David Brooks scolds candidate Mitt Romney by Political Cynic

David Brooks little missive to candidate Romney is a mild scolding,
for being so stupid as to so forthrightly argue, in front of a
private dinner of supporters his flagrant class and political
prejudices, about a large number of Americans. But no regular reader
of Mr. Brook’s essays can miss, unless through willful ignorance or
bad faith, that the first three paragraphs of his column are a defense
of that very position: which places Mr. Brooks squarely in the Romney
political corner. And merely confirms my conviction that Mr. Brooks is
a two bit moralist who can’t pass up an opportunity to lecture both
the candidate and his readers. No journalistic opportunity should be
wasted. And the title of the essay ‘Thurston Howell Romney’ is pure
pop culture reference that sets off this propaganda:
“In 1980, about 30 percent of Americans received some form of
government benefits. Today, as Nicholas Eberstadt of the American
Enterprise Institute has pointed out, about 49 percent do.
In 1960, government transfers to individuals totaled $24 billion. By
2010, that total was 100 times as large. Even after adjusting for
inflation, entitlement transfers to individuals have grown by more
than 700 percent over the last 50 years. This spending surge,
Eberstadt notes, has increased faster under Republican administrations
than Democratic ones.
There are sensible conclusions to be drawn from these facts. You could
say that the entitlement state is growing at an unsustainable rate and
will bankrupt the country. You could also say that America is spending
way too much on health care for the elderly and way too little on
young families and investments in the future.”
“Entitlement” is the code word for dismantling both Social Security
and Medicare and the notorious voucher system that will be the Free
Market successor to these two very successful programs. It is a
reiteration of the Mr. Brooks program of ‘entitlement reform’: it is
his tiresome ideological obsession.
What Mr. Romney and other Republicans believe is that the American
nation is divided into ‘producers’ and ‘drones’ a Randian principle
last articulated in a national context by the Political No-Nothing
Alan Simpson, co-chair of the Simpson-Bowles Commission, on Social
“We’ve reached a point now where it’s like a milk cow with 310 million tits!”

But here in the last of the quoted paragraphs is the ‘sensible
conclusions to be drawn from these facts.’ Ah, the indispensability of
the Brooks moralizing political rhetoric: we are headed for disaster,
repent or ye shall know the wraith of my poorly argued economic
determinism. It’s almost theological in it’s reach! But the real
loathsome political hypocrisy awaits: ‘ You could also say that
America is spending way too much on health care for the elderly and
way too little on young families and investments in the future.’ Mr.
Brooks is not concerned with the ‘elderly’ or with ‘young families’ or
‘investments in the future’, it’s still about a contemporary and
retrospective defense of the failed and failing ‘Free Market
Mythology’, the only real idea of American Conservatism, in it’s
various iterations. If you are like me, after so much
self-congratulatory and self-affirming chatter, it begins to annoy and
irritate, until we reach the final paragraph:
“Personally, I think he’s a kind, decent man who says stupid things
because he is pretending to be something he is not — some sort of
cartoonish government-hater. But it scarcely matters. He’s running a
depressingly inept presidential campaign. Mr. Romney, your entitlement
reform ideas are essential, but when will the incompetence stop?”
‘Mr. Romney, your entitlement reform ideas are essential,but when will
the incompetence stop?’ Here is the essential ‘truth’ of Mr. Brooks’
essay and mild scolding of candidate Romney.
Political Cynic

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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