David Brooks Excuses Republicans Move To The Far Right And Dismisses The Call To Raise The One Percent's Taxes

He really just can't stop himself. Here's David Brooks with another "both sides" knee jerk reaction to President Obama daring to talk about the need for the rich to pay their fair share in taxes and the fact that trickle-down economics don't work
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He really just can't stop himself. Here's David Brooks with another "both sides" knee jerk reaction to President Obama daring to talk about the need for the rich to pay their fair share in taxes and the fact that trickle-down economics don't work during his speech in Osawatomie, Kansas this week.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But, David, you're saying to focus on the fairness is off the point, that the point should be more about what's happening to the country?

DAVID BROOKS: I think it's about growth.

We have an inequality problem, there's no question. But I think people -- sometimes when you have -- we want a strong, growing economy and we want strong wage growth. And that's somewhat related to whether the top 1 percent get super bonuses, but it's not totally related to that. And so you better have a strong story about generating economic growth.

And I didn't see that story. And then, second, just politically, I agree with Mark the Republican Party has gone very far right, but if they singing the hymnal of FOX News, why do you sing to the hymnal of MSNBC?

Why don't you do something more centrist? Which is what I think he should have done. I think he should have acknowledged that not only do we have an inequality problem. We have got a growth problem and we have got a debt problem, which is the thing he entirely dropped.

Heaven forbid David Brooks can ever respond to a question on the extremism of the Republican Party without throwing in a.... "but Democrats are just as extreme" false equivalency out there and some ridiculous statement as he made here trying to pretend MSNBC is a liberal network because they've allowed some of their programming to represent liberal views or those of the Democratic Party establishment during their prime time programming or at the crack of dawn on the weekends. I can only assume that David Brooks either never watches MSNBC if he thinks what he said here is true, or he knows full well that it's not and he just doesn't mind lying to the PBS audience.

MSNBC for the most part is not the equivalent of Fox, but they come pretty close during a good part of their daytime programming and I'd say there right there with the three hours in the morning with Scarborough. So liberal network equal to counter Fox my ass Mr. Brooks.

David Brooks also seemed to be having a very hard time wrapping his head around the fact that income disparity and lack of taxation on the rich might be related to each other and why most Americans are struggling these days. I guess it never occurred to him that the reason we don't have any growth is because the rich are hanging onto most of the money in the United States to the point that we're destroying what's left of our middle class and where consumers don't have any money to spend with the outsourcing for slave labor overseas, the destruction of unions, and a race to the bottom on wages and workers protections, and where those who are lucky enough to still have a job for the most part have not seen their wages go up, but remain stagnant or go down instead, but the ones benefiting from that economic model are sitting on mounds of cash.

It's too bad the hapless Mark Shields who is often as big of a hack as Brooks during this weekly segment on the PBS Newshour didn't try to make the same arguments that Nick Hanauer did on Cavuto's show last week where he tried to explain over Cavuto's interruptions exactly why his taxes should be raised and how that's tied to job creation and how it's the 99 percent having money in their pockets and not the 1 percent hording all the cash that creates jobs and some basic common sense on supply and demand on what makes economies grow as opposed to Republican fantasies about confidence fairies and trickle-down economics -- Millionaire Nick Hanauer Shoots Down Neil Cavuto's Straw Men as He Explains Why His Taxes Should be Raised.

Full transcript below the fold.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. That is syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Hello, gentlemen. It's good to see you both.

MARK SHIELDS: Judy, good to see you.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Let's start with the president.

David, he gave a speech this week in Kansas. He talked a little bit at his news conference about this yesterday. Maybe a new fighting spirit. He's invoking Teddy Roosevelt, talking about protecting the middle class. Is this a theme, a message that he can ride to the election?

DAVID BROOKS: It's the one he will ride on, and it's made a lot of liberals very happy. He's given them something to fight for. He's given them an overall narrative. A lot of people on the left have said, we didn't have this. Now we have got a theme.

And I think there's a lot to be said for the theme he's chosen, the idea of a fair deal, the invocation of Roosevelt. I thought the speech sounded a little more like William Jennings Bryan than Roosevelt, but that's neither here nor there.

The two problems I have with it, one are political. I think this election is about national decline. And he's trying to make it an election about inequality. And I think people agree that inequality is a problem. I don't think they see it as the central problem, which is about growth and really preserving the country as a growing, dynamic country.

And so I think it's a little off-center for where the election is. And then the second is just a substantive problem. If you look for the policy implications, he sketched out these big problems. The only actual policy implied in the speech was raising taxes on the top 2 percent to pay for infrastructure spending and basic research.

And I think those are perfectly good policies. They're extremely modest. And so I'm wondering, what is he actually going to run on? The policies he's suggesting are quite small.

JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you see, Mark, what the president is talking about?

MARK SHIELDS: At long last. I think the president has danced around a number of theories of governance, that we could all reason together, the Rodney King approach, which came a cropper.

I think underlying this, Judy, is not simply Barack Obama as Harry Truman populist, which I think raises questions about authenticity, because by temperament the president is not a natural populist. But I think it is an acknowledgement that the Republican Party has moved incredibly far to the right.

And my evidence of that is the debates in the presidential race, where, when Chris Wallace asked a simple question, would you accept $10 in spending cuts for just $1 in tax increases, and all of them, including Jon Huntsman, the ever reasonable, moderate Jon Huntsman, said no, no, they wouldn't do that.

Now, that's an acknowledgment, I think, on the president's speech that there is no point in trying to reason. They have given up on positions they have long held as a party, including the payroll tax suspension, just simply because they're opposing the president.

So I think -- I think David's absolutely right. There are going to be two questions that voters ask in 2012. Is it working -- that is, is the Obama economy, economic plan -- and is it fair? And I think he obviously wants to emphasize the second as well, because the statistics on the first are not that positive.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But, David, you're saying to focus on the fairness is off the point, that the point should be more about what's happening to the country?

DAVID BROOKS: I think it's about growth.

We have an inequality problem, there's no question. But I think people -- sometimes when you have -- we want a strong, growing economy and we want strong wage growth. And that's somewhat related to whether the top 1 percent get super bonuses, but it's not totally related to that. And so you better have a strong story about generating economic growth.

And I didn't see that story. And then, second, just politically, I agree with Mark the Republican Party has gone very far right, but if they singing the hymnal of FOX News, why do you sing to the hymnal of MSNBC?

Why don't you do something more centrist? Which is what I think he should have done. I think he should have acknowledged that not only do we have an inequality problem. We have got a growth problem and we have got a debt problem, which is the thing he entirely dropped.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Was he missing out...

MARK SHIELDS: No. This was Teddy Roosevelt. It really was Teddy Roosevelt. You can argue what phase of Teddy Roosevelt's specific career it was, but it was Teddy Roosevelt, vintage Teddy Roosevelt speech.

And you talk to Republicans, whether it's John McCain or whoever else it is, and Teddy Roosevelt is their hero. It was a very adroit approach to what I call rhetorical grave robbery, that is taking the other words of the other party and employing them on your own behalf.

Republicans have done it time and again, John Kennedy lowering the tax rate from 91 percent to 65 percent, saying tax cuts are the answer. And he was doing this. President Obama has done it on Ronald Reagan, invoking Ronald Reagan's words. So, no, I think it makes sense.

The Republicans have given him enormous running room in this. And I disagree with David in the sense that there is education. There's no question that we are in a global economy. It's now an information economy. It's different. It's wrenching. It's discommoding to Americans. It's discouraging to a lot of Americans.

And I think the president lays out an approach to remedy it. But these are uncertain times, and I think we're looking for a certain trumpet, and I think he sounded it.

DAVID BROOKS: Yes, he did sound one. And Mark alluded to it.

And I think it opens up the way for a potentially interesting debate, which is late Roosevelt vs. early Roosevelt. As Mark suggested, there were phases to the guy. And the early Roosevelt, the one people like me tend to like, was the person, as president, who was making sure competition was fair, but really pushing free market competition.

The later Roosevelt was a more progressive Roosevelt, who fell under a book by a guy named Herbert Croly, which the argument there was, government -- business has become really big. We have to make a big government in order to counterbalance that power. And so that is a different phase of Roosevelt.

And there are two different ways of looking at the economic problem then and now. And it's potentially a pretty good debate.

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