David Brooks, self-appointed Public Moralist, talks about ‘the we’ , after the Mueller Report. Political Cynic scoffs!

Who is ‘the we’ that Mr. Brooks makes the target of his admonition, delivered in his sabbath address to the American Congregation? This ‘we’ is described here:

And what about the rest of us? What about all the hours we spent speculating about the Mueller report, fantasizing about the Trump ruin or watching and reading speculation about these things? What about the superstructure of scandal politics we have built and live in today?

He’s really talking about the political experts ,now called Technocrats, synonymous with himself ,and his fellows scribblers, not to forget the television/internet corporate hirelings, who comment in the Corporate Media on politics.  But back to an earlier part of his essay for context :

Maybe it’s time to declare a national sabbath. Maybe it’s time to step back from the scandalmongering and assess who we are right now.

Democrats might approach this moment with an attitude of humility and honest self-examination. It’s clear that many Democrats made grievous accusations against the president that are not supported by the evidence. It’s clear that people like Beto O’Rourke and John Brennan owe Donald Trump a public apology. If you call someone a traitor and it turns out you lacked the evidence for that charge, then the only decent thing to do is apologize.

Republicans and the Sean Hannity-style Trumpians might also approach this moment with an attitude of humility and honest self-examination. For two years they’ve been calling the Mueller investigation a witch hunt. For two years they’ve been spreading the libel that there are no honest brokers in Washington. It’s all a deep-state conspiracy, a swamp. They should apologize for peddling the sort of deep cynicism that undermines our country’s institutions.

Mr. Brooks’ ‘evolution’ from war mongering Neo-Conservative and Free Market partisan – the collapse of each of these political delusions led him to what used to called, in another time, an agonizing reappraisal. His political self-rescue took the form of an ‘evolution’ towards the preferred and more wide-ranging status as Political Moralist. He morphed into a combination of a preacher and teacher. David Frum, a fellow Neo-Conservative, ‘evolution’ ,in the face of these failures was to become a Wise Republican Elder. The only question that remains for the attentive reader, is why would Brooks resort to the religious practice of Sabbath to frame his  political intervention?

This preamble is to provide a context for Mr. Brooks’ admonition to both the Republicans and New Democrats about their possible strategies that each might adopt in the wake of the Mueller Report. This has about it the political quaintness of Frank Capra’s  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and its star Jimmy Stewart, who once represented American Virtue in the American Imagination, crafted by Hollywood. Brooks adopts the guise of the political naif as cover for his cynicism wedded to opportunism.

The patient reader eventually comes to Mr. Brooks’ definition of that ‘we’, that evolves  rhetorically into ‘the rest of us‘:

And what about the rest of us? What about all the hours we spent speculating about the Mueller report, fantasizing about the Trump ruin or watching and reading speculation about these things? What about the superstructure of scandal politics we have built and live in today?

I’ll end my comment  with this insight offered by Brooks, that of a political hack pretending to some kind of nonexistent wisdom.

It’s all a wonderful game. You don’t have to know anything about a boring policy subject like economics, poverty or foreign affairs. You can have a long career in politics and media by simply treating public life as an arena of life-or-death gossip.

Political Cynic

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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

 

 

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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