Moderates in Paradise: David Brooks

 

David Brooks during a commercial break on Meet The Press.David Brooks, the reflexively moderate New York Times columnist, is at it again, this time lamenting those poor, confused Iowa Christians who believe that the Bible’s injunction “Do not show partiality to the poor” means, well … not showing partiality to the poor. According to Brooks, this idea should extend to both policy and political discourse, but the parlance employed by the likes of Ted Cruz is deemed un-Christian by the pant-crease impresario.

Brooks finds evangelical support for Ted Cruz inscrutable. They are supposed to respond to the reassuring tones of Mike Huckabee or the pleasantly sleep-inducing Ben Carson. This is why Brooks — whose column is characterized by his unfunny and, apparently, unself-aware tendency to lecture Christians about how they should comport themselves — is confused by Cruz’s lead in Iowa. These Iowa Christians don’t seem to know their place anymore. Trump? Cruz? Please! It’s not like Iowa evangelicals have witnessed much undesired change during Obama’s tenure.

Brooks sees little in America that has changed in Obama’s tenure for evangelicals to complain about. Why don’t they simply roll with it now that divorce law is deemed fit for basket cases likes Oregon and Illinois while while marriage be defined once-and-for by one man in a robe? It’s a play so absurd, Harold Pinter and Harold Becket together couldn’t have conceived of it.

President Obama arrived unfashionably late at the marriage-rights party, though his fellow partygoers didn’t much seem to care. Future histories will show the president as characteristically behind the times, knowing that it took his vice president’s coming-out party on the issue to make him realize he was the last man in the room to get the joke. (Imagine, for a moment, being deemed less-hip than Joe Biden.)

For Brooks, it’s a given that Christian values like fairness and love are inherently progressive values and he cases his argument in a Third-Way-Al-Gore vein for added annoyance. And it’s not just social issues that have Evangelicals nonplussed. At any rate, these social-issues ingrates don’t seem unduly impressed by the managed loses of both the “bad” war in Iraq and the “good” war in Afghanistan. They don’t seem to marvel at the apparent ingratitude from the Libyan people, Congress, and NATO for their special brands of magic.

But don’t take my word for it, read Brooks’s latest column, “The Brutalism of Ted Cruz.” In Cruz’s speeches there is “not a hint of compassion, gentleness and mercy.” Brooks continues:

Traditionally, candidates who have attracted strong evangelical support have in part emphasized the need to lend a helping hand to the economically stressed and the least fortunate among us. Such candidates include George W. Bush, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

That no misprint: George W. Bush, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum all cited positively in a single sentence. In the Times, no less!

None of this would matter were Brooks not routinely identified as conservative among conservatives who should know better.

There are 66 comments.

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  1. Merina Smith Inactive
    Merina Smith
    @MerinaSmith

    I’m sorry, David, but I just can’t read anything any more by Pants-crease Brooks.  Getting through your version of it was all I could stomach, and that was painful.  I only managed because you added in some humor.

    • #1
  2. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    He’s not a moderate. He’s a vandal. He’s a fraud. He’s a shmuck and a nebbish.

    As to his lectures on Christianity, it’s interesting coming from a Jew. I don’t know if he practices, but if he does, he’s doing it wrong. If he doesn’t, maybe he should.

    He’s a first-class a-hole.

    • #2
  3. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    Since when did it become “Christian” to bow down to every whim of the Left? Some one with some clout needs to write this castrated fraud out of the Conservative Movement and out of the Republican Party. He can have EJ Dione Jr marvel at how well aligned the creases in the legs of his trousers are. David Brooks is the perfect example of why we need to bring dueling back into our society.

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    David Deeble: That no misprint: George W. Bush, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum all cited positively in a single sentence.

    Wow. I’m searching the skies for SMoD after that.

    • #4
  5. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Arahant:

    David Deeble: That no misprint: George W. Bush, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum all cited positively in a single sentence.

    Wow. I’m searching the skies for SMoD after that.

    They (lefties, which is what this fraud actually is) will always bring up non-threatening Republicans to burnish their credibility in taking down the threatening ones.

    • #5
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    I know, Franco. Just being facetious.

    Sometimes SMoD does sound like a good idea, though.

    • #6
  7. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Deeble,
    You make depression fun.
    I think Steely Dan wrote a song about that.

    Thanks for putting a light touch on things!

    • #7
  8. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Franco:

    Arahant:

    David Deeble: That no misprint: George W. Bush, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum all cited positively in a single sentence.

    Wow. I’m searching the skies for SMoD after that.

    They (lefties, which is what this fraud actually is) will always bring up non-threatening Republicans to burnish their credibility in taking down the threatening ones.

    Yes, the Left will often say that conservatives need to be more like Reagan or  Buckley, mainly because Reagan and Buckley are dead. When they were alive the Left hated them.

    They will attack whoever they think is a threat, which now is Cruz. Since W already served two terms and Huckabee and Santorum are still polling behind Pataki, they are not threatening and thus, can be used as positive examples.

    • #8
  9. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    When will we, Christians, fight back? It may be a while, but Brother Deeble does nice work here taking a swing at the fraud.

    • #9
  10. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    BrentB67:When will we, Christians, fight back? It may be a while, but Brother Deeble does nice work here taking a swing at the fraud.

    Bold prediction: Year three of the Sanders presidency when he declares income leveling by fiat or year seven of Hillary’s presidency when Iran detonates a nuke in Tel Aviv.

    • #10
  11. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Austin Murrey:

    BrentB67:When will we, Christians, fight back? It may be a while, but Brother Deeble does nice work here taking a swing at the fraud.

    Bold prediction: Year three of the Sanders presidency when he declares income leveling by fiat or year seven of Hillary’s presidency when Iran detonates a nuke in Tel Aviv.

    I am not worried about a Sanders administration. We have Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rock ribbed stalwarts of limited government conservatism in Congress to to stop the Sanders agenda!

    • #11
  12. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    BrentB67:

    Austin Murrey:

    BrentB67:When will we, Christians, fight back? It may be a while, but Brother Deeble does nice work here taking a swing at the fraud.

    Bold prediction: Year three of the Sanders presidency when he declares income leveling by fiat or year seven of Hillary’s presidency when Iran detonates a nuke in Tel Aviv.

    I am not worried about a Sanders administration. We have Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rock ribbed stalwarts of limited government conservatism in Congress to to stop the Sanders agenda!

    So you’re saying I should start digging that bunker?

    • #12
  13. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Austin Murrey:

    BrentB67:

    Austin Murrey:

    BrentB67:When will we, Christians, fight back? It may be a while, but Brother Deeble does nice work here taking a swing at the fraud.

    Bold prediction: Year three of the Sanders presidency when he declares income leveling by fiat or year seven of Hillary’s presidency when Iran detonates a nuke in Tel Aviv.

    I am not worried about a Sanders administration. We have Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rock ribbed stalwarts of limited government conservatism in Congress to to stop the Sanders agenda!

    So you’re saying I should start digging that bunker?

    You are late my friend. Can I put a few MRE’s and an extra rack in there?

    • #13
  14. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    From the cited column:

    In 1997, Michael Wayne Haley was arrested after stealing a calculator from Walmart. This was a crime that merited a maximum two-year prison term. But prosecutors incorrectly applied a habitual offender law. Neither the judge nor the defense lawyer caught the error and Haley was sentenced to 16 years.

    Eventually, the mistake came to light and Haley tried to fix it. Ted Cruz was solicitor general of Texas at the time. Instead of just letting Haley go for time served, Cruz took the case to the Supreme Court to keep Haley in prison for the full 16 years.

    Some justices were skeptical. “Is there some rule that you can’t confess error in your state?” Justice Anthony Kennedy asked. The court system did finally let Haley out of prison, after six years.

    I don’t know anything about the Haley case except what I just read in this column. Is there some reason Cruz went after Haley the way he did? Did Haley turn out to be a serial killer or something while he was in prison?

    Is there more to this story?

    • #14
  15. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Dear Mr. Brooks: When G.W. Bush and his ilk advocate confiscating the private property of individuals to distribute to others as they see fit that isn’t compassion, it is pure unadulterated marxist tyranny.

    • #15
  16. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    DD,

    Now look, Brooks is in with a very fast crowd. He is vying for Idiot of the Year. Thomas L. Friedman and Paul Krugman have been trading the award back and forth for these last 7 years. Brooks has got to play catch up.

    It doesn’t look good as Krugman has passed his rabies test again so he probably will take the award again but Brooks is really coming on. You’ve got to give credit where credit is due.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #16
  17. Glenn Inactive
    Glenn
    @Glenn

    Always found him an elite who does not like they rest of us in fly-over country. Reminds me of the progressive republicans of the early 1900’s.

    • #17
  18. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    BrentB67: are late my friend. Can I put a few MRE’s and an extra rack in there?

    There’s always room in the bunker!*

    *Disclaimer: There is not always room in the bunker, people trying to access the bunker may be excluded due to lack of room, insufficient supplies or excessive body odor. Do not look for room in the bunker if you are pregnant or nursing. In extreme cases looking for room in the bunker has been known to result in hurt feelings, lead poisoning and death. Ask your survivalist if looking for room in the bunker is right for you.

    • #18
  19. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Main takeaway from this Brooks column: don’t steal a calculator in a State where Ted Cruz is solicitor general.

    • #19
  20. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    He conveniently omits the first two strikes. Methamphetamine distribution for one.
    I don’t think the sentence of 16 years was appropriate, and it puts a dent in Cruz for me. But I’m not going to summarily judge Cruz today on the basis of Brooks’ dredging up of this from so long ago without more info.

    • #20
  21. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Glenn:Always found him an elite who does not like they rest of us in fly-over country. Reminds me of the progressive republicans of the early 1900’s.

    How do they differ from the progressive republicans of the early 2000’s?

    • #21
  22. Derek Simmons Member
    Derek Simmons
    @

    David Deeble: It’s a play so absurd, Harold Pinter and Harold Becket together couldn’t have conceived of it…….
    None of this would matter were Brooks not routinely identified as conservative among conservatives who should know better.

    If you find yourself “among conservatives” who ID Brooks as a “conservative”–demand to see their papers and then kick ’em off the train.

    • #22
  23. Ralphie Inactive
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    It seems forgotten (or never realized) that Christ did not cure all the ill, raise all the dead, and feed all the poor as he walked the earth. His mission lasted about 3 years.  The last thing he did before ascending to heaven was to command that his followers were to make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching them to obey the commandments.

    Ted Cruz must be too much of a masculine Christian for Brooks who is used to the feminine version.

    As William Grahmn Sumner said, “The rich are good natured”.   For those so inclined, his essay from over 100 years ago seems like it could be written today. Ricochet should re-publish it someday.

    • #23
  24. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Franco:He conveniently omits the first two strikes. Methamphetamine distribution for one. I don’t think the sentence of 16 years was appropriate, and it puts a dent in Cruz for me. But I’m not going to summarily judge Cruz today on the basis of Brooks’ dredging up of this from so long ago without more info.

    Good grief. The Supreme Court is a precedent-setting court, so if this is an application of the three-strikes laws, I’m not happy about it. It serves my taxpayer checkbook no purpose whatsoever to keep Haley in prison for sixteen years when we could have released him in two. It doesn’t serve Haley well either. In fact, I fail to see any gain from it. I wish Cruz had used his intelligence to figure out a way to keep the three-strikes laws from imprisoning a person who has stolen a calculator from Walmart. Oh well.

    But, thank you, Franco. At least that is an explanation. For a minute there, I was wondering if the entire country had gone nuts.

    • #24
  25. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I know I’m supposed to hate Ted Cruz for his un-Christian brutality, but somehow I find myself hating David Brooks — more than I did.

    I’m ready to make my first prediction for 2016: Open rebellion.

    We, the people, are so stinkin’ tired of being scolded and insulted, we’re ready to quit all these bastards.

    • #25
  26. billy Inactive
    billy
    @billy

    BrentB67:

    Austin Murrey:

    BrentB67:When will we, Christians, fight back? It may be a while, but Brother Deeble does nice work here taking a swing at the fraud.

    Bold prediction: Year three of the Sanders presidency when he declares income leveling by fiat or year seven of Hillary’s presidency when Iran detonates a nuke in Tel Aviv.

    I am not worried about a Sanders administration. We have Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rock ribbed stalwarts of limited government conservatism in Congress to to stop the Sanders agenda!

    And thank God for that!

    • #26
  27. Derek Simmons Member
    Derek Simmons
    @

    billy: And thank God for that!

    My cheek lacks the flexibility to take that much tongue.

    • #27
  28. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    On the Haley case: I wrote to my good lawyer friend and fellow Ricochet member Ryan and asked him if the case had something to do with the three-strikes law (and given Ryan’s response, that law may be peculiar to Massachusetts). He wrote back on his way out the door to court the following reply and said I could post it here:

    There is more to it than that. Theft of a calculator is not a felony, which means the maximum would typically be one year in jail, and there is no such thing as a three strikes law.

    SO – something had to happen to make it a felony. The first possibility is maybe that it was an extremely expensive computer, and not a calculator. Under that scenario, it is likely that the guy had dozens upon dozens of thefts on his record, at least three of which were serious felonies. The second possibility is that there was some sort of multiplier, like a weapon or something else (maybe he broke into Walmart at night) that made it into a burglary.

    [quote continues in comment 29]

    • #28
  29. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    [continued from Ryan’s quote in comment 28]

    Ultimate point being, you cannot have the scenario as it has been described. No prosecutor would take something like that to the Supreme Court, but all prosecutors are bound by a certain confidentiality that means they cannot give all the details in their own defense once the social media machine starts going. So Cruz is at a major disadvantage here.

    I am inclined to write off the criticism entirely and look at his broader record. I’ve seen way too many of these criminal cases – and the ridiculous criticism that comes from the libertarians and liberals – to believe any of what is said in retrospect.

    • #29
  30. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    MarciN:

    Franco:He conveniently omits the first two strikes. Methamphetamine distribution for one. I don’t think the sentence of 16 years was appropriate, and it puts a dent in Cruz for me.

    Good grief. The Supreme Court is a precedent-setting court, so if this is an application of the three-strikes laws, I’m not happy about it.

    The WSJ has a decent overview of the case and what it was actually about.

    In fact, Haley did have the requisite two prior felony convictions. From the syllabus: “As it turned out, the evidence presented at the penalty phase showed that respondent [Haley] had committed his second offense three days before his first conviction became final, meaning that he was not eligible for the habitual offender enhancement.”

    Thus the error here was procedural, not substantive: Haley had been duly convicted of three felonies, but because of an accident of timing, the second one should not have counted under Texas law. He was, in other words, trying to get off on a technicality.

    That is not to say he should not have. The law is the law, and there was no dispute that Texas officials erred. They too were pleading a technicality: “that respondent had procedurally defaulted his sufficiency of the evidence claim.” The question before the court was whether “the actual innocence exception applies to noncapital sentencing procedures involving career offenders and habitual felony offenders.”

    • #30

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