David Brooks on Trump, in two installments, a comment by Political Observer

In his first polemic against Trump, titled ‘The Governing Cancer of Our Time’ ( Brooks has a gift for the pretentious and the hyperbolic!) Mr. Brooks takes a wide and distant shot of American Political life, to use a cinematic expression: a close-up would reveal too much politically inconvenient detail. But in this argumentative fragment, yet he refers to a certain set of political actors, the Tea Party and refers to another set of those actors as ‘not exclusive to the right’ :’- best exemplified by the Tea Party but not exclusive to the right-‘. Perhaps this is a reference to Alan Grayson, the absent Dennis Kucinich or even New Dealer Elizabeth Warren? Compare these three  examples to a House and Senate populated with Republican Nihilists. All the rational ‘Conservatives’ have been unceremoniously purged. This wide and distant shot is rhetorically serviceable, to political generalizations, that elides from consideration political history in its fullest expression, less susceptible to blatantly ideological interpretations not to speak of imperatives.

‘Over the past generation we have seen the rise of a group of people who are against politics. These groups — best exemplified by the Tea Party but not exclusive to the right — want to elect people who have no political experience. They want “outsiders.” They delegitimize compromise and deal-making. They’re willing to trample the customs and rules that give legitimacy to legislative decision-making if it helps them gain power.’


In his second installment titled’ Donald Trump, the Great Betrayer’ Mr. Brooks constructs an indictment of Trump as an opportunist, a greedy unscrupulous crook of a Capitalist.Should we compare this essay with his lukewarm support for Vulture Capitalist Mitt Romney?

The bottom line is this: If Obama wins, we’ll probably get small-bore stasis; if Romney wins, we’re more likely to get bipartisan reform. Romney is more of a flexible flip-flopper than Obama. He has more influence over the most intransigent element in the Washington equation House Republicans. He’s more likely to get big stuff done.

One of Mr. Brooks’ many rhetorical guises is as moral/political scold and wise tribal elder, that he lapses into at the turn of a phrase. The ‘as if’ here is that Mr. Brooks portrays himself as an incarnation of Adam Smith’s impartial spectator, rather than as a  committed partisan in the Conservative politicking  of post war America.

‘The burden of responsibility now falls on Republican officials, elected and nonelected, at all levels. For years they have built relationships in their communities, earned the right to be heard. If they now feel that Donald Trump would be a reckless and dangerous president, then they have a responsibility to their country to tell those people the truth, to rally all their energies against this man.

Since the start of his campaign Trump has had more energy and more courage than his opponents. Maybe that’s now changing.’

Political Observer

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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