Simple Truth
September 30, 2003 8:09 PM   Subscribe

David Brooks nicely summarizes the current state of politics. I appreciate this article. It is simple, easy to read, and represents what I've been feeling for quite some time now. (NY Times)
posted by BlueTrain (45 comments total)
 
I’m not trying to start any flame wars or incite another Left vs. Right discussion.

::shrugs::

I just agree.
posted by BlueTrain at 8:12 PM on September 30, 2003


I’m not trying to start any flame wars or incite another Left vs. Right discussion.

::shrugs::

I just disagree.
posted by quonsar at 8:14 PM on September 30, 2003


Hey, I like goatse.
posted by angry modem at 8:15 PM on September 30, 2003


I mean bartse
posted by angry modem at 8:23 PM on September 30, 2003


The quintessential new warrior scans the Web for confirmation of the president's villainy. [...] He believes Ted Kennedy when he says the Iraq war was a fraud cooked up in Texas to benefit the Republicans politically. - from the article

This is not so, and is just an effort to make us Bush-haters sound misguided. Of course, the Iraq war is killing Bush politically. But as a fraud cooked up in Texas to benefit the Republicans financially, it's a terrific success.
posted by nicwolff at 8:25 PM on September 30, 2003


Cow theory sums it up nicely, perhaps even more accurately:

DEMOCRAT:
You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
You feel guilty for being successful.
You vote people into office that put a tax on your
cows, forcing you to sell one to raise money to pay the
tax. The people you voted for then take the tax money,
buy a cow and give it to your neighbor. You feel
righteous. Barbara Streisand sings for you.

REPUBLICAN:
You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
So?
posted by oissubke at 8:28 PM on September 30, 2003


This piece sums up what I've been thinking about US politics lately.
posted by timeistight at 8:40 PM on September 30, 2003


It feels so delicious to believe it, and even if somewhere in his mind he knows it doesn't quite square with the evidence, it's important to believe it because the other side is vicious, so he must be too.

Amusingly, before reading the comments, I'd already picked out the line above, which follows directly on nicwolff's choice, as the most mendacious. From this (admittedly Bush-hating now) perspective, it surely does square with the evidence.

Brooks is quite good with the old Straw Man thing, though.
posted by billsaysthis at 8:42 PM on September 30, 2003


re: cows. There's possibly a discussion in there worth having, but it's totally offtopic for this thread.
posted by namespan at 8:42 PM on September 30, 2003


oissubke, touche. However, we have moved beyond mere republican now that republicans rule the presidency, the congress and the courts.

UBER REPUBLICAN:
Your neighbor has no cows, only an aged chicken.
Eliminate the tax on cows and double the tax on chickens. Use the chicken tax revenue to subsidize cow feed. Cow farmers rejoice, increase donations to republicans.
posted by caddis at 8:44 PM on September 30, 2003


This thread sums up what I've been thinking about Metafilter lately.
posted by msacheson at 8:45 PM on September 30, 2003


This comment sums up what I've been thinking about threads lately.
posted by Spacelegoman at 8:48 PM on September 30, 2003


So, oissubke, how do you like that straw man you just built? Pretty proud, aren't you?
posted by The Michael The at 8:49 PM on September 30, 2003


Ron Suskind summarized how the current state of politics came to be back in January in this quote from Karl Rove:

We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him!
posted by y2karl at 8:50 PM on September 30, 2003


I'm so sick of the ad hominem use of strawmen on Metafilter. Fisking give it up, people.
posted by Jimbob at 8:52 PM on September 30, 2003


bashing bush-bashers is the new clinton-bashing. not that I blame them, it's easier than trying to defend the president.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:57 PM on September 30, 2003


More evidence, rather than just making another FPP.
posted by billsaysthis at 8:57 PM on September 30, 2003


Bush is attacked because of the positions he's taken. I hate him because of things like not pushing for the Kyoto Protocol, cutting funding to family planning for the poor, his unilateral policies, and another dead corporal in Iraq. Bush's lack of compassionate conservatism has totally polarized American politics and so it's not surprising that some are strongly against him.
posted by spork at 8:58 PM on September 30, 2003


From the Ron Suskind article article linked to above, a profile of Karl Rove:

"Sources close to the former president say Rove was fired from the 1992 Bush presidential campaign after he planted a negative story with columnist Robert Novak about dissatisfaction with campaign fundraising chief and Bush loyalist Robert Mosbacher Jr."

Whoa. Disclosure: I'm a Republican, but I've gotta say this makes the whole WilsonGate thing a bit more interesting. If Karl's planted stuff with Novak before, why not do it again?
posted by Happydaz at 9:01 PM on September 30, 2003




What msacheson said. This thread is a fine illustration of Brooks' thesis.

And oissubke's cow logic isn't a 'straw man', it's a 'humorous analogy'.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:08 PM on September 30, 2003


these people pretty much say it all.
posted by amberglow at 9:19 PM on September 30, 2003


I hate Bush because I want you all to like me.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:23 PM on September 30, 2003


Hey, I like goatse.

David Brooks is goatse?!
posted by homunculus at 10:02 PM on September 30, 2003


Let's summarize this Brooks article in the short form: "Now that the partisan rage and rancor of the Republican party has come back to bite us in the form of enraged Democrats who give as well as they get, I'm suddenly offended by the whole thing and wish that Democrats would play nice while Bush questions their patriotism. And by the way, people who oppose Bush are just like the KKK."
posted by deanc at 10:02 PM on September 30, 2003


Here's a thread from a few days ago on the Chiat article Brooks mentions, btw.
posted by homunculus at 10:06 PM on September 30, 2003


"Have you noticed that the furious arguments we used to have about cultural and social issues have been displaced by furious arguments about the current occupant of the Oval Office?" (Brooks)

Has David Brooks noticed that the state of Florida admitted - in court - that it illegally scrubbed at least 60,000 voters from it's voter rolls in both the 2000 and 2002 elections ?

No, I guess not. I guess Brooks notices lifestyle issues but not issues fundamental to Democracy - like the integrity of voting practices.

OK. Brooks is a "lifestyle republican". Fair enough.
posted by troutfishing at 10:11 PM on September 30, 2003


Actually, I think oissubke was making straw cows for us. And I sortof liked it. Just not in this thread. Which means I should probably shut up about it.

And I'm tired of the ipso postum facto attacks on the ad hominem straw men, too, for what it's worth, Jimbob.
posted by namespan at 10:26 PM on September 30, 2003


Brooks' copout at the end is totally disingenous and awfully convenient. If the Chiat bit is the best he can do than his argument is extremely sorry. Joe Conason responds directly.
posted by McBain at 10:37 PM on September 30, 2003


For those too proud or lazy to wade through the ad:

Brooks is concerned that several left-leaning books, none of which he seems to have read, are appearing on bestseller lists. To him, a single confessional article in the New Republic suggests that everyone on the left simply despises the president for reasons that have nothing to do with dishonesty, incompetence and horrific policy. He frets that "the hatreds have left the animating ideas far behind and now romp about on their own." He detects in the haters a "threat to democracy."

His handwringing is hokum. After a decade of continuous Clinton-bashing, much of which appeared in a magazine he edited, has Brooks just now noticed the substitution of vitriol for debate? Has he just awakened, like some right-wing Rip van Winkle? Has he failed to notice the tactics used by the Bush administration, that repository of honor and integrity, against critics like Joe Wilson?

No. More likely, what troubles Brooks is that liberals are finally answering his movement's attacks on their patriotism, character, morality and honor. It doesn't seem to have occurred to him that sooner or later, unrelenting viciousness would provoke an angry response.


Now that is simple, easy to read, and represents all but the wilfully clueless have been feeling for quite some time now.
posted by y2karl at 11:08 PM on September 30, 2003


Here's a few takes on Brooks' piece.
posted by nath at 1:44 AM on October 1, 2003


Ron Suskind summarized how the current state of politics came to be back in January in this quote from Karl Rove:

We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him!


bashing bush-bashers is the new clinton-bashing. not that I blame them, it's easier than trying to defend the president.

It is interesting (not to mention very disturbing) that Republican discourse seems stalled in knee-jerk efforts to discredit messengers, while ignoring message. It seems to me that many Republicans today self-identify as Republicans first and Americans second. If there is malfeasance being perpetrated by people purporting to represent YOU, I would expect you to be twice as concerned about it as the opposition, but instead the instinct seems to be 1) deny, 2) excuse (rationalize), and 3) cover up. I don't get this. Where's the intellectual honesty? the moral commitment to truth? the dedication to the principles of your country (which underlie and extend far beyond all partisan bickering—or once did)? To put it in Metafilter terms, for every Uncle Fes, there seems to be ten rabid idealogues more concerned with scoring "points" than with good governance. As citizens, our job (and our responsibility) is not to excuse the bad behavior of our politicians but to police it.

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is a force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action. —George Washington
posted by rushmc at 5:11 AM on October 1, 2003


So I hate Bush and Brooks. Sue me.
posted by nofundy at 5:15 AM on October 1, 2003


From the conanson's piece:
His handwringing is hokum. After a decade of continuous Clinton-bashing, much of which appeared in a magazine he edited, has Brooks just now noticed the substitution of vitriol for debate? Has he just awakened, like some right-wing Rip van Winkle?
Hehe. Classic.

Right-wing Rip van Winkles unite!
posted by skallas at 7:32 AM on October 1, 2003


Also summed up this way: "I know you are, but what am I?"
posted by briank at 7:50 AM on October 1, 2003


Slithy_Tove, his analogy isn't the straw man, his characterization of democrats is.
posted by The Michael The at 8:57 AM on October 1, 2003


Politician punches Straw Man. Straw Man punches back! Film at 11! Only on FOX! Balanced? You decide!
posted by infowar at 10:36 AM on October 1, 2003


The Michael The: huh?

A 'straw man' is misstating your opponent's argument, so that it is easier to knock down. There's no straw man here because there's no argument. No Democrats are making any claims about the redistribution of cows. Anyone seriously trying to refute cow theory would be laughed at.

We can argue over whether the analogy is close or not, but no one claims that it actually represents anyone's position.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:36 AM on October 1, 2003


Uh, Slithy, huh?

You're simply mistaken. Characterizing the positions of Democrats (and/or Republicans) the simple way they were characterized above is about as "straw man" as you can get. The childish, cowshit "analogy" IS the "argument".

But do color me completely unsurprised (and almost tearful!) that Brooks and (gasp!) BlueTrain and a lot of Republicans and all would find harsh criticism of a particular president so very, very mean. The consistency of that gentility and that sense of fairplay is so admirable. It's almost motherly in its consistently fair and balanced and nonpartisan way.

And it is SO completely nice and refreshing that oissubke didn't get all tantrum-y and posse-ish and crusader-like and stomp-down consistent on BlueTrain and all about posting editorials from major newspapers:

In particular, please don't post editorials from major newspapers that already have millions of readers. There's really no need.
Sorry to editorialize, but I'm getting annoyed by the political signal-to-noise ratio on MeFi, and I'm going to start crusading to steer it back into high-signal territory. I encourage others to join me.
Thanks.
posted by oissubke at 7:26 AM PST on February 21


I'm sure we can't imagine how or where consistency flew....and why this particular editorial was somehow different to oissubke. Somehow. Different.

~wink~
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:52 AM on October 1, 2003


I hate Bush because I'm smarter than you.
posted by jammer at 2:23 PM on October 1, 2003


"The core threat to democracy is not in the White House, it's the haters themselves. –Brooks

That about simplifies Brooks' small think.

Yah, haters, Patriot Act I & II them all! [/sarc]
posted by alicesshoe at 2:43 PM on October 1, 2003


I hate Bush because I'm smarter than you.

Well, if you were, you'd have to, wouldn't you?
posted by rushmc at 3:27 PM on October 1, 2003


Is the point here whether the pot or the kettle is darker or why American politics has gotten so visious and personal? I always thought the conservative rage about the Clintons was ridiculous and I feel the same about the liberal rage about the Bushes.

Maybe it's a sid effect of a two-party system.
posted by timeistight at 3:32 PM on October 1, 2003


That would be "vicious" and "side" above.
posted by timeistight at 3:35 PM on October 1, 2003


Is the point here whether the pot or the kettle is darker or why American politics has gotten so visious and personal?.

I think the point is that Bush should really have tried the blowjob-from-intern approach to generate rage. No-one usually gets killed that way.
posted by riviera at 9:06 PM on October 1, 2003


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