I’m going to quote driftglass at length here for the simple reason that I like to reward and draw attention to good writing:
Eventually even very high-powered, very highly-paid and very public political con men like Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times start to run out of road. After enough years have passed, a career’s worth of public bullshit and bad faith start to roll downhill faster than he can outrun them and no matter how many of your cronies lock arms to protect you and the scam you’re running, your past begins to nip at your heels.
Like the ghost of Jacob Marley, over the course of his professional life, Mr. Brooks has forged a vast and heavy chain of absurd claims, asinine pronouncements, outright lies and venomous slanders. He made it link by link and yard by yard. He gartered it on of his own free will and by his own free will he wore it!
And now Mr. Brooks would very much like for this ponderous and inconvenient chain which clanks along behind him to magically disappear (at no personal or professional cost to himself of course.)
Straight-up denial (I never said those things!) has worked for awhile, because there is not one living soul above Mr. Brooks who is interested in lowering the boom on him, and his aforementioned cronies have grown so dependent on the Both Siderist Big Lie he has pioneered that they dare not raise their voices even when the lies get embarrassingly ridiculous.
But flat denial is not a sustainable proposition over the long term, especially since that long and terrible chain is welded to together with names and dates and facts and figures and clearly enunciated positions and predictions. It is not merely a boo-boo or two or a misstep or two from which Mr. Brooks is trying to separate himself: he is seeking to annul thirty years of well-documented facts.
He is filing for divorce from his own past, and factual reality does not grant such requests.
I admire that kind of talent and it inspires me.