of men who talk about honor and virtue. He may be world-weary, but he is not ironic.

The new cool man that Sinatra defined was a very different creature. Cool said the old values were for suckers. Cool was looking out for number one always. Cool didn’t get mad; it got even. Cool didn’t go to war: Saps went to war, and anyway, cool had no beliefs it was willing to die for. Cool never, ever, got in a fight it might lose; cool had friends who could take care of that sort of thing. Cool was a cad and boastful about it; in cool’s philosophy, the lady was always a tramp, and to be treated accordingly. Cool was not on the side of the law; cool made its own laws. Cool was not knowing but still essentially idealistic; cool was nihilistic. Cool was not virtuous; it reveled in vice. Before cool, being good was still hip; after cool, only being bad was.

Spot on. (Which isn’t to say that Sinatra didn’t have many brilliant moments in his career as both a singer and actor.) To be fair to Brooks, not all of his takes are completely wrong in this column. As Mediaite notes, “David Brooks Tackles ‘Cool’ in New Column, Declares Kurt Schlichter ‘Woke.’”

Heh. OK, we’ll give him that one.

LUNCH MEAT AND LIBERALS: “David Brooks’ friend doesn’t need him to ‘sensitively’ take her somewhere she already knows while pondering on the social signifiers that keep her from being as enlightened as he is,” Charlie Martin writes. “What she needs is for him to pull his nose down far enough to say ‘it’s salami.’”

But if you’re David Brooks, is life worth living if you can’t feel superior to the plebes?

Read the whole thing.

MORE ON DAVID BROOKS’ SANDWICH SHOP: “Let me say point-blank: if you think the sandwich shop anecdote is about sandwich shops or David Brooks’s manners, you are completely missing the point.”

It’s fun to make fun of David Brooks. But he made a good point in that piece, and the very people who need to get that seem most determined to avoid it.

DAVID BROOKS ENDORSES CORRUPTION OF THE BLOOD. Well, where Republicans are concerned, anyway.

DISPATCHES FROM THE INTERSECTION OF THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE AND DAVID BROOKS’ SANDWICH SHOP. In “The language of privilege,” Robert Pondiscio of the Fordham Institute writes, “We are ruining America, notes dour New York Times columnist David Brooks, suddenly and considerably alarmed by a standard feature of American life, if not human nature—the tendency of the privileged and powerful to guard jealously every advantage they have been handed or earned:”

To be highly proficient in Brooksian English—the language of privilege—requires mastery over not just an alphabet and rules of grammar, but also an enormous range of assumed knowledge, historical references, and cultural allusions that are commonly held by members of a speech community. “My kids know how to be Black,” one parent tells Delpit. “You all teach them how to be successful in the white man’s world.”

American education remains deeply reluctant to do this, since it requires overthrowing any number of traditions and practices—from child-centered pedagogies, assumptions about student engagement, and other progressive education ideals, to local control of curriculum, the privileging of skills over content, and the movement toward mass customization of education. Each of these in ways great or small work against the cause of language proficiency; in doing so, they make the task of educating for upward mobility more difficult.

Make yourself a soppressata, capicollo and prosciutto sandwich on a striata baguette and read the whole thing.

TO BE FAIR, I’D LOVE TO SEE DAVID BROOKS TAKE HIM OUT TO DINNER: Claudia Rosett on Taking Out Kim Jong Un — and Not for Dinner.

CONTRAST THIS WITH THE DAVID BROOKS PIECE EVERYONE WAS TALKING ABOUT YESTERDAY: “It was like everyone’s grandpa walked in:” Diners surprised by President Bush at local cafe. Best bit:

Debbie said the former president took time to visit with every diner before leaving, but there was one conversation she overheard from a soldier eating at a table next to her that she won’t soon forget.

“There was another young couple he turned to and the man was in the army,” Debbie said. “He told him ‘it was an honor to serve you’ and President Bush said ‘thank you for your service, but you didn’t serve me, you served your country.”

Very nice.

WHEN IS A SANDWICH NOT JUST A SANDWICH? Rod Dreher on David Brooks, “condensed symbols, cultural elites, and Italian salami as a barrier to social mobility:”

The point is this: in our time and place — in liquid modernity — a man who can make and accommodate those kinds of radical shifts in perspective is a man who is enormously advantaged professionally over a man who cannot. More prosaically, a man who can walk into a gourmet sandwich shop and roll with it is enormously advantaged over the man who cannot. This is the real meaning of the David Brooks anecdote. Don’t laugh at it.

Read the whole thing.

AN ACTUALLY GOOD COLUMN FROM DAVID BROOKS ON HOW THE “NEW CLASS” IS RUINING AMERICA:

Over the past generation, members of the college-educated class have become amazingly good at making sure their children retain their privileged status. They have also become devastatingly good at making sure the children of other classes have limited chances to join their ranks. . . .

The educated class has built an ever more intricate net to cradle us in and ease everyone else out. It’s not really the prices that ensure 80 percent of your co-shoppers at Whole Foods are, comfortingly, also college grads; it’s the cultural codes.

Status rules are partly about collusion, about attracting educated people to your circle, tightening the bonds between you and erecting shields against everybody else. We in the educated class have created barriers to mobility that are more devastating for being invisible. The rest of America can’t name them, can’t understand them. They just know they’re there.

And that’s why you got Trump. Related: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump.

UPDATE: A lot of people are mocking Brooks for this, and understandably I suppose. But this is actually news to Brooks, and his readers. We should cheer when a bit of fresh air makes it into the bubble.

DAVID GELERNTER ON THE FAILURE OF THE “CONSERVATIVE RESISTANCE:”

Conservative thinkers should recall that they helped create President Trump. They never blasted President Obama as he deserved. Mr. Obama’s policies punished the economy and made the country and its international standing worse year by year; his patronizing arrogance drove people crazy. He was the perfect embodiment of a one-term president. The tea-party outbreak of 2009-10 made it clear where he was headed. History will record that the press saved him. Naturally the mainstream press loved him, but too many conservative commentators never felt equal to taking him on. They had every reason to point out repeatedly that Mr. Obama was the worst president since Jimmy Carter, surrounded by a left-wing cabinet and advisers, hostile to Israel, crazed regarding Iran, and even less competent to deal with the issues than Mr. Carter was—which is saying plenty.

But they didn’t say plenty. They didn’t say much at all. The rank and file noticed and got mad. Even their supposed champions didn’t grasp what life under Mr. Obama was like—a man who was wrecking the economy while preaching little sermons, whose subtext was always how smart he was, how dumb they were, and how America was full of racist clods, dangerous cops and infantile nuts who would go crazy if they even heard the words “Islamic terrorism.” So the rank and file was deeply angry and elected Mr. Trump.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. They’d rather see the country collapse than risk being called a racist by Rachel Maddow. “Country over party” indeed. But Trump has brought along his own people, who are doing a lot better at engaging the left than the Bill Kristol/David Frum beltway types. As I wrote:

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racist, denounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared “I’m not a fan of this movement.” After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

But if you don’t like Trump, you really won’t like what comes after Trump, if the “resistance” succeeds. Luckily for Trump, the resistance seems mostly to be a bunch of self-important clowns and Antifa thugs.

FLASHBACK: New status anxiety fuels Trump derangement.

Our privileged, college-educated left — what Joel Kotkin calls the gentry liberals — feels that its preeminent position in American society is under threat. And people care a lot about status.

What’s more, the people who seem to be lashing out the most are, in fact, just those gentry liberals: academics, entertainers, pundits, low-level tech types, and so on. As journalism professor Mark Grabowski reported, another academic texted him on election night: “Oh my God! We will be the ones ostracized if he wins.”

Maybe we shouldn’t “ostracize” people based on whether their candidate wins, but in a way this professor was right: A Trump victory is a blow to the status of the people who thought Hillary Clinton was their candidate — one that they feel even more deeply because gentry liberals, having been raised on the principle that the personal is political, seem to take politics pretty personally.

Related: Trump Is Playing With The Press.

Knowing how much they hate him, he’s constantly provoking them to go over the top. Sean Spicer’s crowd-size remarks on Saturday were all about making them seem petty and negative. (And, possibly, teeing up crowd size comparisons at this Friday’s March For Life, which the press normally ignores but which Trump will probably force them to cover).

Trump knows that the press isn’t trusted very much, and that the less it’s trusted, the less it can hurt him. So he’s prodding reporters to do things that will make them less trusted, and they’re constantly taking the bait.

They’re taking the bait because they think he’s dumb, and impulsive, and lacking self-control — but he’s the one causing them to act in ways that are dumb and impulsive, and demonstrate lack of self-control.

And they still haven’t learned.

Plus: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump. “When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 ‘For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.’ Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.”

ANN ALTHOUSE ON THE REACTION TO TRUMP’S LATEST TWEET:

Over at The Washington Post, Callum Borchers is calling it a “blatantly sexist attack.” Ridiculous. Men get facelifts too. In fact, it’s Borchers who’s supplying the sexism:

When Trump hits Brzezinski and Scarborough on Twitter, he hits Brzezinski harder, more personally and in a way that seems designed to portray her as insecure (“facelift”) and unintelligent (“low IQ”) — as a side piece who would not be on TV if not for her romantic relationship with Scarborough, to whom she was recently engaged.

Trump didn’t say “sidepiece” or characterize plastic surgery as a marker of insecurity. That’s Borchers projecting. What I read in that tweet is that he found it ludicrous that the person trying to insinuate herself into his company was bleeding from the face. That doesn’t sound at all like insecurity. Quite the opposite.

I suspect that Trump knows a lot about cosmetic surgery. And the pic accompanying the NYT story doesn’t exactly undermine the whole “facelift” angle.

But for those who find Trump unacceptably crude, a reminder: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump.

Brooks is, of course, horrified at Trump and his supporters, whom he finds childish, thuggish and contemptuous of the things that David Brooks likes about today’s America. It’s clear that he’d like a social/political revolution that was more refined, better-mannered, more focused on the Constitution and, well, more bourgeois as opposed to in-your-face and working class.

The thing is, we had that movement. It was the Tea Party movement. Unlike Brooks, I actually ventured out to “intermingle” with Tea Partiers at various events that I covered for PJTV.com, contributing commentary to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Examiner. As I reported from one event in Nashville, “Pundits claim the tea partiers are angry — and they are — but the most striking thing about the atmosphere in Nashville was how cheerful everyone seemed to be. I spoke with dozens of people, and the responses were surprisingly similar. Hardly any had ever been involved in politics before. Having gotten started, they were finding it to be not just worthwhile, but actually fun. Laughter rang out frequently, and when new-media mogul Andrew Breitbart held forth on a TV interview, a crowd gathered and broke into spontaneous applause. A year ago (2009), many told me, they were depressed about the future of America. Watching television pundits talk about President Obama’s transformative plans for big government, they felt alone, isolated and helpless. That changed when protests, organized by bloggers, met Mr. Obama a year ago in Denver, Colo., Mesa, Ariz., and Seattle, Wash. Then came CNBC talker Rick Santelli’s famous on-air rant on Feb. 19, 2009, which gave the tea-party movement its name. Tea partiers are still angry at federal deficits, at Washington’s habit of rewarding failure with handouts and punishing success with taxes and regulation, and the general incompetence that has marked the first year of the Obama presidency. But they’re no longer depressed.”

One of the most famous things about the Tea Partiers was that — as befits a relentlessly bourgeois protest movement — they left things cleaner than they found them. Rich Lowry reported from Washington, DC: “Just as stunning as the tableaux of the massive throngs lining the reflecting pool were the images of the spotless grounds afterward. If someone had told attendees they were expected to mow the grass before they left, surely some of them would have hitched flatbed trailers to their vehicles for the trip to Washington and gladly brought mowers along with them. This was the revolt of the bourgeois, of the responsible, of the orderly, of people profoundly at peace with the traditional mores of American society. The spark that lit the tea-party movement was the rant by CNBC commentator Rick Santelli, who inveighed in early 2009 against an Obama-administration program to subsidize ‘the losers’ mortgages.’ He was speaking for people who hadn’t borrowed beyond their means or tried to get rich quick by flipping houses, for the people who, in their thrift and enterprise, ‘carry the water instead of drink the water.’ The tea party’s detractors want to paint it as radical, when at bottom it represents the self-reliant, industrious heart of American life.”

In San Francisco, too, tea party protesters met pro-Obama activists and picked up their trash. “John,” author of The City Square blog wrote: “As Obama supporters moved along in the line to get into the fundraiser, they left behind an impressive amount of trash … Tea Partiers shouted ‘pick up your garbage’ and ‘this is San Francisco, what about recycling?’ There was no response. They chanted ‘Obama leaves a mess.’ Still no response. Eventually, a tea partier (wearing the black cowboy hat) crosses over and starts to pick up the trash on his own. Other tea partiers join him. Another manages to find a trash bag. Soon the trash is being collected.”

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racist, denounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared “I’m not a fan of this movement.” After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

Nice work, political class. Now if you manage to do to Trump what you did to the Tea Party, you need to wonder: What comes after Trump?

DAVID BROOKS: Let’s Not Get Carried Away.

I was the op-ed editor at The Wall Street Journal at the peak of the Whitewater scandal. We ran a series of investigative pieces “raising serious questions” (as we say in the scandal business) about the nefarious things the Clintons were thought to have done back in Arkansas.

Now I confess I couldn’t follow all the actual allegations made in those essays. They were six jungles deep in the weeds. But I do remember the intense atmosphere that the scandal created. A series of bombshell revelations came out in the media, which seemed monumental at the time. A special prosecutor was appointed and indictments were expected. Speculation became the national sport.

In retrospect Whitewater seems overblown. And yet it has to be confessed that, at least so far, the Whitewater scandal was far more substantive than the Russia-collusion scandal now gripping Washington.

In this case, it would seem that where there’s smoke, there’s a Democrat-Media Complex blowing it up into places.

DAVID BROOKS: “Sociologically, this campaign has been an education in how societies come apart.” “Any decent society rests on codes of etiquette and a shared moral ecology to make cooperation possible, to prevent economic and political life from descending into a savage war of all against all. But this year Donald Trump has decimated the codes of basic decency without paying a price.”

FLASHBACK: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump.

Brooks is, of course, horrified at Trump and his supporters, whom he finds childish, thuggish and contemptuous of the things that David Brooks likes about today’s America. It’s clear that he’d like a social/political revolution that was more refined, better-mannered, more focused on the Constitution and, well, more bourgeois as opposed to in-your-face and working class.

The thing is, we had that movement. It was the Tea Party movement. . . .

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racist, denounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared “I’m not a fan of this movement.” After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

He doesn’t seem to have learned much. Also, “decimated,” which means “reduced by a tenth,” is not a synonym for “devastated.” I rather doubt that Brooks means that Trump has reduced basic decency by 10%. Amazing that that got by an editor.

And really, you backed Hillary Clinton and you’re talking about basic decency? Really?

TO ALL THE ANGRY, EMBITTERED, AND BEWILDERED DEMOCRATS LASHING OUT TODAY, let me recommend Dana Loesch’s book, Flyover Nation: You Can’t Run a Country You’ve Never Been To.

Also: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump.

HOW YOU KNOW HILLARY IS POLLING BADLY: David Brooks: Read Buber, Not The Polls!

FROM DAVID BROOKS, WHO IS NEITHER CONSERVATIVE NOR INTELLECTUAL: The Conservative Intellectual Crisis.

Flashback: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump.

BAH. BOOMERS SAID THE EXACT SAME ABOUT MY GENERATION BEFORE CO-OPTING US: What David Brooks Misses About Millennial Fragility.

YEP:

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FLASHBACK: As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap:

Brooks is, of course, horrified at Trump and his supporters, whom he finds childish, thuggish and contemptuous of the things that David Brooks likes about today’s America. It’s clear that he’d like a social/political revolution that was more refined, better-mannered, more focused on the Constitution and, well, more bourgeois as opposed to in-your-face and working class.

The thing is, we had that movement. It was the Tea Party movement. Unlike Brooks, I actually ventured out to “intermingle” with Tea Partiers at various events that I covered for PJTV.com, contributing commentary to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Examiner. As I reported from one event in Nashville, “Pundits claim the tea partiers are angry — and they are — but the most striking thing about the atmosphere in Nashville was how cheerful everyone seemed to be. I spoke with dozens of people, and the responses were surprisingly similar. Hardly any had ever been involved in politics before. Having gotten started, they were finding it to be not just worthwhile, but actually fun. Laughter rang out frequently, and when new-media mogul Andrew Breitbart held forth on a TV interview, a crowd gathered and broke into spontaneous applause. A year ago (2009), many told me, they were depressed about the future of America. Watching television pundits talk about President Obama’s transformative plans for big government, they felt alone, isolated and helpless. That changed when protests, organized by bloggers, met Mr. Obama a year ago in Denver, Colo., Mesa, Ariz., and Seattle, Wash. Then came CNBC talker Rick Santelli’s famous on-air rant on Feb. 19, 2009, which gave the tea-party movement its name. Tea partiers are still angry at federal deficits, at Washington’s habit of rewarding failure with handouts and punishing success with taxes and regulation, and the general incompetence that has marked the first year of the Obama presidency. But they’re no longer depressed.”

One of the most famous things about the Tea Partiers was that — as befits a relentlessly bourgeois protest movement — they left things cleaner than they found them. Rich Lowry reported from Washington, DC: “Just as stunning as the tableaux of the massive throngs lining the reflecting pool were the images of the spotless grounds afterward. If someone had told attendees they were expected to mow the grass before they left, surely some of them would have hitched flatbed trailers to their vehicles for the trip to Washington and gladly brought mowers along with them. This was the revolt of the bourgeois, of the responsible, of the orderly, of people profoundly at peace with the traditional mores of American society. . . .

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racist, denounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared “I’m not a fan of this movement.” After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

Also:

People who are unhappy with the things Trump is saying need to understand that he’s only getting so much traction because he’s filling a void. If the responsible people would talk about these issues, and take action, Trump wouldn’t take up so much space.

And there’s a lesson for our ruling class there: Calling Trump a fascist is a bit much (fascism, as Tom Wolfe once reported, is forever descending upon the United States, but somehow it always lands on Europe), but movements like fascism and communism get their start because the mechanisms of liberal democracy seem weak and ineffectual and dishonest. If you don’t want Trump — or, perhaps, some post-Trump figure who really is a fascist — to dominate things, you need to stop being weak and ineffectual and dishonest. . . .

Likewise, it’s a bit hard to take people seriously about Trump’s threat to civil liberties when President Obama was just endorsing an unconstitutional gun ban, when his attorney general was threatening to prosecute people for anti-Muslim speech (a threat later walked back, thankfully) and when universities and political leaders around the country are making clear their belief that free speech is obsolete.

Hearing that Yale professor Erika Christakis won’t be teaching at Yale because of the abuse she received over a respectful but non-PC email, former DNC chair Howard Dean tweeted: “Free speech is good. Respecting others is better.” To his credit, CNN’s Jake Tapper responded: “Of course only one of them is enshrined in the Constitution.”

But Twitter humorist IowaHawk had the last word: ”With the exception of POTUS, the Atty General, both leading presidential candidates, the media, and universities, Americans love free speech.”

If you wish to hold fascism, or even just Trumpism, at bay, then we need elites who are trustworthy, who can be counted on to protect the country, and who respect the Constitution even when it gets in the way of doing something they want to do. By failing to live up to these standards, they have chosen their “Destructor.” Let’s hope that they haven’t chosen ours, as well.

Okay, I have to admit, so far it’s not looking great.

WAPO: I rejected my parents’ WASP values. Now I see we need them more than ever.

Visiting home between assignments, I found myself noticing and appreciating things I had always taken for granted — the tamed greenery and smooth streets, the absence of fear and abundance of choice, the code of good manners and civilized discussion. I also began to learn things about my parents I had never known and to realize that I had judged them unfairly. I had confused their social discomfort with condescension and their conservatism with callousness.

Related: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump:

Brooks is, of course, horrified at Trump and his supporters, whom he finds childish, thuggish and contemptuous of the things that David Brooks likes about today’s America. It’s clear that he’d like a social/political revolution that was more refined, better-mannered, more focused on the Constitution and, well, more bourgeois as opposed to in-your-face and working class.

The thing is, we had that movement. It was the Tea Party movement. Unlike Brooks, I actually ventured out to “intermingle” with Tea Partiers at various events that I covered for PJTV.com, contributing commentary to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Examiner. As I reported from one event in Nashville, “Pundits claim the tea partiers are angry — and they are — but the most striking thing about the atmosphere in Nashville was how cheerful everyone seemed to be. . . .

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racist, denounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared “I’m not a fan of this movement.” After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

We have the worst political class in American history, and our nation is being fundamentally transformed as a result. If, at this point, they find the transformation uncomfortable, please forgive my lack of sympathy.

THOMAS EDSALL’S COLUMN ON TRUMP, The Anti-PC Vote, is strongly reminiscent of my USA Today column. “The accusatory and vindictive approach of many social justice activists and diversity trainers may actually have increased the desire and willingness of some white men to say and do un-PC things.”

Related: How David Brooks Created Donald Trump. “When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly.”

Update: Link to Edsall’s column should now be working.

YES. THIS. EXACTLY:  Victor Davis Hanson makes cogent observations on the “high IQs” of the establishment political class:

Turn on an evening cable show and ask which interviewer is married to which anchor on another channel, or which of the pundits are former politicos, or how many in the White House worked for Big News or are married or related to someone who does. How many pundits were advisers to political candidates or related to someone who was? How does Ben Rhodes do an interview on CBS News or George Stephanopoulos interview Hillary Clinton or a writer expound on the primaries when he is also an adviser to a particular campaign? The problem is not just that all this is incestuous or unethical, but that it blinds a tiny elite to what millions of quite different Americans value and experience.

Charles Murray recently wrote in anger, addressing those who would vote for Trump because “Hillary is even worse”: “I know that I am unlikely to persuade any of my fellow Establishmentarians to change their minds. But I cannot end without urging you to resist that sin to which people with high IQs (which most of you have) are unusually prone: Using your intellectual powers to convince yourself of something despite the evidence plainly before you. Just watch and listen to the man. Don’t concoct elaborate rationalizations. Just watch and listen.” . . .

Murray has a point that Trump’s crudity and buffoonery should be taken seriously, but when he says establishmentarians have “high IQs,” what exactly does he mean? Did a high IQ prevent an infatuated David Brooks (whom he quotes approvingly) from fathoming presidential success as if he were a sartorial seancer, from the crease of Senator Obama pants leg? What was the IQ of the presidential historian who declared Obama the smartest man ever to be elevated to the White House? . . . Or perhaps the conservative wit who once wrote that Obama has a “first-class temperament and a first-class intellect,” and that he is the rare politician who “writes his own books,” which were “first rate”?

Establishmentarian high IQs? The point is not to castigate past poor judgment, but to offer New Testament reminders about hubris and the casting of first stones — and why hoi polloi are skeptical of their supposed intellectual betters.

So how did a blond comb-over real-estate dealer destroy an impressive and decent Republican field and find himself near dead even with Hillary Clinton — to the complete astonishment, and later fury, of the Washington establishment? Simply because lots of people have become exhausted by political and media elites who have thought very highly of themselves — but on what grounds it has become increasingly impossible to figure out.

Indeed. If I hear one more of my conservative/libertarian “high IQ” colleagues (many of them long-time friends) denigrate Trump as stupid, racist, sexist or (I kid you not)  not “really” successful–I may puke.

One certainly may oppose Trump’s policies on a principled basis.  But to hear the right-of-center intelligentsia (who may be well-educated and perhaps even have high IQs, but are not necessarily intelligent) denigrate the presumptive GOP nominee–selected by We the People–using the same leftist tactics used to denigrate George W. Bush and many other conservative standard-bearers, is nauseating.

These “high IQ” members of the GOP intelligentsia simply cannot hide their disdain for ordinary Americans’ selection of a GOP nominee, yet they simultaneously claim that the GOP represents ordinary Americans’ values. The GOP intelligentsia is behaving like a delusional narcissist, reveling in its (false) superiority over the little people.

DAVID BROOKS WONDERS WHY PEOPLE DON’T LIKE HILLARY: “But the ‘public service’ is being a politician. Where did Brooks get the premise that people like politicians?”

MORAL NARCISSISM AND THE LEAST-GREAT GENERATION: Roger Simon has an excerpt of his new book, titled I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already, in the new issue of Commentary:

Whatever the case, the popularity of narcissism as a descriptive term for the behavior of our society is not a new phenomenon. As far back as 1979, Christopher Lasch published a now famous book The Culture of Narcissism that described the American behavioral patterns as largely narcissistic. According to Lasch, our family structure had produced a personality type consistent with “pathological narcissism.” We were constantly seeking attention from the outside world, making us a nation of insecure weaklings forever in search of validation to tell us we were alive, to give us a raison d’être. Lasch saw the radicals of the ’60s, like the Weather Underground, as manifestations of this pathology. He also cited the “personal growth” movements of the seventies—est, Rolfing, Hare Krishna, various forms of Buddhism, organic food, vegetarianism, and so forth. These belief systems and quasi ideologies continued to gain adherents during the ’80s and ’90s and on into the current century with writers like David Brooks and Charles Murray documenting how what was once youthful rebellion became the norms of the contemporary bourgeoisie. The Generation of ’68 and its followers had gone mainstream, transmogrifying radical symbols into specific forms of conspicuous consumption. Everything was smeared. A trip to Whole Foods in a Tesla became the equivalent of striking a blow against world hunger.

The election of Barack Obama was the apotheosis of this melding of lifestyle with political worldview. That he celebrated his victory in front of Grecian columns was symbolic in more ways than one. Narcissus was in the house—both on stage and in the audience. The “me” generation had found its perfect leader. Hope and change were never specified, because we all knew what he meant. How could it be otherwise? He was speaking, as was said in an earlier era, to “our crowd.” But our crowd had become everyone who saw himself as politically correct, even if we weren’t sure what that meant or implied. It sounded good. Whatever it was had to be true. Obama was cool and his adversaries were not. He was our image in the reflecting pool, preening in front of those Greek columns, nose slightly elevated.

When something obtains that much popular acceptance, one is tempted to think it is nonsense, mere cant, or at least overstated. Not true.

Read the whole thing; Roger’s new book will be available at Amazon and your local bookstore on June 14th. And if you’d like to meet Roger in person, he’ll be at Bullets & Bourbon in December in Texas, discussing his book in detail.

READING DAVID BROOKS IN ALTOONA: At Commonweal, Matthew Sitman, who grew up just outside Altoona, Pennsylvania (100 miles east of Pittsburgh) writes:

Blair County, where I was raised and where my parents still live, overwhelmingly went for Trump in the recent Pennsylvania primary, giving him 61 percent of the vote. A few neighboring counties delivered even larger margins of victory.

And as it happens, I was traveling back to this part of Pennsylvania on Friday to visit my parents when I read David Brooks’s latest column, in which he confesses he was woefully unprepared to understand the rise of Trump. Or rather, he simply doesn’t know the kind of people Trump appeals to:

I was surprised by Trump’s success because I’ve slipped into a bad pattern, spending large chunks of my life in the bourgeois strata — in professional circles with people with similar status and demographics to my own. It takes an act of will to rip yourself out of that and go where you feel least comfortable. But this column is going to try to do that over the next months and years. We all have some responsibility to do one activity that leaps across the chasms of segmentation that afflict this country.

At first I thought Brooks deserved some credit for this, and maybe he does: there seems to be a measure of regret expressed in this passage—and shouldn’t he be admired for his intellectual curiosity, for wanting to learn about the “other”? Perhaps. But as I sat in my uncomfortable bus seat and we rumbled along on Interstate 80, the column grated on me more and more. By the time I reached home, it seemed to me not just a typical, mildly annoying Brooks column, but an emblem of why those searching for what to do about Trump—especially on the right—have proven so disastrously ineffective.

It’s rather disturbing that it took a vulgar, authoritarian demagogue being on the brink of the Republican nomination for Brooks to realize that he might have intellectual and political blindspots when it comes to working-class people and others straining under the post-recession economy. Could he really be serious? The column was written in the faux-innocent style Brooks has perfected, treating a banal observation as a breakthrough. It baffles me that someone paid to observe the American political and cultural scene didn’t realize before the last few months just how many Americans were struggling, or that the fallout from the 2008 recession might generate a populist-tinged backlash.

Gee, wait ‘til Sitman discovers Pauline Kael. Seriously though, there’s a reason why Dana Loesch’s new book is titled, Flyover Nation: You Can’t Run a Country You’ve Never Been To. I can’t wait to read its review in the Times; if indeed the Gray Lady deigns to write about it all.

UPDATE (From Glenn): How David Brooks Created Donald Trump.

MICKEY KAUS: Why is Trump Overperforming His Polls? “Certainly with David Brooks, George Will, and others banishing Trump voters (‘tainted forever after’ … ‘quislings’) and others vowing to maintain blacklists, there are plenty of reasons for at least upscale Republicans to not want to confess Trump symphathies to strangers. I’m not saying this means Trump will be competitive with Hillary in the voting booths. But it seems wise to increase your margin of doubt about his poll numbers.”

Related: Kurt Schlichter: Looking Back On How Trump Beat Hillary Clinton.

LAME DUCK WATCH: WAPO COOS OVER ‘SLY’ AND ‘SELF-AWARE’ OBAMA, ‘OUR FIRST COMEDIAN-IN-CHIEF:’

One obvious sign liberal journalists are already missing Obama? Celebrating him as a comedian. Washington Post gossip Emily Heil is a big fan of his comedic stylings, as the headlines proved:

  • For presidential humor, Obama will be a hard act to follow” (Style section)
  • HE’S A REAL STAND-UP GUY: As he prepares for his final White House correspondents dinner, Obama has already demonstrated his knack for edgy, self-aware humor.” (Cover of the Express, the free Post commuter tabloid)
  • Our first comedian-in-chief: Sly and self-aware, Obama raises the bar for presidential humor.” (Express story inside)
  • “Barack Obama, the first alt-comedy president” (online headline)

So thanks to his joke writers, as Heil eventually admits, Obama is the presidential equivalent of Jon Stewart, the nation’s Troll In Chief. The Post can’t say it wasn’t warned; back in June of 2008, Karl Rove was quoted as saying, “Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.”

Naturally, during the summer of the Styrofoam columns, the Huffington Post blew its dog whistle at Rove’s comment.

And yet once again, as Mark Steyn wrote in March of 2009 after Christopher Buckley, David Brooks and the Economist all were forced to admit how badly they misread Obama (read: mislead potential voters), “The nuancey boys were wrong on Obama, and the knuckledragging morons were right.”

So right that Obama went from being “standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God” as then-Newsweek editor Evan Thomas orgiastically described him and “the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar,” as Rocco Landesman, Obama’s then-NEA president gushed, to being reduced to “Our first comedian-in-chief” – which apparently is meant to be a compliment.

‘TRUMP SUPPORTERS ARE UNEDUCATED:’ British journalist Tom Slater of the anti-PC Website Spiked “finds a fair bit of prejudice among anti-Trump activists in Long Island:”

There are plenty of reasons to dislike Donald Trump. He’s a crass opportunist, who, for all his talk of sticking it to the freedom-squishing status quo, has more than his fair share of authoritarian tendencies. But this protest in a sleepy New York suburb, and the wretching that Trump has sparked among the cosmopolitan classes nationwide, isn’t really about him. It’s about his supporters: the dumb rednecks who, Sally and Co tell us, know not what they do.

Trump may not go the distance at the Republican convention in July, but this fear and loathing of the masses is here to stay.

Read the whole thing.

There’s a reason why “this fear and loathing of the masses is here to stay” — it’s never gone away. It’s been the philosophy of the American left for over a century now, hence the title of Fred Siegel’s 2014 history of the American left, The Revolt Against the Masses, and his observation early on in the book that “The best short credo of liberalism came from the pen of the once canonical left-wing literary historian Vernon Parrington in the late 1920s. ‘Rid society of the dictatorship of the middle class.’”

The middle class is merely returning a long-overdue favor, at least until the full-on arrival of “The Coming Middle Class Anarchy.” In the meantime, as Glenn explored in USA Today a couple of weeks ago in a piece titled “How David Brooks created Donald Trump,” “The political establishment denounced bourgeois Tea Partiers. Now, they must face raucous working-class Trumpsters.”

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NO GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS:

Reagan agreed with these old conservatives about communism and other things. But he transformed their movement from a past- and loss-oriented movement to a future- and possibility-oriented one, based on a certain idea about America. As early as 1952 during a commencement address at William Woods College in Missouri, Reagan argued, ”I, in my own mind, have always thought of America as a place in the divine scheme of things that was set aside as a promised land.”

Reagan described America as a driving force through history, leading to the empire of liberty. He seemed to regard freedom’s triumph as a historical inevitability. He couldn’t look at mainstream American culture as anything other than the delightful emanation of this venture. He could never feel alienated from middle American life, or see it succumbing to a spiritual catastrophe.

So of course he was an optimist; he knew how the human story ended. While others regarded the Soviet Union as permanent, he couldn’t. ”My idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple and some would say simplistic. It is this: ‘We win and they lose,’ ” he once said.

—David Brooks, June 10th, 2004: “Reagan’s beliefs fueled his optimism.”

“David Brooks Praises Trump for Crushing the ‘Dying Husk’ of Reaganism.”

—Rick Moran, PJ Media, yesterday. As Rick writes, “Trump didn’t destroy the ‘dying husk’ of Reaganism. That’s because Reagan’s ideas are timeless. His basic message of limited government, individual liberty, and free markets have been with us since the Founding. Reagan only reminded us of their importance.”

And conversely, regarding today’s elites such as Brooks and the man in the oval office whose pants he creases, “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions,” as G.K. Chesterton once said. Most conservatives understand this intuitively; the fact that Brooks doesn’t speaks volumes.

AS THE DAVID BROOKS CROWD CLUCKS “HAVE YOU NO DECENCY?” HERE’S A USEFUL REMINDER: The Culture That Created Donald Trump Was Liberal, Not Conservative.

The man didn’t emerge, all at once and fully formed, from some hidden and benighted hollow in the American psyche. He’s been kicking around for 30 years or more, and he was promoted and schooled, made famous and made wealthy, by the same culture and economy that now reviles him, and finds his success so vexing.

After all, it wasn’t some Klan newsletter that first brought Trump to our attention: It was Time and Esquire and Spy. The Westboro Baptist Church didn’t give him his own TV show: NBC did. And his boasts and lies weren’t posted on Breitbart, they were published by Random House. He was created by people who learned from Andy Warhol, not Jerry Falwell, who knew him from galas at the Met, not fundraisers at Karl Rove’s house, and his original audience was presented to him by Condé Nast, not Guns & Ammo. He owes his celebrity, his money, his arrogance, and his skill at drawing attention to those coastal cultural gatekeepers — presumably mostly liberal — who first elevated him out of general obscurity, making him famous and rewarding him (and, not at all incidentally, themselves). . . .

If you think that sounds stupid and smug, imagine how it sounds to people out in the rest of the country. Liberals were sure the devil would come slouching out of Alabama or Texas, beating a bible and shouting about sodomy and sin. They didn’t expect him to be a businessman who lives on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. Rick Santorum was a threat, but your run-of-the-mill New York tycoon just couldn’t be, not in the same way — because even if the latter was unlikable, he was known, he was covered, he fell within a spectrum that the morning shows and entertainment press are comfortable with, much more so, anyway, than they are with what the slow learners among liberals still blithely call “rednecks.”

Want political leaders with the decorum of yesteryear? You’ll need a society with the decorum of yesteryear.

MY USA TODAY COLUMN: How David Brooks created Donald Trump: The political establishment denounced bourgeois Tea Partiers. Now, they must face raucous working-class Trumpsters.

UPDATE: On Facebook, Jerry Bowyer comments: “Weird how many people on the left who hate the authoritarian soft fascism of Trump somehow how manage to blame libertarian movements like the Tea Party. Weirder still, that the Tea Partiest candidate of all is basically the last man standing in Trump’s way.”

ANALYSIS: TRUE. What David Brooks Wrote About Trump Could Be Just As Easily Said of Obama.

Obama was a creation of the media, who set about in 2008 to convince America that a good-looking, youngish Chicago machine hack and failed community organizer who, like Johnny Bravo “fit the suit” (insert obligatory Brooks pants reference here) was the second coming of Lincoln, FDR and JFK all rolled into one and wound up, as Obama himself would say, believing their own bulls***. Trump has spent his life wallowing in that media and using it to advance his goals and extend his publicity. Like radioactivity spawning Godzilla, the DNC-MSM shouldn’t be surprised that their foul industrial output led to this point.

obama_trump_logos_8-2-15-1

“TOO PRIG TO FAIL:” Ace of Spades on David Brooks.

Read the whole thing.

Related:

Shot: “What David Brooks discovered about the rich on a $120,000 vacation.”

—Headline, the Washington Post, November 16, 2015.

Chaser: Flyover Nation: You Can’t Run a Country You’ve Never Been To.

—The title of Dana Loesch’s upcoming book on the insular existence and hauteur of the Ruling Class, their court stenographers, and bespoke trouser tailors.

FORMER WAPO LEGEND CARL BERNSTEIN INADVERTENTLY EXPLAINS TRUMP’S RISE.  Carl Bernstein Rejects Comparing Trump to ‘Principled’ Barry Goldwater: “I think Donald Trump is an authoritarian. He’s not an ideologue, he’s not a principled man in the way that Goldwater was….I think that the times are different and I think the people are altogether different,” Bernstein tells CNN’s Don Lemon. Earlier this week, as Mediaite notes, Bernstein “told CNN’s Brian Stelter that Trump is ‘a new kind of fascist in our culture’ with an ‘authoritarian demagogic point of view.’”

I’d much rather a proto-libertarian such as Barry Goldwater as president than a center-left celebrity candidate such as Trump. But to paraphrase the famous sign seen at Tea Party rallies in 2009 which read “It Doesn’t Matter What This Sign Says, You’ll Call It Racism Anyway,” it doesn’t matter who the GOP runs, you’ll call him a Nazi anyway. Celebrities from Louis CK to Sarah Silverman are pulling out all of the fascist references to Trump (Silverman even appeared with a brown uniform and tiny mustache to criticize Trump on Conan O’Brien’s show last week.) But no less a figure than Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News in 1964 insinuated that Goldwater the champion of small government, whose father was Jewish was a Nazi, as left-leaning Cronkite biographer Douglas Brinkley wrote in 2012:

As managing editor of the CBS Evening News, Cronkite seemed to relish pricking Goldwater from time to time for sport. In late July, he introduced a report from CBS correspondent Daniel Schorr, a hard-and-fast liberal working from Munich. With an almost tongue-in-cheek smile, Cronkite said, “Whether or not Senator Goldwater wins the nomination, he is going places, the first place being Germany.” Schorr then went on a tear, saying, “It looks as though Senator Goldwater, if nominated, will be starting his campaign in Bavaria, the center of Germany’s right wing.” The backstory was merely that Goldwater had accepted an invitation from Lieutenant General William Quinn for a quick holiday at Berchtesgaden, a U.S. Army recreational center in Germany. But Schorr made the takeaway point that Berchtesgaden was once “Hitler’s stomping ground.” Goldwater, trying to show off his NATO bona fides, had granted an interview with Der Spiegel in which he mentioned a possible trip to Germany soon. Some Democratic opposition researcher floated the idea that Goldwater was infatuated with the Nazis. It was ugly stuff.

Indeed it was; but then, every Republican presidential candidate, from Thomas Dewey (smeared as a Nazi by no less than Harry Truman) to the present will be attacked by the left in this fashion, no matter his temperament, or his small government, libertarian bona fides. Speaking of temperament, perhaps Bernstein would have preferred a more milquetoast CEO as president than Trump – say, Mitt Romney. But in 2012,  the Daily Beast ran one of Bernstein’s columns titled “Carl Bernstein on Mitt Romney’s Radicalism,” which, as Accuracy in Media noted at the time:

The article is based on anonymous sources who claim to be associated with the “moderate” wing of the GOP and are warning about the “crazy right” that might entice Mitt Romney to govern as an extremist as president. “Plainly put,” Bernstein says, “today’s Republican Party (and its Tea Party wing) represent the first bona fide radical political party to rise to dominance in Washington in nearly 100 years.”

At a time when we have a Democratic Party in power in the White House, led by a politician with links to communists and terrorists in Hawaii and Chicago, the Bernstein article has to be seen as ridiculous on its face. But Bernstein represents the mentality of much of the media who see the far-left orientation of the national Democratic Party as nothing unusual or worth commenting on.

Bernstein’s 2,100-word article is full of bizarre statements about Romney and the GOP.

Alluding to the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement, Bernstein writes, “It represents as extreme a shift in political philosophy as any of the radical ideologies that have prevailed in our history.”

Tea Party members oppose Big Government, excessive federal spending and debt. Bernstein is claiming that it is somehow “radical” to want to return to the founding principles of the United States and save America from financial bankruptcy and economic ruin. Who is the real radical?

To ask the question is to answer it. As Glenn noted earlier, in regards to David Brooks, “The Tea Party movement — which you also failed to understand, and thus mostly despised — was a bourgeois, well-mannered effort (remember how Tea Party protests left the Mall cleaner than before they arrived?) to fix America. It was treated with contempt, smeared as racist, and blocked by a bipartisan coalition of business-as-usual elites. So now you have Trump, who’s not so well-mannered, and his followers, who are not so well-mannered, and you don’t like it.”

Exit quote: “The lowest form of popular culture – lack of information, misinformation, disinformation, and a contempt for the truth or the reality of most people’s lives – has overrun real journalism. Today, ordinary Americans are being stuffed with garbage.”

Carl Bernstein, 1992. Choose the form of your destructor.

UPDATE: In his 1944 State of the Union address, FDR smeared the laissezfaire Coolidge era of the 1920s as “the spirit of fascism:”

One of the great American industrialists of our day—a man who has rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis-recently emphasized the grave dangers of “rightist reaction” in this Nation. All clear-thinking businessmen share his concern. Indeed, if such reaction should develop—if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called “normalcy” of the 1920′s—then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.

Classy stuff.

More: “In 1971, the year before the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon was described by his Democratic rival George McGovern as a warmonger like Hitler. ‘Except for Adolf Hitler’s extermination of the Jewish people, the American bombardment of defenseless peasants in Indochina is the most barbaric act of modern times,’ said McGovern. After the arrests of the five agents who broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters, McGovern said Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate break-in was ‘the kind of thing you expect under a person like Hitler.’”

THERE’S SOMETHING GOING ON HERE, BUT YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS, DO YOU, MR. BROOKS? “Trump voters are a coalition of the dispossessed. They have suffered lost jobs, lost wages, lost dreams. The American system is not working for them, so naturally they are looking for something else. Moreover, many in the media, especially me, did not understand how they would express their alienation. We expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough. For me, it’s a lesson that I have to change the way I do my job if I’m going to report accurately on this country.”

Well, David, you should get out more. You might also try reading InstaPundit regularly. But mostly, you owe a bigger apology than this.

The Tea Party movement — which you also failed to understand, and thus mostly despised — was a bourgeois, well-mannered effort (remember how Tea Party protests left the Mall cleaner than before they arrived?) to fix America. It was treated with contempt, smeared as racist, and blocked by a bipartisan coalition of business-as-usual elites. So now you have Trump, who’s not so well-mannered, and his followers, who are not so well-mannered, and you don’t like it.

ANOTHER RUBE SELF-IDENTIFIES: “Bill Press, a liberal radio and television host, has authored ‘Buyer’s Remorse,’ a distillation of the Obama years that comes down to ‘yes, but’…‘The transformative new era of leadership Obama promised never happened,’ Press laments. ‘His presidency looms as a huge opportunity wasted.’”

Sucker. Or as David Brooks once admitted, “I’m a sap, a specific kind of sap. I’m an Obama Sap,” but Press (and Brooks) are far from alone in that department.

ANN ALTHOUSE POINTS OUT David Brooks’ racist anti-Hispanic “dog whistle.”

NEW YORK TIMESMAN ENGAGES IN PROHIBITIONIST SLUT-SHAMING: David Brooks Likens Support for Cruz to Being a Promiscuous Drunk at Closing Time.

Funny, for a guy hired to be the New York Times’ token Republican, there sure aren’t many Republicans whom Brooks has ever supported.

IF HE HAD A MIND, HE MIGHT BE DANGEROUS: David Brooks is still in love with the crease in Obama’s pants.

BEN SHAPIRO on How Attitude Trumped Conservative Thought:

On Monday, grassroots Republican favorite Donald Trump repeated the phrase when an audience member called Ted Cruz a “p—-.” He came to this conclusion after determining that Cruz wasn’t sufficiently gung-ho about waterboarding possible terrorists. Asked to define conservatism at the last Republican debate, Trump stated, “I think it’s a person who doesn’t want to take overly risks. I think that’s a good thing.”

On Tuesday, establishment Republican favorite columnist David Brooks of The New York Times wrote a column called “I Miss Barack Obama.” In it, he pilloried Senators Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and lamented that Obama “radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I’m beginning to miss.” In October, Brooks defined conservatism thusly: “conservatism stands for intellectual humility, a belief in steady, incremental change, a preference for reform rather than revolution, a respect for hierarchy, precedence, balance and order, and a tone of voice that is prudent, measured and responsible.”

Neither of these definitions are correct, of course. But the fact that Trump and Brooks largely agree on the definition of conservatism while fighting each other tooth and nail demonstrates why conservatism is losing.

Read the whole thing, though missing from the article is the damage done by George W. Bush; as good a man as he personally is, the notion of “compassionate conservatism” (read: “big government conservatism”) and statements such as  “We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move” (ditto) did much to damage the brand of conservatism. They led inexorably — or perhaps sprang from — what Shapiro describes as the idea that “At some point, Republicans forgot that their job was to determine the best face for a conservative philosophy, and instead substituted the face for the philosophy. The conservatism simply fell away.”

SHORTER DAVID BROOKS: Barack Obama is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life. And his pants creases are perfect.

Oh, and did you know, “The first and most important of these is basic integrity. The Obama administration has been remarkably scandal-free. Think of the way Iran-contra or the Lewinsky scandals swallowed years from Reagan and Clinton. We’ve had very little of that from Obama. He and his staff have generally behaved with basic rectitude.”

Oh the fun we’re all going to have when Brooks discovers Fast & Furious, the IRS Scandal, “Richard Windsor,” and the ramifications of the deal with Iran sometime in February of 2017.

Plus it’s fun watching Brooks contradict himself in his conclusion:

No, Obama has not been temperamentally perfect. Too often he’s been disdainful, aloof, resentful and insular. But there is a tone of ugliness creeping across the world, as democracies retreat, as tribalism mounts, as suspiciousness and authoritarianism take center stage.

Obama radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I’m beginning to miss, and that I suspect we will all miss a bit, regardless of who replaces him.

Geez, David — Maureen Dowd already warned you what could happen when you break into her stash box.

Related: Joe Wilson vindicated.

More: Five Huge Problems with David Brooks’ ‘I Miss Obama’ Puff Piece.

MAYBE THERE IS ONE, AND YOU WEREN’T INVITED: David Brooks: It’s Time For A Republican Conspiracy.

Or maybe it’s a conservative insurgency. In which case, Brooks definitely wasn’t invited.

DAVID BROOKS, IDIOT. Because Cruz kept a repeat offender in prison, Brooks says he’s not a good Christian. “The sad truth is that pundits, the secular public, and all too many Christians confuse ‘nice’ with ‘Christian.’ . . . Anger, by itself, is not a sign of unrighteousness, and it is quite telling that Brooks’s big attack piece relies on an extraordinarily misleading characterization of a single Supreme Court case. If Cruz is so ‘pagan’ — so ‘Mephistophelian’ — then surely examples abound. If they do, then share them. If not, in attacking Cruz for his tone with language that exceeds anything that Cruz has said even about his worst political enemies, Brooks isn’t a defender of Christian charity — he’s a hypocrite.”

As Limbaugh says, they hate Trump, but they fear Cruz. This sort of behavior illustrates how much.

VIDEO: Phil Robertson locks down the south for Ted Cruz.

Related: David Brooks does his part as well to help Cruz nail down conservative votes.

 

JAMES TARANTO: Brooks Borks Cruz:

Yesterday we had a mischievous thought: What if Donald Trump, on the eve of the Iowa caucuses, were to announce (or merely suggest) that if elected, he would nominate Ted Cruz to the next vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court? Such a move would give some Cruz supporters a reason to switch while reassuring other conservatives nervous about the soundness of a President Trump’s judicial nominees.

Trump could even use the occasion to reinforce his current Cruz-directed mischief. After all, nobody can claim that Cruz’s Canadian birth would pose an obstacle to a Supreme Court appointment. Several early justices were born in England and vicinity; Justice Felix Frankfurter was a naturalized immigrant from Vienna; and Justice David Brewer was born as far away as Turkey.

Is David Brooks thinking along similar lines? We ask because his New York Times column today looks an awful lot like a pre-emptive borking.

Read the whole thing.

NEW YORK TIMES USEFUL IDIOT DAVID BROOKS: TED CRUZ ISN’T JESUS-Y ENOUGH AT WORK:

Cruz’s speeches are marked by what you might call pagan brutalism. There is not a hint of compassion, gentleness and mercy. Instead, his speeches are marked by a long list of enemies, and vows to crush, shred, destroy, bomb them. When he is speaking in a church the contrast between the setting and the emotional tone he sets is jarring.

Of course, if his speeches — or even those of his mentors — really were filled with “pagan brutalism,” Brooks would be a true admirer of Cruz and/or his pants.

Related: Four Problems With Media Confusion Over Ted Cruz’s Quoting Of Scripture.

I HOPE WE’RE NOT TOO MESSIANIC, OR A TRIFLE TOO SATANIC: PBS: Ted Cruz and His Father Are ‘Satanic.’

They may be onto something — not fair for Davids Corn and Brooks to drag his dad into it, but Ted certainly knows his Alinsky, almost as well as Hillary and Obama…

BROADWAY BABIES SAY IT’S MORNING IN AMERICA: Mark Steyn, who knows a thing or two about theater and stagecraft, reviews Donald Trump’s rally in Steyn’s backyard, the perilously blue (David Brooks dubbed it “latte town” 20 years ago) Burlington, Vermont:

Trump has no prompters. He walks out, pulls a couple of pieces of folded paper from his pocket, and then starts talking. Somewhere in there is the germ of a stump speech, but it would bore him to do the same poll-tested focus-grouped thing night after night, so he basically riffs on whatever’s on his mind. This can lead to some odd juxtapositions: One minute he’s talking about the Iran deal, the next he detours into how Macy’s stock is in the toilet since they dumped Trump ties. But in a strange way it all hangs together: It’s both a political speech, and a simultaneous running commentary on his own campaign.

It’s also hilarious. I’ve seen no end of really mediocre shows at the Flynn in the last quarter-century, and I would have to account this the best night’s entertainment I’ve had there with the exception of the great jazz singer Dianne Reeves a few years back. He’s way funnier than half the stand-up acts I’ve seen at the Juste pour rires comedy festival a couple of hours north in Montreal. And I can guarantee that he was funnier than any of the guys trying their hand at Trump Improv night at the Vermont Comedy Club a couple of blocks away. He has a natural comic timing.

Just to be non-partisan about this, the other day I was listening to Obama’s gun-control photo-op at the White House, and he thanked Gabby Giffords, by explaining that her husband Mark’s brother is an astronaut in outer space and he’d called just before Mark’s last meeting at the White House but, not wishing to disturb the President, Mark didn’t pick up. “Which made me feel kind of bad,” said the President. “That’s a long-distance call.” As I was driving along, I remember thinking how brilliantly Obama delivered that line. He’s not usually generous to others and he’s too thin-skinned to be self-deprecating with respect to himself, but, when he wants to get laughs, he knows how to do it. Trump’s is a different style: He’s looser, and more freewheeling. He’s not like Jeb – he doesn’t need writers, and scripted lines; he has a natural instinct for where the comedy lies. He has a zest for the comedy of life.

To be sure, some of the gags can be a little – what’s the word? – mean-spirited. The performance was interrupted by knots of protesters. “Throw ’em out!” barked Trump, after the first chants broke out. The second time it happened, he watched one of the security guys carefully picking up the heckler’s coat. “Confiscate their coats,” deadpanned Trump. “It’s ten below zero outside.” Third time it happened, he extended his coat riff: “We’ll mail them back to them in a couple of weeks.” On MSNBC, they apparently had a discussion on how Trump could be so outrageous as to demand the confiscation of private property. But in showbusiness this is what is known as a “joke”. And in the theatre it lands: everyone’s laughing and having a ball.

Plus this:

The headline in Friday’s local paper read: “BURLINGTON TRUMPED”. That’s what his fans liked. In the liberal heart of a liberal state, the supporters streaming out of the Flynn Theatre, waving genially to the social-justice doofuses across the way, couldn’t recall a night like it. Not in Vermont. In New Hampshire, sure. In South Carolina. But not in Vermont. It felt good to be taking it to the other side’s turf. And they’d like a lot more of it between now and November.

As Kathy Shaidle writes in her link to Steyn’s article, “I’d add ‘read the whole thing’ but you won’t be able to stop anyhow…”

DAVID BROOKS ON OBAMA, COMPASSION, AND THE REFUGEE CRISIS:

For Democrats, I think there’s a sense of responsibility here. You know, President Obama waxed self-righteous about the Republican bill and the Republican behavior, but he’s made a series of cold and, to me, amoral decisions over the past five years to allow this genocide. And maybe they were the right decisions, but they were not moral decisions. They were Machiavelli and Realpolitik decisions not to get involved.

That’s why he’s trying so hard to paint the Republicans as meanies.

I’D BET THEY’RE ASLEEP IN NEW YORK. I’D BET THEY’RE ASLEEP ALL OVER AMERICA: “Could Paris Happen Here?”

—Headline yesterday in the Times.

The New York Times.

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Related: “It’s not the most poorly timed NYT article ever, but this David Brooks article — ‘My $120,000 Vacation’ — was published yesterday,” Ann Althouse writes. “It got me thinking back to September 11, 2001, a day when I spent the morning reading the paper NYT delivered to my doorstep. I calmly read it for an hour or two before setting off for work, not knowing what those who used TV or radio in the morning already knew. What was in the paper that morning? Maybe you remember: ‘No Regrets for a Love Of Explosives; In a Memoir of Sorts, a War Protester Talks of Life With the Weathermen.'”

DAVID BROOKS GONNA DAVID BROOKS. “[T]hey were socially and intellectually unpretentious. They treated the crew as friends and equals and not as staff. Nobody was trying to prove they were better informed or more sophisticated than anybody else. There were times, in fact, when I almost wished there had been a little more pretense and a little more intellectual and spiritual ambition.”

Of course you did. And better pants-leg creases. Because those are the real signifiers.

DAVID BROOKS VERSUS THE PLEBES: WHAT IS IT ABOUT DAVID BROOKS THAT MAKES HIM SUCH AN UPPER-CLASS TWIT?

Well, other than his would-be ability to read a man’s presidential aspirations and character through his trouser creases, of course.

DEMS’ REVOLUTION IS ALREADY HERE: “Near the end of the debate, former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia said he has a great deal of admiration for Sanders — a self-described progressive, socialist and democratic socialist — but also said: ‘Bernie, I don’t think the revolution’s going to come. And I don’t think the Congress is going to pay for a lot of this stuff.’ Wrong. The revolution has come. And Congress won’t pay for it. Taxpayers will.”

Usually during election years when Democrats believe they have a serious shot at winning the White House, they cloak their socialism with something far more reasonable sounding. Jimmy Carter ran against the DC establishment as a post-Watergate reformer. Bill Clinton excoriated George H.W. Bush for raising taxes and ran to the right of Papa Bush on several other issues. Obama was given a bit of a pass because many assumed his socialist rhetoric was merely boob bait for the bobos (to mash up Pat Moynihan and David Brooks), and that once in office, he would govern following the relatively successful centrist model of Bill Clinton. (Won’t get fooled again.)

What does it say about the Democrats when they’re really letting their socialist freak flag so blatantly high this time around?

NYT’S ‘CONSERVATIVE’ DAVID BROOKS: ACTUAL CONSERVATIVES ARE ‘DANGEROUS.’

And don’t even get him started on how lame their trouser creases are.

DONALD TRUMP AND THE DECLINE OF AMERICA’S MORAL ECOLOGY, as explored by Paul Mirengoff of Power Line, who writes:

Peter Wehner writes about the “cultural and moral context that allows someone like [Donald] Trump – narcissistic, crude, obsessed with wealth and fame, and who has never felt the need to ask God for forgiveness* – to emerge.” Pete believes that “it is hardly a coincidence that Donald Trump shot to the top of the polls in a nation that celebrates the Kardashians.”

I agree.

Pete ties his discussion of the cultural and moral context that fuels Trump’s campaign to David Brooks’ recent book, The Road to Character. According to Brooks:

Each society creates its own moral ecology. A moral ecology is a set of norms, assumptions, beliefs and habits of behavior and an institutionalized set of moral demands that emerge organically. Our moral ecology encourages us to be a certain sort of person.

Over the past several decades we have built a moral ecology around the Big Me, around the belief in a golden figure inside. This has led to a rise in narcissism and self-aggrandizement.

And the rise of toadying establishment stenographers who believe that some men are destined for the White House based upon the sharpness of their trouser creases.

In other words, America’s moral ecology didn’t collapse overnight with the arrival of The Donald to the campaign trail earlier this year:

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* But to the best of our knowledge, never prayed in a church led by a pastor shouting “God damn America.

UNEXPECTEDLY:  Vermont — The Land of Bernie — Is Seeing a Mass Exodus of College Aged Students Because There Are No Jobs.

But there are plenty of ways to kill the pain: “Heroin epidemic hits Vermont community hard,” CBS reported last month.

David Brooks, call your office — it just might be time to update that “Latte Town” thesis.

THE PRISON PROBLEM: A problem with prosecutors, or something else?

Pfaff’s theory is that it’s the prosecutors. District attorneys and their assistants have gotten a lot more aggressive in bringing felony charges. Twenty years ago they brought felony charges against about one in three arrestees. Now it’s something like two in three. That produces a lot more plea bargains and a lot more prison terms.

I asked Pfaff why prosecutors are more aggressive. He’s heard theories. Maybe they are more political and they want to show toughness to raise their profile to impress voters if they run for future office. Maybe the police are bringing stronger cases. Additionally, prosecutors are usually paid by the county but prisons by the state, so prosecutors tend not to have to worry about the financial costs of what they do.

Pfaff says there’s little evidence so far to prove any of these theories, since the prosecutorial world is largely a black box. He also points out that we have a radically decentralized array of prosecutors, with some elected and some appointed. Changing their behavior cannot be done with one quick fix.

Well, limits on overcharging and plea bargaining, and empowering juries, might help. I have some suggestions here.

Meanwhile, there’s another possible explanation:

In the 1970s, we let a lot of people out of mental institutions. Over the next decades we put a lot of people into prisons. But the share of people kept out of circulation has been strangely continuous. In the real world, crime, lack of education, mental health issues, family breakdown and economic hopelessness are all intertwined.

I wonder if Fox Butterfield has any thoughts on this?

WHEN YOU’VE LOST DAVID BROOKS. . .

Wars, military or economic, are measured by whether you achieved your stated objectives. By this standard the U.S. and its allies lost the war against Iran, but we were able to negotiate terms that gave only our partial surrender, which forces Iran to at least delay its victory. There have now been three big U.S. strategic defeats over the past several decades: Vietnam, Iraq and now Iran.

Two thirds of which were lost by the man Brooks determined to be worthy to be president only a few months into his first term as senator based upon the sharpness of his trouser creases.

EARLIER: “If I told you in 2008 that Barack Obama would…you’d have thought me a conspiracy theorist.”

FROM BORING TO BAFFLING: Theodore Dalrymple on The Economist:

The anonymity of the articles was intended to create the illusion that the magazine spoke from nothing so vulgar as a perspective, but rather from some Olympian height from which only the whole truth and nothing but the truth could be descried. It is the saving grace of every such magazine that no one remembers what he read in it the week before. Only by the amnesia of its readers can a magazine retain its reputation for perspicacity.

I found its style dull, too. How was it that correspondents from Lima to Limassol, from Cairo to Kathmandu, wrote in precisely the same fashion, as if everything that happened everywhere was fundamentally the same? Walter Bagehot, son-in-law of the founder of The Economist and its most famous editor, was a brilliant prose stylist and a wonderfully witty literary critic, among many other things; but The Economist has long been about as amusing as a speech by David Cameron. Its prose was the literary equivalent of IKEA furniture, prefabricated according to a manual of style; it tried to combine accessibility with judiciousness and arrived only at portentousness.

Who now reads it, and what for? I suppose there is a type of functionary who does not want to be caught out in ignorance of the latest political developments in Phnom Penh, or the supposed reasons for the latest uprising in Ouagadougou. The Economist is intellectual seriousness for middle management and MBAs. To be seen with it is a sign of belonging to, and of identifying with, a certain caste.

See also: the election of 2008, which the Economist went all in to manufacture, and continued to run worshipful covers of Obama posing Ever So Seriously in the years since. But as Mark Steyn wrote in 2009, when the bloom was first rubbing off the era of Hopenchange:

This is the point: The nuancey boys were wrong on Obama, and the knuckledragging morons were right. There is no post-partisan centrist “grappling” with the economy, only a transformative radical willing to make Americans poorer in the cause of massive government expansion. At some point, The Economist, Messrs Brooks, Buckley & Co are going to have to acknowledge this. If they’re planning on spending the rest of his term tutting that his management style is obstructing the effective implementation of his centrist agenda, it’s going to be a long four years.

And for the Economist (and the similarly corporatist Bloomberg “Unexpectedly” Business) the “fun” continues, as the blinders never came off.

(Found via Kathy Shaidle.)

DAVID BROOKS, HOUSE CONSERVATIVE FOR A CERTAIN DEMOGRAPHIC, takes on Ta-Nehisi Coates, House Black for that same demographic, generating considerable discussion within that demographic. For the rest of us, meh. But they are equally authentic in their roles.

VERMONT STONERS HARDEST HIT: “Vermont residents might have to go hungry — or drive into New Hampshire, upstate New York, or even Boston, for food — because of their state’s new GMO (genetically modified organisms) labeling law that takes effect July 1, 2016. At the very least, they might have to say goodbye to an American icon of corporate cuisine creationism that contains not one drop of nutrition, the Twinkie.”

Remember during the Clinton era when David Brooks was describing Vermont as being “relatively apolitical?” Good times, good times.

THIS DAVID BROOKS COLUMN ON “CAMPUS CRUSADERS” misses a key point. These aren’t good, well-meaning people who have just gone a bit too far. They’re awful, nasty people using the excuse of “social justice” to justify indulging base desires of power and control. Awful, nasty, horrible people who should be recognized for what they are, denounced for what they are, and shamed for what they are. Because what they are is evil.

YOU OVERTURN BOURGEOIS SOCIAL CONVENTIONS, THIS IS WHAT YOU GET:

David’s mother was basically absent. “All her boyfriends have been nuts,” he said. “I never really got to see my mom that much.” His dad dropped out of school, dated several woman with drug problems and is now in prison. David went to seven different elementary schools. He ended up under house arrest, got a girl pregnant before she left him for a drug addict.

Kayla’s mom married an abusive man but lost custody of their kids to him when they split. Her dad married a woman with a child but left her after it turned out the child was fathered by her abusive stepfather. Kayla grew up as one of five half-siblings from three relationships until her parents split again and coupled with others.

Elijah grew up in a violent neighborhood and saw a girl killed in a drive-by shooting when he was 4. He burned down a lady’s house when he was 13. He goes through periods marked by drugs, clubbing and sex but also dreams of being a preacher. “I just love beating up somebody,” he told a member of Putnam’s team, “and making they nose bleed and just hurting them and just beating them on the ground.”

See, educated upper-middle-class people can get away with flouting bourgeois conventions, but lower class people tend not to do as well, and don’t have the reserves of financial and social capital to draw on when they get into trouble.