David Brooks really is insufferable. He runs in the most elite, intellectual circles and, yet, he is completely obsessed with the working man. He works for the New York Times but he tells us that the Republican Party is the party of the white working class. What about being the party of Wall Street and rich, white people in general?
Think Progress ran a piece recently that had a chart showing that all seven Republican candidates support:
1. New tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans
2. New tax cuts for corporations
3. Ending Medicare as we know it
4. Cutting Social Security benefits
5. Repealing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms
6. opposition to the Buffett Rule, that would tax millionaires at at least the same rate as their secretaries.
All but Huntsman oppose:
1. cutting Big Oil subsidies
2. eliminating tax cuts for companies that ship jobs overseas
So, I think about why a working class person (white or any other color) would support a Republican or think that the party belongs to them. And then I read this:
Santorum is the grandson of a coal miner and the son of an Italian immigrant. For years, he represented the steel towns of western Pennsylvania. He has spent the last year scorned by the news media — working relentlessly, riding around in a pickup truck to more than 370 towns. He tells that story of hard work and elite disrespect with great fervor at his meetings…
…He is not a representative of the corporate or financial wing of the party. Santorum certainly wants to reduce government spending (faster even than Representative Paul Ryan). He certainly wants tax reform. But he goes out of his way in his speeches to pick fights with the “supply-siders.” He scorns the Wall Street bailouts. His economic arguments are couched as values arguments: If you want to enhance long-term competitiveness, you need to strengthen families. If companies want productive workers, they need to be embedded in wholesome communities.
Here’s one of my many questions: if Rick Santorum were a representative of the corporate or financial wing of the Republican Party, how would we know? He already supports lowering the top marginal personal income tax rate, the corporate tax rate, the capital gains tax, and the estate tax. He already supports big tax subsidies for energy companies and big multinational outsourcing corporations. He already supports the repeal of the only financial reforms and consumer protections to pass through Congress since the financial collapse. What more could he possibly do to signal to David Brooks that he is a representative of the financial elite?
But, then, the same is true of Michele Bachmann. It’s true of all the Republicans. If white, working class people think that these policies are going to make their lives better or easier, they’re irredeemable morons. And that’s what David Brooks is depending on. He acts like he sees and values the unique dignity of the white working class, whom he casts (a la Palin) as the quintessential Americans, transmitting the essential virtues and genius of our system from generation to generation.
For David Brooks, Rick Santorum is really only concerned about people who live in trailer parks having wholesome families.
And, get this next bit:
While in Congress, he was a leader in nearly every serious piece of antipoverty legislation. On the stump, he cries, “The left has a religion, too. It’s just not based on the Bible. It’s based on the religion of self.”
For real. David Brooks just wrote that.
If you took a working-class candidate from the right, like Santorum, and a working-class candidate from the left, like Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and you found a few islands of common ground, you could win this election by a landslide. The country doesn’t want an election that is Harvard Law versus Harvard Law.
You want to know how weak that is? Sherrod Brown went to Yale.
The truth is, Rick Santorum is the worst of all worlds. He’s a sanctimonious tightass who would like nothing more than to put the government in charge of everyone’s sex life, and he’s a representative of the financial elite, too.
Come to think of it, he’s a little like David Brooks.