On the Political Ennui of David Brooks by Queer Atheist

Mr. Brooks begins his New York Times essay of July 31 2012 Dullest Campaign Ever by paraphrasing the Reagan speech writer and the Wall Street Journal's columnist Peggy Noonan: the Presidential campaign is inconsequential and boring. Ms. Noonan exemplifies, for me, the tone deafness and self-congratulation Modern American Conservatism, pre and post Reagan. As a writer of speeches attuned the the central conceits of that conservatism: Free Market economics, the myth of white victim-hood, the evils of socialism, indeed, even a mild form of social democracy, Ms. Noonan has been an adroit phrase maker. One thinks of the usable political kitsch of 'morning in American', although I don't have knowledge that this is her phrase. Yet no one, who has seen Ms. Noonan opine on television, or read her newspaper column can think that this is a first rate political thinker. She is an opinionator destined to remain superficial, at best. But Mr. Brooks uses her comment as prop for his cliched chatter about his own boredom. Which launches his self-serving ideological line that both the Democrats and the Republicans are guilty of more that just producing the heavy weight of his boredom. Here is just one egregious example of his political dishonesty:

Instead of saying something new, now they just try to boost turnout within their own demographic niches and suppress turnout in the other guy’s niches.”

Voter suppression laws have been passed in 14 states of the union. All these states are controlled by Republicans. It is an inconvenient truth that Mr. Brooks alludes to, which isn't quite a lie, but mimics that rhetorical entity with disturbing fidelity.As to the campaign being boring, just look at Mitt Romney, a prime example of stupid straight white boy culture. He cannot speak, on any subject, without making a fool of himself. On just the level of the ability to produce cringing laughter, Mr. Romney beats his sclerotic Republican antecedents: Bob Dole, Bush The Elder, Bush The Younger, John McCain, Newt Gingrich. The list is long. Of Mr. Brooks' nine points of complaint: the critical reader of his essay will approach his complaints with a degree of care, as they are deeply immersed in the public vocabulary of his idiosyncratic Neo-Liberalism, that defines itself as post Reagan Republican Conservatism. Mr. Brooks adopts the posture of public scold, in the matter of defending the practice of serious debate about substantial issues, expressed as speeches and position papers that lend the circus of American politics a degree of intellectual and ideological weight. One might simply conjecture that Romney might be an unsafe wager, when it comes to the substance that is the object of  Mr. Brooks' nearly plaintive nostalgia. 

Queer Atheist

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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