March 17, 2013

Hey, what do you know. Mark Shields, the normally hapless faux liberal that The PBS Newshour puts across from Bobo week after week, actually called David Brooks out for his hackery. Republicans just mindlessly repeat these ridiculous claims that big evil government just needs to "get out of the way" and let the private sector get to creating those jobs -- and they're almost never called on it. This was one of those rare times that Brooks had someone actually take him to task for it.

MARK SHIELDS: Getting government out of the way, I love that. That's a great one, after what we have been through in this country with absolutely no control. And we just learned again this week that banks too big to fail are even too big to be reprimanded, controlled by the federal government.

Later in the segment, Brooks attempted to defend his remarks and Shields hit back at him again, this time for his hypocrisy on what is or is not good government spending. Brooks responded by backpedaling so fast, you could see tread marks:

DAVID BROOKS: Well, it sort of doesn't feel like the first year of an administration, like the first few months. It feels kind of exhaustion.

Those of us who -- we have interviews in the White House, interviews in Congress. They have differences, not as big as they think. They have a lot of mythology about the other sides. And so just having these meetings would be a good thing, personal relationships.

And so I think we have begun to see a little change in mode, as I say. Secondly, they have created space for some deals, so the people right now, there are eight senators sitting in Capitol Hill doing immigration. They're making incredible progress, really good progress. And I think that's part of the tune.

And if I could just defend this idea of getting government out of the way, listen, we have got 24 percent of the economy as the government. We're not shrinking into Hong Kong wonderland here. But it's -- without question, just in a cyclical sense, uncertainty about Washington, these fiscal catastrophes, these debt ceiling, middle-of-the-night things, that's had an unnerving effect on investment. And if we could just stop that, that would help the economy.

MARK SHIELDS: Aren't you the same guy who has championed research, infrastructure, education? Where is that coming from, the private sector?


DAVID BROOKS: I'm not talking about -- I'm not talking about doing all that stuff. I'm talking about...

JUDY WOODRUFF: I'm backing out of this, though. You all, have at it.

DAVID BROOKS: Let's not be stupid. Let's not be dysfunctional. You can have good government. I'm all for that, but let's not have dysfunctional government, which has been so unnerving.

MARK SHIELDS: Do you know anybody who is for dysfunctional government? I mean ...

DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I know 435 people on Capitol Hill.

MARK SHIELDS: Who is running on that ticket, OK?

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