Friday, September 3

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before

David Brooks, "The Alternate History". September 3

OR: What's a Phone For, If Not Phoning It In?
The Democrats could be heading toward a defeat of historic proportions in November, but it is possible to imagine a scenario in which things might have turned out differently:

[Italics in original, apparently as the literary Op-Ed version of the cinematic flashback screen ripple. And, look, I'm a guy what loves him some italics, but they're intended for emphasis, or to highlight foreign words not in general use in English, not as general-purpose warning flashers. Especially when what we're being warned about is 1) David Brooks is about to write something which is more fantasy than fact, and, 2) that this will include some sort of ideal scenario which, had his political opponents but taken the advice he didn't actually give at the time, but can now, after the fact, graft onto his principled worldview and pretend he said so all along, would have made everything shiny and ducky and grand. We already know these things. We know them because it's a David Brooks column.]

So let's us just mention there's an Option Two, in which we will have experienced a Pre-Victory Gloat of Historic Dimensions, one which has marched in column all year with the Boy Incumbents Are Gonna Get It news script which, as of Labor Day, has gone 4-25 but for some reason is still in the starting rotation, followed by another let down. What then? Let's say we could be heading toward an average midterm election. At which point [indicating fanciful scenario with abrupt change in slope] are we going to get a column declaring your own failure, or one that repeats this one with the terms altered to fit? I know which way I'm voting.

Go ahead, reader, and write the rest of Brooks' column: gee, if only Barack Obama was more like me he'd have known to resist the Pelosi Pelosi Pelosi Democrats with their pent-up Let's Make Government Huge Again, And Spend Lots of Unnecessary Billions We Raise By Taxing Small Businesses and White People itch. If only the nascent President had overruled his Cabinetful of Left-over New Left New Dealers (Tim Geithner, Peter Orszag, Rahm Emanuel) and coupled his Historically Proportioned Stimulus and Bail-out Programs to lowered payroll taxes (speaking of something whose proportions are at a certified historical level: historically low), Republicans would have seen him as the second coming of George W. Bush and rallied to his cause, giving him an historically solid minority in both Houses. And if he'd just coupled that with focusing on energy policy, which would have been a helluva lot easier to scuttle, and put all that Health Care stuff he campaigned on on the back burned, why, we'd practically be Canada right now, just out of Republican good will. Because Republicans clamor to support massive deficits so long as they don't benefit any poor people, and the Grassroots Teabag Movement is fine with generational-genocidal levels of debt so long as it's going for something it supports, like bombing shit and arresting Mesicans.

I mean, the historical record's pretty clear about that, right Dave?

Let's just note how things work in Brooks' fantasy world:
At about that time, General Motors and Chrysler started teetering.

So, after the Bush administration handed 'em $17 billion? I thought that was the bailout. Was it just a nice thank-you note for eight years of Hummer production?
By doing energy first, Democrats were able to spend the entire summer talking about technological advances, private sector growth and breakthrough productivity gains.

Right. That'll get America to click over from The Jersey Shore. Assuming it hasn't hocked the teevee to pay catastrophic medical bills.
Americans didn’t like all of it. But this wasn’t conventional big government liberalism. The Democrats seemed to be a serious party attending to serious things. When November 2010 rolled around, the unemployment rate was still high, but Democratic leaders had prepared voters for that. In the meantime, America was rebuilding its core, strengthening itself for better days ahead.

Which gave David Brooks, and the Republican leadership, sufficient leisure time to drive the bedbug-crazy, perpetually-aggrieved, dim-bulb racists from their own midst, just like they're always intending to do, and come up with a positive program to lower federal debt, solve our healthcare catastrophe, put resources into our poorest school districts, and adapt our massive military spending to real world concerns, not fear-mongering hyperbole, helping to usher in the Era of Perpetual Goodness and High Productivity. Just like they're always intending to do except, y'know, there's only so many hours in a century.

Wait a minute, why's Obama still apologizing for high unemployment when he cut payroll taxes?


Sator Arepo said...

First, I myself have a perhaps unhealthy fondness for italics as well.

Second, Brooks pretends that the current Republican party leadership, as well as the people they are currently pandering to, are as reasonable (or at least reasonable-sounding) as he is. I really don't think the Teabaggers are concerned about America "strengthing its core and girding itself for better days ahead" as much as they are (or are being encouraged to) being aggrieved about immygants, their oh-so-unfair tax burden, and so forth.

scripto said...

Italics? I love em.

"Because Republicans clamor to support massive deficits so long as they don't benefit any poor people, and the Grassroots Teabag Movement is fine with generational-genocidal levels of debt so long as it's going for something it supports, like bombing shit and arresting Mesicans."


R. Porrofatto said...

I'll give William Kristol one thing, as prodigiously wrong as his advice and predictions are, at least he proffers them in real time.

[Kristol, advice to Obama.] No tax hikes, no Afghanistan deadline, no Ground Zero mosque. It’s really pretty easy. They’re all the right thing to do (as you surely know with respect to Afghanistan and the mosque, and must suspect with regard to taxes). Doing these three things will stabilize your approval rating and could lead to an uptick before the election. November will be rough but not disastrous.
Then major cuts in domestic discretionary spending in the budget early next year, and military action against the Iranian nuclear program—and you’ll have a real shot at a successful presidency.

Sure it's ridiculously misguided, misinformed, and bewildered, and as risk-free in its unprovability, but there it is. Counterfactual history, the hip new euphemism for anal leakage, is even worse hackery, so, y'know, Brooks.

cleter said...

"a serious party attending to serious things"

Yes, the party of tea-bag hats and birtherism would have calmly let the Democrats be "serious."

But seriously. is Bobo saying health care isn't "serious"? It's some kind of frippery? I bet he wouldn't say that if he didn't have any.

heydave said...

The first sentence treats us to "could be" and "might have?" And someone actually continued reading?

Mara said...

"In the meantime, America was rebuilding its core, strengthening itself for better days ahead."

So all this time America should have been doing, what, sit-ups and leg lifts?