Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Muscular Moderation

For over two years, David Brooks has been torturing himself--and us--over his infatuation with Barack Obama and the nagging conservative conscience that makes him feel guilty about it.

In today's column, he tries to resolve his anguish with "A Moderate Manifesto" that accuses his love object of leading "a party swept up in its own revolutionary fervor--caught up in the self-flattering belief that history has called upon it to solve all problems at once."

His attack on the Obama budget tries to put an intellectual gloss on the reflexive attacks of know-nothing Republicans by finding in it "a social-engineering experiment that is entirely new."

Say again? The unconflicted part of Brooks' brain surely knows that the social engineering in this century has been the Bush-Cheney attempt to weaken government and revive 19th century laissez-faire capitalism with deregulation and tax cuts for the very rich that helped create an economic mess, which now demands an attempt to "solve all problems at once."

But it is not enough for him to maintain his conservative credentials by joining in the general unease over the uncharted territory into which Obama by necessity is leading a country on the brink of bankruptcy. Brooks has to find something positive to proclaim:

"We moderates are going to have to assert ourselves. We’re going to have to take a centrist tendency that has been politically feckless and intellectually vapid and turn it into an influential force."

Lots of luck to Brooks on inventing a new form of muscular moderation, but meanwhile the rest of us can join him in this reality check:

"The only thing more scary than Obama’s experiment is the thought that it might fail and the political power will swing over to a Republican Party that is currently unfit to wield it."

1 comment:

John F. said...

Does Brooks really think the nation's problems are an array of isolated issues to be handled one at a time? Does he have any idea how much our health care system has to do with GM's mess? How much imported oil and petrodollars have to do with the creation of mystery ingredient, sausage-like investment securities?

Just for starters.

How did "analyst" Brooks get so much stature? There's a whole lot more brains among the "amateur" websites in my sidebar.