I NEVER kept a journal back in the quill and parchment days, and my advice to the legions of up-and-coming bloggers--beyond the fact that it's not as glamorous as it looks--is to choose your bête noir with more care than I did mine.
I'm not apologizing. I've noted here before that while Brooks may not be as stupid as Erick Erickson, or as faux-incendiary as Ann Coulter--consider, Reader, how difficult it is to choose a single avatar for those conditions!--he is Your Race Leader in Hypocrisy. In fact, David Brooks is the fucking wrapper Republican Hypocrisy comes in these days, or was 'til they went with the Teabag brand, not that that's slowed him down. He's a virtual Swiss Army knife. He's the German Shepard of all-arounders. He's among the career leaders in Pretending Republican Talking Points Are the Product of Your Own Ratiocination (13,655), Facile Moralisms (43,866), Assuming the Mantle of Middle-American Worker Without Ever Living In Middle America or Working (9,427), Average Speed in Defending Republicans Doing What Should, By His Supposed Principles, Be Indefensible (1.2 columns), and Smarm. He's got nine Gold Gloves for his work in defending his supposed moderation, by having mastered the technique of half-grimacing on those rare occasions when Jim Lehrer or--heaven forfend!--Mark Shields brings up some example of the hydrophobic rat infestation which is his side of the political spectrum. David Brooks is the sort of reasonable Conservative who doesn't mind if gays marry or serve in the military! He's the sort who probably doesn't think abortion is always murder! He is, however, the sort who doesn't exactly stand up for those "principles" when his party goes a'harvesting votes from that direction.
And I am from Middle America. To me the guy with the bone-through-the-nose Obama poster is much less a danger to the Republic than the guy who's too smart to do it himself, but doesn't mind other people doin' it for him, so long as he reaps most of the benefits. It's President Palin vs. President Daniels. President Nixon vs President Brain-Damaged B Actor. They're both out to mug you. It's just that with one of 'em you can hear the war whoops two blocks before they reach you.
On the other hand, I really had no idea, back when I started doing this, that a) The New York Times would wind up being a regional shopping leaflet; and b) that Brooks was capable of the levels of disingenuousness he's shown there. (Meaning, of course, compound disingenuousness, not the simple sort of which his career is built.)
When times get tough, it’s really important to believe in yourself. This is something the Democrats have done splendidly this year. The polls have been terrible, and the party may be heading for a historic defeat, but Democrats have done a magnificent job of maintaining their own self-esteem. This is vital, because even if the public doesn’t approve of you, it is important to approve of yourself.
Y'know, no one's gonna goad me into defending Democrats, but Reality is a different matter. The Democrats aren't in whatever situation they're in (election results are a week away; maybe we can wait that long to count the votes) because of hubris; they're where they are because they've been running from Ronald Reagan for thirty years. They found themselves, last January, with two bad choices: a compromised healthcare bill, or a failure to deliver on the healthcare promises their landslide President had made. Surprising at least one observer (me, who expected them to fold yet again), they took option A. They are now blamed for this; had the vote gone the other way they'd be blamed for that. And they are to blame, because even if they couldn't see which way the wind was blowing they could've checked in with 1992 again. They didn't lose those fights through supreme self-confidence. They lost because they thought they could win by refusing to fight. It's stupid, and when you see a crowd of ostensibly smart people doing something stupid--assuming that surprises you in the least--you look for some ulterior reason. And that reason is they're still running from Ronald Reagan thirty years later. They're afraid to propose the United States of America spend money on programs that benefit anyone other than the wealthiest 5%, for fear of being called Tax n' Spenders, and they're afraid to cut the astronomically absurd "Defense" budget for fear of being called unpatriotic. They're afraid to make corporations pay fairly, and in full, for their benefits and for the sound operation of a free and just society, and they're afraid to make them pay for shipping American jobs overseas. They're afraid of Roger Fucking Ailes. They're afraid of using the system to their advantage the way Republicans do without blinking, and they're afraid of their own constituencies. They're afraid of Ben Fucking Nelson and Evan Bugwit Bayh. Mostly they're convinced, and have been for some time, that electability is more important than being right or doing what's right, and they're convinced that corporate donations are more important than defending a belief system.
They find themselves here because they imagined, somehow, they imagined, yet again, they could deal rationally with a bunch of criminally self-serving pathological liars. Because they imagined they could compromise with the likes of you, Dave, and then you'd let them hide behind you when your people started saying mean things.
Y'know, I don't give a fuck if Dems go down to defeat next week; I think it would've been better for them if their pathetic track record in 2006-2008 led to a defeat last time, one which woke them up to the fact that "moderate" Democrats are the Möbius Band of American politics: you travel along and get nowhere but back where you started. The only thing worse than defeating deserving Democrats is replacing them with the Clown Car from Hell which is the Republican party. Y'know, Dave: the party that remained supremely self-confident as it destroyed the US economy and our military and diplomatic standing overseas. And the only thing worse than electing more of those idiots is the sort of "moderate" Republican who pretends he's not quite sure how they got seated at his table.