You’ve been with the professors
And they’ve all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have
Discussed lepers and crooks
You’ve been through all of
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books
You’re very well read
It’s well known
Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?
Uh, make that Mister Brooks:
David Brooks: But I persist in the belief that government is more fundamentally messed up than ever in my lifetime. Barack Obama campaigned offering a new era of sane government. And I believe he would do it if he had the chance. But he has been so sucked into the system that now he stands by while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks about passing health care via “deem and pass” — a tricky legislative device in which things get passed without members having the honor or the guts to stand up and vote for it.
Deem and pass? Are you kidding me? Is this what the Revolutionary War was fought for? Is this what the boys on Normandy beach were trying to defend? Is this where we thought we would end up when Obama was speaking so beautifully in Iowa or promising to put away childish things?
Criminy. Where to begin? How about at this risible statement:
Barack Obama campaigned offering a new era of sane government. And I believe he would do it if he had the chance.
Emphasis mine. Uh, Mr. Brooks? Based on what evidence? President Obama's storied legislative career in Illinois? His permanent campaign? His years learning the art of politics in Chicago? My goodness, man -- look at the luminaries he brought with him to the White House! No one is going to confuse Rahm Emanuel or David Axelrod with Edmund Burke. Let's give the President some credit here: he's smart enough to recognize a political operative when he sees one. And he's got a brigade of operatives sitting in the West Wing.
Ah, but True Believer Brooksie has figured out the issue. Cherchez la femme:
But he has been so sucked into the system that now he stands by while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks about passing health care via “deem and pass” — a tricky legislative device in which things get passed without members having the honor or the guts to stand up and vote for it.
It's Pelosi! Foul temptress! Using her nasty tricks and feminine wiles to fool the noble Othello, er I mean Obama. Obama is just like the other noble men who come to Washington and are tempted by the painted ladies who parade on Pennsylvania Avenue. Poor, noble Barack Obama, patron saint of the pants crease: just like Marion Barry some 20 years before, the bitch set him up.
Our Timesman is taking it all kinda hard, and it's all that evil Pelosi's fault. But it's not just the president she's led astray. She is also Keyser Sose, apparently:
Something that’s even more depressing is people in our business. We pundits consult think tankers and experts and bloggers in hopes of getting an honest opinion. Many of the experts I consult have become party apparatchiks over the last few weeks. Pelosi says jump and they ask where they can check their intellectual integrity to lighten the load.
My God -- how can Pelosi do these things? She-devil! Siren! Good heavens, look at the carnage -- all the boys from Brookings piled on the rocks between Scylla and Charybdis, their position papers fluttering about in the breeze. And what of Andrew Sullivan and Josh Marshall, face down on their respective keyboards? And Gergen -- left bleeding at Rachel Maddow's desk! It's all too much for our puzzled pundit:
Either this whole city has gone insane or I have or both. But I’m out here on the ledge and I’m not coming in the window. In my view this is no longer about health care. It’s just Democrats wanting to pass a bill, any bill, and shredding anything they have to in order to get it done. It’s about taking every sin the Republicans committed when they were busy being corrupted by power and matching it with interest.
You could turn to that noted philosopher Jack Nicholson for two possible responses. But you know what's funny? Either Brooks is a complete liar or he really is an utter rube about all this. How else can you explain the incredible faith that Brooks apparently has in his hero? How else can you explain the 800-word rationalizations he offers twice weekly to the bien pensants who take the Times? What other possible reason would there be for a seemingly grown man of accomplishment to try to assign blame for this train wreck of an administration on Nancy Pelosi?
Here's the thing: in order for Brooks to believe these things, he has to simultaneously argue that Barack Obama is both a philosopher-king and an ingenue, a worldly-wise innocent. You could call it a nuanced argument, or you could call it cognitive dissonance. But you know what -- I think the rube theory is the right one. Brooks believes every word of it. If it weren't so profoundly icky and stupid, it would almost be touching.