Saturday, January 21, 2012

Memo to New York Times: We Are No Longer Asking You to Fire Conservative Columnist David Brooks – Now We Are Begging You

Is There Anything We Can Do or Say to Get the NYT to Get This Horrible Writer Off Its Op-Ed Pages?

Earlier The Dismal Political Economist has earlier commented on the fact that its premier (?) Conservative columnist David Brooks wrote a column which indicated a lack of basic knowledge about what he called “successful” Presidents.  Mr. Brooks wants a President who was educated at an “elite private school”, as if somehow that makes a great national leader.

Now Mr. Brooks has written a column that borders on such silliness, such ignorance and such incomprehension that one wonders how the editors of the Times can go to work and not cringe for the entire 8 hours shift.  Mr. Brooks is covering the South Carolina primary, apparently with his young son in tow.  Here are some of his comments on Rick Perry (warning do not read this on a full stomach).

Rick Perry ran a poor campaign but seems like the guy you’d most want to have a beer with. He took the time to tell my son how important it is to study hard and prepare for whatever you do.

But Mr. Brooks is gearing up to support Mitt Romney.  And he has to get Mr. Romney’s buyout capitalism out of the way.  So he declares voters don’t care.

I came here wondering how voters would react to the charge that Mitt Romney was a corporate vulture when he ran the private equity firm Bain Capital. I asked dozens of people. They were all familiar with the attacks, thanks to the TV ads. Almost everybody thought the charges were ridiculous, even supporters of Newt Gingrich.

Okay, that takes care of that.  And what about his impression of Mitt.

But Romney’s awkwardness seems to endear him to audiences, because he’s trying so hard. He spends an enormous amount of time after the speeches shaking hands, taking pictures and holding babies. Beads of sweat form on his forehead as he throws himself graciously into the crowds. He also has a nice startle response. When something unexpected happens, his face lights up and you get a burst of happy humanity out of him.

Making Mr. Brooks the first and probably only person who will find that Mr. Romney’s face can light up and that he does have a burst of “happy humanity”. 

So Mr. Brooks tours South Carolina and provides no news, no insight, no observations of value to the rest of us.  Just another Republican out there hacking for Mr. Romney.

All of that was in preparation for a second column by Mr. Brooks which just gushes over Mr. Romney. 

All his life, Romney has been a worker and a grinder. He earned two degrees at Harvard simultaneously (in law and business). He built a business. He’s persevered year after year, amid defeat after defeat, to build a political career.

Romney’s salient quality is not wealth. It is, for better and worse, his tenacious drive — the sort of relentlessness that we associate with striving immigrants, not rich scions.

Now of course Mr. Brooks cannot go into the details of all of this, because the details would show an upbringing amidst great wealth, an education denied to almost all except the very privaleged,  a business career built on using other people’s money to buy companies, and in some cases drive them into the ground and a political career with one victory and is now built on changing one’s position to fit whatever was required.

So Mr. Brooks writes extensively about Mr. Romney’s great-great grandfather and great grandfather.  What is it with his idea among Conservatives that one’s grandparents and great grandparents make one qualified to be President?  Rick Santorum would have everyone believe that because his grandfather was a coal miner, Rick Santorum is qualified to be President.

One could of course compare Mr. Romney’s life and success with Mr. Obama’s.  Mr. Obama also graduated from Harvard Law, but his route to the law degree was much different and much harder than that of Mr. Romney’s.  And of course when he finished he went to Chicago to work in the community, which in the eyes of people like Mr. Brooks is a terrible thing.  After all why didn’t he use his education at an elite school to make hundreds of millions like Mr. Romney did.

So in the end maybe its not fair to condemn the New York Times for employing hacks like Mr. Brooks.  Maybe on the Conservative side that’s all that is out there.
And finally, if nothing else disqualifies Mr. Brooks from being considered a serious person, consider this.

I brought my 12-year-old son on this latest trip. My rule is that if a candidate can’t relate well to a 12-year-old, they’ll never win a general election. He approached all the candidates, and they were all wonderful except Gingrich. But that wasn’t Gingrich’s fault. My son, whose heroes include John Boehner and Tupac Shakur . . . 

Anyone who has brought up a 12 year old whose hero is John Boehner does not deserve a column in the New York Times, he deserves a visit from Family Social Services.


  1. Amen. Mr. Brooks, like Tom Friedman, when the history of this era is written, will be viewed as idiots that future generations will not understand how anyone with any sense whatsoever could ever read. Hence, they will conclude that we are, collectively as a society, as stupid as we are. As for the 12 year old son remark...well, I'm writing this after spending 12 minutes vomiting!!