Conservative columnist David Brooks sounds awfully reasonable these days, so reasonable that one might actually mistake him for a liberal. Brooks is also fed up with the Republican Party, an institution now so royally screwed up that Brooks is suggesting it forfeits the election in 2016 in order to set the party on a sustainable course for the next few decades.
Here he was laying out his plea to the party to go for a brokered convention in order to stop Donald Trump or Ted Cruz going into battle for the White House:
There is another path, one that doesn’t leave you self-loathing in the morning. It’s a long shot, but given the alternatives, it’s worth trying. First, hit the pause button on the rush to Cruz. Second, continue the Romneyesque assault on Trump. The results on Saturday, when late voters swung sharply against the Donald, suggest it may be working.
Third, work for a Marco Rubio miracle in Florida on March 15. Fourth, clear the field for John Kasich in Ohio. If Rubio and Kasich win their home states, Trump will need to take nearly 70 percent of the remaining delegates to secure a majority. That would be unlikely; he’s only winning 44 percent of the delegates now.
The party would go to the convention without a clear nominee. It would be bedlam for a few days, but a broadly acceptable new option might emerge. It would be better than going into the fall with Trump, which would be a moral error, or Cruz, who in November would manage to win several important counties in Mississippi.This isn’t about winning the presidency in 2016 anymore.
This is about something much bigger. Every 50 or 60 years, parties undergo a transformation. The G.O.P. is undergoing one right now. What happens this year will set the party’s trajectory for decades.
Brooks is not wrong here — if the Republican Party wants to have any sort of future past 2020, sacrificing 2016 by forcing out Trump and Cruz is the very least they can do. Their problems run far, far deeper than the jokers running for President. The entire party is rotten to the core, and nothing short of a gigantic purge of all the crazies will give it any chance of success.
Brooks understands this perfect well, and has written passionately about its need to morph into a British style conservative party that actually believes in the role of government in civil society. But he fails spectacularly to recognize his own record in aiding and abetting his party’s dramatic demise over the past 15 years.
The Republican Party is fucked because it was taken over by a cabal of militant neoconservatives in 2000. September 11th solidified Bush and his gang’s shaky grip on power, and they set about destroying the infrastructure of the country and creating an alternate universe where what they said was right because they said it was.
“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality,” one Bush aide told the New York Times. “And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
David Brooks thought this whole new paradigm was terrific. Bush, by virtue of his plain speaking, could manifest reality as he saw fit and create a capitalist utopia in the Middle East and a Good Christian nation at home. In the lead up to the war in Iraq, Brooks wrote this in response to fancy liberals who thought invading the wrong country for the wrong reasons against the wishes of most of the planet:
The American commentariat is gravely concerned. Over the past week, George W. Bush has shown a disturbing tendency not to waffle when it comes to Iraq. There has been an appalling clarity and coherence to his position. There has been a reckless tendency not to be murky, hesitant, or evasive. Naturally, questions are being raised about President Bush’s leadership skills….In certain circles, it is not only important what opinion you hold, but how you hold it. It is important to be seen dancing with complexity, sliding among shades of gray. Any poor rube can come to a simple conclusion — that President Saddam Hussein is a menace who must be disarmed–but the refined ratiocinators want to be seen luxuriating amid the difficulties, donning the jewels of nuance, even to the point of self-paralysis. But those who actually have to lead and protect, and actually have to build one step on another, have to bring some questions to a close.
Clear words trumped reality for Brooks, who spent considerable energy cheerleading the most disastrous war in modern history and providing intellectual cover for the dumbest president in all American history.
After reality asserted itself and Bush was found to be exactly what those of us who are attached to it believe he always was — an idiot — Brooks spent the next decade subtly ingratiating himself back in to intellectual respectability by urging his party to elect candidates who could formulate entire sentences.
Sadly for Brooks, the damage was done and the clowns took over the show when Sarah Palin burst onto the scene, courtesy of long time Brooks hero John McCain. Palin ushered in an era of unbridled stupidity, narcissism and xenophobia, trampling all over the party elites and rewriting the rules of modern conservatism. David Brooks and his crusty elitist friends were left with their pants down wondering what the fuck happened as they were collectively neutered by the rampaging idiots we now see dominating the party.
While one can express a modicum of sympathy for moderate Republicans like Brooks who are watching in horror as their party disintegrates, it should be remembered that those who were “dancing with complexity” and “luxuriating amid the difficulties” back in 2003, saw all of this coming. The difference is, they spoke out about it when it mattered and tried to stop their country being hijacked by the Mayberry Machiavellians and their inbred descendants. David Brooks on the other hand, waited until a neo fascist megalomaniac took over his party to offer up anything worth listening to. And sadly, it still won’t make much of a difference.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.