My perennial complaint about David Brooks is that he absolves himself of all responsibility for everything always. Every so often he looks around and is dumbfounded at the condition of the Republican Party or the American right, and then he accurately describes this deplorable condition before moving on and behaving as if there’s no real crisis. Then something new appalls him and the cycle begins again.
I did my definitive takedown of Brooks over five years ago (“Letting this man contemplate the great moral questions in public is exactly like handing a three year old a running chainsaw.”), and I stand by that work. As someone who said in 2007 that “the foray into Iraq was one of the noblest endeavors the United States, or any great power, has ever undertaken,” it’s probably hard for Brooks to understand how the lies that led to that adventure could have also led to Sarah Palin or Donald Trump. After all, he helped to tell those lies. He’s accountable.
As of today, he’s alarmed to discover that the movement that has fed him and that he has served is acting like a Hale-Bopp comet death cult.
It’s as if the Trump base felt some security when their man was at the top, and that’s now gone. Maybe Trump was the restraining force.
What’s happening can only be called a venomous panic attack. Since the election, large swathes of the Trumpian right have decided America is facing a crisis like never before and they are the small army of warriors fighting with Alamo-level desperation to ensure the survival of the country as they conceive it.
Where David Brooks, a bookish kid raised in a Jewish family in Manhattan and Philadelphia’s Main Line, thinks he fits in the right’s vision of the future is a good question. He isn’t welcome in the Anglo-Saxon caucus, that’s for sure. What’s unclear is why he couldn’t see these stormtroopers coming from miles away.
The thing is, he does see them on a fairly regular basis. And then he forgets about them, perhaps because he has no role if his role isn’t placed somewhere on the right side of the political spectrum.
So, he manages to write about this “venomous panic attack” fueled by “Alamo-level desperation” without once mentioning that it’s all about white supremacy. I’m talking the old school kind, too, not the type that makes allowances for people who can pass for white but aren’t “Anglo-Saxon.”
I’m long past the point of giving Brooks allowances to figure this out on his own time. His column on this would be good if I didn’t know he’d be acting like he’d never written by early next week.