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Old 06-14-2011, 06:32 AM   #1
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Default David Brooks on the upcoming election

To clarify - he's a staunch Republican.

Pundit Under Protest
By DAVID BROOKS

Iíll be writing a lot about the presidential election over the next 16 months, but at the outset I would just like to remark that Iím opining on this whole campaign under protest. Iím registering a protest because for someone of my Hamiltonian/National Greatness perspective, the two parties contesting this election are unusually pathetic. Their programs are unusually unimaginative. Their policies are unusually incommensurate to the problem at hand.

This election is about how to avert national decline. All other issues flow from that anxiety.

The election is happening during a downturn in the economic cycle, but the core issue is the accumulation of deeper structural problems that this recession has exposed ó unsustainable levels of debt, an inability to generate middle-class incomes, a dysfunctional political system, the steady growth of special-interest sinecures and the gradual loss of national vitality.

The number of business start-ups per capita has been falling steadily for the past three decades. Workersí share of national income has been declining since 1983. Male wages have been stagnant for about 40 years. The American working class ó those without a college degree ó is being decimated, economically and socially. In 1960, for example, 83 percent of those in the working class were married. Now only 48 percent are.

Voters are certainly aware of the scope of the challenges before them. Their pessimism and anxiety does not just reflect the ebb and flow of the business cycle, but is deeper and more pervasive. Trust in institutions is at historic lows. Large majorities think the country is on the wrong track, and have for years. Large pluralities believe their children will have fewer opportunities than they do.

Voters are in the market for new movements and new combinations, yet the two parties have grown more rigid.

The Republican growth agenda ó tax cuts and nothing else ó is stupefyingly boring, fiscally irresponsible and politically impossible. Gigantic tax cuts ó if they were affordable ó might boost overall growth, but they would do nothing to address the structural problems that are causing a working-class crisis.

Republican politicians donít design policies to meet specific needs, or even to help their own working-class voters. They use policies as signaling devices ó as ways to reassure the base that they are 100 percent orthodox and rigidly loyal. Republicans have taken a pragmatic policy proposal from 1980 and sanctified it as their core purity test for 2012.

As for the Democrats, they offer practically nothing. They acknowledge huge problems like wage stagnation and then offer... light rail! Solar panels! It was telling that the Democrats offered no budget this year, even though they are supposedly running the country. Thatís because they too are trapped in a bygone era.

Mentally, they are living in the era of affluence, but, actually, they are living in the era of austerity. They still have these grand spending ideas, but there is no longer any money to pay for them and there wonít be for decades. Democrats dream New Deal dreams, propose nothing and try to win elections by making sure nobody ever touches Medicare.

Covering this upcoming election is like covering a competition between two Soviet refrigerator companies, cold-war relics offering products that never change.

If there were a Hamiltonian Party, it would be offering a multifaceted reinvigoration agenda. It would grab growth ideas from all spots on the political spectrum and blend them together. Its program would be based on the essential political logic: If you want to get anything passed, you have to offer an intertwined package that smashes the Big Government vs. Small Government orthodoxies and gives everybody something they want.

This reinvigoration package would have four baskets. There would be an entitlement reform package designed to redistribute money from health care and the elderly toward innovation and the young. Unless we get health care inflation under control by replacing the perverse fee-for-service incentive structure, there will be no money for anything else.

There would be a targeted working-class basket: early childhood education, technical education, community colleges, an infrastructure bank, asset distribution to help people start businesses, a new wave industrial policy if need be ó anything that might give the working class a leg up.

There would be a political corruption basket. The Tea Parties are right about the unholy alliance between business and government that is polluting the country. Itís time to drain the swamp by simplifying the tax code and streamlining the regulations businesses use to squash their smaller competitors.

There would also be a pro-business basket: lower corporate rates, a sane visa policy for skilled immigrants, a sane patent and permitting system, more money for research.



Last bit on the NYT (sorry someone emailed me this).
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:29 AM   #2
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As Lewis Black likes to say:

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Old 06-14-2011, 08:33 AM   #3
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Hamiltonian. Yay.
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:34 AM   #4
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In b4 the repugs storm in to disown David Brooks yet again.
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:37 AM   #5
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In b4 the repugs storm in to disown David Brooks yet again.

Heck, you can go on Daily Kos and find a 'David Brooks Is An Idiot' blog.
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:51 AM   #6
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I wish this guy was running.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:04 AM   #7
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David Brooks is kind of a notorious dreaming twat.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:17 AM   #8
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David Brooks is kind of a notorious dreaming twat.

+100
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:21 AM   #9
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David Brooks is kind of a notorious dreaming twat.
What about his criticisms here seem unrealistic? Does any of this sound inaccurate? Both parties are complete loons for different reasons.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:26 AM   #10
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It isn't necessarily his criticms, but his bull****ted, half-assed proposal on what should be done and how it tied into politics two hundred years ago.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:27 AM   #11
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What about his criticisms here seem unrealistic? Does any of this sound inaccurate? Both parties are complete loons for different reasons.
incredible that people cant or wont ever accept that their chosen party is not the end all be all of politics. a guy who writes a seemingly neutral article saying how pathetic both parties have become is being bashed for being a twat, with literally no other explanation as to WHY.

i think some people just hate others that dont pick a side and stick defiantly to that side. he may be republican, but he understands how the system currently works, and because his article isnt "democrats are all total POS and republicans rock", he is a twat.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Republican politicians donít design policies to meet specific needs, or even to help their own working-class voters. They use policies as signaling devices ó as ways to reassure the base that they are 100 percent orthodox and rigidly loyal. Republicans have taken a pragmatic policy proposal from 1980 and sanctified it as their core purity test for 2012.

As for the Democrats, they offer practically nothing. They acknowledge huge problems like wage stagnation and then offer... light rail! Solar panels! It was telling that the Democrats offered no budget this year, even though they are supposedly running the country. Thatís because they too are trapped in a bygone era.
These are really the same thing, imo.

Both parties stump for one thing and then legislate another. For Dem's its "Special interests are bad, keep abortion legal, minimum wage, gay rights, Rich people and bussinesses are inherently evil, universal healthcare" and for Republicans its "Special interests are bad, Sanctity of marriage, all taxes are bad, abortion should be illegal, government and unions are inherently evil, money for national defense." The problem is none of those things are what needs to be addressed, or at least not the way they are being argued over. They're basically straw man arguments. We see these adds saying "this candidate wants to make abortion illegal" and we never discuss the major problems of the nation. How much coverage is given to birth certificates, medals in Vietnam and whether the President did cocaine in college? None of that matters at all.

On their face, both seem to be really extreme, especially based on what they say in their respective primaries. Then they get to Washington and are pretty much the same.

The Republicans aren't offering any new ideas and the Democrats aren't leading. It's easy to get jaded but I still have some faith in mankind. We'll see.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:38 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by tsiguy96 View Post
incredible that people cant or wont ever accept that their chosen party is not the end all be all of politics. a guy who writes a seemingly neutral article saying how pathetic both parties have become is being bashed for being a twat, with literally no other explanation as to WHY.

i think some people just hate others that dont pick a side and stick defiantly to that side. he may be republican, but he understands how the system currently works, and because his article isnt "democrats are all total POS and republicans rock", he is a twat.
Totally agree. Many often miscast those on the other side as truly partisan, when in reality we all have nuanced views and aren't all jerk-offs (except for a few), although policitans never seem to push nuanced views.

One thing I liked in this article is that he advocates a holistic approach to problems. Too often the government pushes policies that are too narrow.

One big example is homelessness. Homelessness is not only about housing, but also about education and health care. However, the approach usually is to just provide the housing, not taking into account that many homeless people have mental health problems.

I'm seeing more holistic approaches to problems and more government agency colloboration recently, and hopefully that can continue.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:41 AM   #14
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What about his criticisms here seem unrealistic? Does any of this sound inaccurate? Both parties are complete loons for different reasons.
Nothing per se, he just, as a writer, is in love with the sound of his own voice. Sorry, ive read too many columns of his in the Times over the years. I can't be unbiased at this point.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:42 AM   #15
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incredible that people cant or wont ever accept that their chosen party is not the end all be all of politics. a guy who writes a seemingly neutral article saying how pathetic both parties have become is being bashed for being a twat, with literally no other explanation as to WHY.

i think some people just hate others that dont pick a side and stick defiantly to that side. he may be republican, but he understands how the system currently works, and because his article isnt "democrats are all total POS and republicans rock", he is a twat.
Ummm, well, way to jump to a conclusion. I dont think he's a twat for this article, i think he's a twat for the years and years of BS he's spewed in the Times.

You know who else is a Twat? Tom Friedman. And he's hardly republican.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:50 AM   #16
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Tom Friedman is a saint!!!
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:17 AM   #17
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Calling David Brooks a "staunch republican" is like calling Linda Lovelace a feminist. Only in the slightest sense of the word is there any relations. That being said, his points are fairly on track here. The Democrat's redistribution of wealth goals, and extreme propensity for spending can no longer be tollerated. neither can the Republican's just as extreme propensity for spending, and redistribution of wealth.

His point about regulations, always a favorite on capital hill, being used to squash businesses is 100% correct.

If every this country needed a second coming of Teddy Roosevelt, it's now.
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Old 06-14-2011, 10:39 AM   #18
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Calling David Brooks a "staunch republican" is like calling Linda Lovelace a feminist. Only in the slightest sense of the word is there any relations. That being said, his points are fairly on track here. The Democrat's redistribution of wealth goals, and extreme propensity for spending can no longer be tollerated. neither can the Republican's just as extreme propensity for spending, and redistribution of wealth.

His point about regulations, always a favorite on capital hill, being used to squash businesses is 100% correct.

If every this country needed a second coming of Teddy Roosevelt, it's now.
You do realize that TR was one of the most progressive President's in our history, and went on a crusade against big business (i.e. installing regulations...they didn't calling him the "Trust Buster" for nothing) during his two terms, don't you?
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Old 06-14-2011, 11:11 AM   #19
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David Brooks is kind of a notorious dreaming twat.
he's a media slut for the left, dressing like a republican. Get ready for a lot of this in the coming elections. Reminds me of when the blue dog democrats ran on republican platforms to get elected in 2006.

Bottom line to me is to get 57 defeated by ANY candidate and then shipped back to his thug buddies in chi-town. Community organize this, B HO.

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Old 06-14-2011, 11:48 AM   #20
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he's a media slut for the left, dressing like a republican.
I disagree. I see him as a conservative leaning moderate, but today's GOP base has moved so far to the right that what used to be considered conservative is now considered liberal. Ronald Reagan would never make it in today's GOP.
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Old 06-14-2011, 12:13 PM   #21
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I disagree. I see him as a conservative leaning moderate, but today's GOP base has moved so far to the right that what used to be considered conservative is now considered liberal. Ronald Reagan would never make it in today's GOP.
This is pretty accurate
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Old 06-14-2011, 12:20 PM   #22
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I haven't seen anyone disagree with the points he's making.
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Old 06-14-2011, 12:30 PM   #23
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I hear this all the time. "The GOP is so far right" now. How exactly is it more right than it was? What policies are the GOP no longer for that they supported twenty years ago?

In my opinion, the Democrats have a base that hates its own country and are basically socialists. Republicans have stayed the same and the left has gone left. And I can back it up, too.
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Old 06-14-2011, 12:31 PM   #24
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He's a staunch Republican, that, I believe, endorsed Obama last election.


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I hear this all the time. "The GOP is so far right" now. How exactly is it more right than it was? What policies are the GOP no longer for that they supported twenty years ago?

In my opinion, the Democrats have a base that hates its own country and are basically socialists. Republicans have stayed the same and the left has gone left. And I can back it up, too.
I have to interject and play devils advocate here, but the GOP has absolutely moved more to the right. Eisenhower tried to cut defense spending and avoided conflict at all cost, and in the days of Truman-Eisenhower-Kennedy, the Dems were the hawks and GOP were the doves. Nixon changed that, but he also started Planned Parenthood and the Environmental Protection Agency. The Reagans have done a lot for advancing stem cell research. Obama's tax structure is almost identical to Bob Dole's proposal in 1992, and Obamacare pretty much mirrors the plan Mitt Romney introduced in Massachusetts.

The second part of the post is completely wrong. The Democrats love our country as much as we do. Sorry, if you think the Democrats are socialists, you know absolutely nothing about economic theory. By most global standards, from an economic point, both parties in the US lean to the right... the GOP right-wing, the DNC center-right, with some ideologues scattered about.

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Old 06-14-2011, 12:36 PM   #25
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I haven't seen anyone disagree with the points he's making.
There's no room for sane, rational, intellectual commentary in today's GOP. Brooks is the antithesis of Fox News and right wing radio. Not shrill, hyperbolic and divisive enough.
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