Saturday, February 05, 2005

David Brooks is an Idiot

I realize I risk stating the obvious with that headline, but his latest NY Times column is such an pure example of classic Boboism that it defies the usual laws of rhetorical restraint.

From the title, one would (if one were not familiar with Brooks) assume that he would provide a thoughtful analysis of the rise of Howard Dean style populism. One would be mistaken. Instead, we get a paean to those good old days of Ralph Kramden:

Back in the 1950's, tens of millions of Americans were members of fellowship associations like the Elks Lodges, the Rotary Clubs and the Soroptimists. These groups had lodges or chapters across the nation, where the affluent and not so affluent, the educated and not so educated, would get together once a week or so for schmoozing and community service.

In other words, ou sont les nieges des vieux hommes blancs?

Brooks then goes on to cite from the work of Prof. Theda Skocpol of Harvard and her book “Diminished Democracy.” Skocpol (according to Brooks) observes that “professionally run groups” such as NARAL and the Sierra Club are now dominating the association landscape, and Brooks writes

Being a member of one of these organizations doesn't generally involve going to a local lodge once a week and communing with your neighbors; it involves sending a check once a year and reading a newsletter.

"Communing" often being a euphenism for "sitting around bullshitting while hoisting back enough beer to float an armada" It's just not the same anymore:

Since the 1960's there has been a breakdown in the machinery that allowed Americans to work together across class and other divisions. The educated class has come to dominate, and the issues of interest to that class overshadow issues of interest to the less educated and less well off.

Quick! Somebody alert the English Department that they’re in charge!!!!

And then the column takes its familiar Brooksian flight of fantasy:

But the two major parties were affected unequally. The Republican coalition still contains some cross-class associations, like the N.R.A. and the evangelical churches, which connect corporate elites to the middle classes. The Democratic coalition has fewer organizations like that. Its elite - the urban and university-town elite - has less contact with the less educated.

You teach in Harlem? What the hell do YOU know about the education needs of the poor?

But herein lies the real danger to society:

Over the past two years, what we might loosely call the university-town elite has come to dominate the Democratic Party not just intellectually, but financially as well.

Howard Dean, in his fervent antiwar phase, mobilized new networks of small donors, and these donors have quickly become the money base of the party. Whereas Al Gore raised only about $50 million from individuals in 2000, John Kerry raised $225 million, including $87 million over the Internet alone. Many of these new donors are highly educated. The biggest groups of donors to the Dean and Kerry campaigns were employees of the University of California, Harvard, Stanford, Time Warner, Microsoft and so on.

“and so on” being Brooksian for “teachers, factory workers, farmers, students, nurses, social workers, secretaries…”

So now (finally!) he gets to his point:

Many Republicans are mystified as to why the Democrats, having lost another election, are about to name Howard Dean as party chairman and have allowed Barbara Boxer and Ted Kennedy to emerge unchallenged as the loudest foreign policy voices.

Let me clear up the mystery for any of you clueless Republicans out there. We are tired of being bulldozed by this administration. We are tired of rolling over and playing dead while you destroy the environment, run up a debt our great-grandchildren will be paying off, run roughshod over social programs that have been proven worthy time and time again, thumb your nose at our allies and pursue your dangerous foreign policies, and screw this country over six ways from Sunday.

So yes – we want Senators Boxer and Kennedy standing up to your bullying and speaking truth to power. We want Howard Dean as DNC chair because he is not afraid of you, your friends in corporate media or your business cronies.

So, David, don’t worry about us

Howard Dean may not be as liberal as he appeared in the primaries, but in 1,001 ways - from his secularism to his stridency - he embodies the newly dominant educated class, which is large, self-contained and assertive.

Thanks to this newly dominant group, the Democrats are sure to carry Berkeley for decades to come.

Yep—we’ll carry Berkeley…and Detroit…and Davenport…and Mobile. And then we’ll carry Miami…and Phoenix…and Billings….and Minneapolis…and French Lick…and Houston…and Portland…and AAAAAAAEEEEEYYYYAHHHHH!!!!!


Post a Comment

<< Home