If anyone needed any more proof following his admission that me makes his staffers read his emails and the comments section for his posts, that New York Times' columnist David Brooks is nothing more than an insulated Villager extraordinaire who doesn't have a clue about the everyday lives of average Americans any more than he does technology, check out this huge steaming pile of poop from this Monday's Charlie Rose on PBS.
BROOKS: If you go to a dinner party in Washington, on the left, there's a bunch of academics and donors, think tanks. And so they've got a real infrastructure on the left. On the right, a bunch of donors, think tanks, academics. They've got infrastructure on the right.
If you go to a dinner in the middle, it's just a bunch of lobbyists. They have no infrastructure. There's no centrist to moderate infrastructure for fundraising. There's no intellectual infrastructure. There's just a void. And if you're a politician and you want to head out to the middle, there's just nobody there. But if you deviate from the right or left, there's punishment. So we've got institutional problems. […]
One thing that I've changed my mind on, one of the questions is the polarization in Washington or is it in the country? And so I used to go to it's mostly in Washington and now if you look at the latest research from Pew and other organizations, it looks like it's much more in the country than I thought it was. That people are moving into areas where people like themselves, their own views are diverging, the people in the middle are checking out.
And then if you look at the promising young people that you see at universities, they want to get something done, so either they get away from politics, or they're hitting politics at the local level. They're much less excited about politics at the national level.
So the people who would defeat polarization are self-censoring themselves, getting away from Washington, going to work in Chattanooga or some place like that. […]
And I'd say three things have changed institutionally, just in the model of how you want to be a politician. Passing legislation has become much less important as Michael says, because much less is being passed. But second, there's a tremendous emphasis because of the media of being a TV performer rather than a legislator, Sarah Palin was the ultimate version of this, but I think Ted Cruz sort of a version, much less interested in making friends in the body, much more interested in making stands for future reference.
Second, the donors, the money. Donors tend to be much more polarized than other people, so that's where the money is on the right and left.
And finally I would just say democracy. We've become much more open and much more Democratic, much less Republican. My friend Bill Galston says that government should have some lack of transparency, some covering for the same reason middle aged people should wear clothes. You don't want to see everything.
And the fact that it's now instant response to telegrams and emails makes people much more responsive to the most active, and so all those things, are you know, it's multi-cause. All of those things lead to the polarization. To me the only way out is either a foreign crisis, or something like that, an invasion from Mars... quite likely, or leadership.
You know, people are sick of it. You talk to the members. They're sick of it. And not only the Coopers and Manchins, a lot of them are sick of it. And so you've got to get a group of people who say, I'm in politics, but I really dislike the way politics is now and out of that creative tension, I really think you can get some prominent leadership.
I think Obama tried. If he'd had more social umph and if he hadn't come into office in a time of crisis, I think he could have done something. But somebody's going to have to show leadership and just get the top give officials and say we're not going to operate like this any more.
There are so many things wrong with this, it's hard to know where to even start unpacking it. First of all, leave it to Brooks to attempt to explain that there's supposedly no magical, non-existent "middle" in American politics with a cute little analogy about cocktail parties. It says as much about him as it does the people he's complaining about.
The entire show was one long exercise in doing nothing but pushing the Overton window further to the right, first by bringing on a couple of Blue Dog Democrats, Rep. Jim Cooper and Sen. Joe Manchin, so they could opine about how everyone's not getting along sufficiently in Washington... a.k.a. not bending to the will of the right wing at every turn.
Then you've got Brooks just completely dismissing the obstruction and refusal to govern by Republicans in one fell swoop and saying it doesn't matter, because they're not going to pass anything.
Then we're treated to the gaffe about telegrams... and Brooks once again blaming the problems with the gridlock in Washington on President Obama and pretending that if he just spoke to Republicans a little more harshly, they'd start behaving and do what he says.
Maybe we ought to be drug testing Brooks right along with his buddy MoDo if he really believes there's a snowball's chance in hell that's going to ever happen before President Obama leaves office.