You wouldn’t know it some days, but there are moderates in this country — moderate conservatives, moderate liberals, just plain moderates. We...
OKAY, that's it. We is it. For while there may indeed be such a thing as a "moderate 'conservative'" in the Wild, like Bigfoot, like the new open-minded evangelical Christian, like the radio station with a decent playlist, the burden of proof is on the claimant, and it is accepted as proven until clearly demonstrated otherwise that even if there is, none exists as an adherent, a paid mouthpiece, nor as a toady for the Republican party. So let's pause at We. Even if we don't get back to the rest of your piece. We won't be missing much.
If the "moderate 'conservative'"--let alone the "moderate 'conservative'" Republican--lurks out there like some finless albino coelacanth he is, assuredly, in a state of natural grace, not a man writing books on comparative lawn care modalities. You, Mr. Brooks, are a Friedmaniacal economic radical, a position you have never renounced nor repented, and only recently began to deny owning, as though it were a gallon of toxic sludge draining into a sanitary sewer, and you hopeful the passing cop who just asked you about it didn't actually see you do it.
Had you, say, evinced the tiniest "moderate" concern while the previous administration was spending us into incontinent stretches of these trillion-dollar annual deficits you now find so objectionable we'd be a bit more charitable. But only a bit. The fact remains that our present economic disaster is the direct, predictable, and probably inevitable result of that very same Friedmania which served you the way a blinding flash of light served Saul of Tarsus (which, again, we'd be more charitable about had you ever evinced the slightest evidence of that adolescent liberalism you overcame. It, like your modern moderation, seems to consist of the theoretical possibility that you'd agree to have sex with an African-American should the opportunity present itself. And indeed this qualifies, provided the judging is entirely in the hands of Utah Republicans). We understand the impulse, god knows, but this does not entitle you to marshall the vast forces of Political Insipidity and declare yourself an aide-de-camp. You have a lot of shit to answer for, sir, and none of it involves your having been too temperate.
The U.S. has never been a society riven by class resentment. Yet the Obama budget is predicated on a class divide. The president issued a read-my-lips pledge that no new burdens will fall on 95 percent of the American people. All the costs will be borne by the rich and all benefits redistributed downward.
Okay, again: enough's enough. Find me the single Republican voice--politician, kingmaker, pipsqueak columnist--who stood against the opposite as, over the last thirty years, the American public was instructed on the necessity of letting the rich redistribute riches downward, at a trickle, and as that public saw, as a result, real lower- and middle-class incomes stagnate and the obscenely wealthy become the Obscenely Wealthy, now with More Anal Rape! I don't mean someone who expressed a middling concern. You guys are past masters of middling concern, like the fabulously rich and their abiding concern that enterprising young go-getters from the shivering classes be permitted the comforting myth of Being Able To Join Them. Name the moderate conservative who objected to that shit, loudly and in public, and kept his sinecure.
Yes, we are largely, (not never) a society un-riven by class resentment in modern times, though, like the Zen Master said to the Benedictine, I suppose that depends on whom you talk to. So it's remarkable, then, that the only time I hear the concept mentioned, aside from the occasional theoretical Marxist, is from you guys. How come, if it doesn't exist, you talk about it so much? How come, if it doesn't exist, it always seems to be invoked whenever taxes on the Super-wealthy get mentioned? And it's never your obligation to keep the thing intact; it's always the obligation of anyone who thinks a dash of economic justice just might enliven the stew to blindly obey the Tradition. Curious.
One more thing: how long before even the Times gets tired of this shit and hires a real honest stenographer like Bill Kristol again? This moderation schtick was your exact same play when Bush's little Iraq adventure blew up beyond all hope of Pretending it Didn't, or Rallying 'Round The Flag. It was your line when Schiavo suddenly revealed the presence of a statistically significant number of religious cranks previously hidden in the corners of the Republican Tent. Oddly, it wasn't the response when y'all figured the Bush deficits were no longer ignorable, and no longer attributable to the Holy War on Terra--which, while we're in the neighborhood, all you moderate, government-spending allergy sufferers signed a series of blank checks for--then it was Bush wasn't a True Conservative!
The theoretical center always rules, provided you're able to make it large enough. What it does not do is accede to your tiniest whim or unfailingly vote your way. As, for example, last time, in case you've forgotten. You don't want Democrats reinforced in the belief--which you've been attributing to them ever since you took the Damascus turn-off back at the U. of Chicago anyway--that they're empowered to solve the country's problems? You and your legion of "moderate 'conservatives'" should have done something about it while your party was creating so many of 'em.