The 7th Sign: David Brooks in the Times, telling the truth about Romney
This is just remarkable. And it may be the 7th Sign.
I try not to read David Brooks any more than I have to because every time I do I wind up wanting to throw things. Through the years he has established himself as one of the most reliably disingenuous, dishonest propagandists on the GOP payroll, a fork-tongued weasel who can’t say hello without lying. And BAM! Here, without warning or precedent, he smacks us in the lips us with the truest thing I’ve read in days.
The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor.
Romney’s comments also reveal that he has lost any sense of the social compact. In 1987, during Ronald Reagan’s second term, 62 percent of Republicans believed that the government has a responsibility to help those who can’t help themselves. Now, according to the Pew Research Center, only 40 percent of Republicans believe that.
The Republican Party, and apparently Mitt Romney, too, has shifted over toward a much more hyperindividualistic and atomistic social view — from the Reaganesque language of common citizenship to the libertarian language of makers and takers. There’s no way the country will trust the Republican Party to reform the welfare state if that party doesn’t have a basic commitment to provide a safety net for those who suffer for no fault of their own.
A comment from a trusted (and extremely progressive) colleague in a Facebook exchange last night suggests that Brooks isn’t as bad as I think he is, and I’ll be honest – after my first few exposures to him several years ago I made it a point never to read him if I could help it. The few times I have violated that guideline have done nothing but reinforce my perception. But I freely admit that it’s possible Brooks may have gotten better and I’ve missed it. In any case, you really need to read this column because for the most part it’s dead on the money.
Of course, this is David Brooks we’re talking about, and the truth feels so alien rolling about in his mouth that even when he tries to be honest a little bit of lie is bound to seep out. Take this bit of silliness, for instance. Describing Mitt:
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.
Well, that’s one theory, I guess. The better theory, and the one supported by the evidence of things like his behavior at Bain, suggest that he’s a smirking sociopath with precisely zero human empathy. And there’s also this:
It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture. Americans haven’t become childlike worshipers of big government. On the contrary, trust in government has declined. The number of people who think government spending promotes social mobility has fallen.
Yes, this is true in its way, but I’d feel better if he’d acknowledge why it is so, that it is the result of a 40-year campaign of ideological warfare waged by the hyperwealthy using the engines of conservative “think tanks” and the corporatization and co-option of the media and not, as he’d clearly like you to believe, a natural function deriving from people figuring out that gummit is evil.
Still, by David Brooks standards this op-ed is eerily close to runaway truthfulness, and when we start seeing this level of verity from him we know just how well and truly fucked the Romney campaign really is.
Image Credit: NY Times