David Brooks’ may be the smartest of the New York Times stable of columnists, and let that be a lesson to all of us. Intelligence, wisdom and erudition are not a sufficient bulwark against the often adverse influence of one’s culture, accurately described as similar to the relationship of water to a fish. In this case, Brooks’ culture, his water, is defined by his almost unanimous Democrat, progressive, Trump-loathing colleagues, the corrupt and biased paper he works for, and its admitted partisan anti-President editor-in-chief, Dean Baquet.
Usually Brooks is careful about pandering to that culture or revealing how much his surroundings have marinated his brain and values; after all, his alleged role at the Times is House Conservative, a position that slowly but surely has devolved into “House Fake Conservative Who Enables The Times’ Progressive Agenda With An Occasional Sojourn Into Brooksian Pop Philosophy. His column in today’s Times, however, pretty much blows that pretense away.
It is titled “Impeach Trump. Then Move On: Stop distracting from the core issue, elite negligence and national decline.” (Only David Brooks would use a phrase like “elite negligence” that has no obvious meaning.) The piece outs Brooks as thoroughly under the power of his captors in its first three paragraphs:
Is it possible that more than 20 Republican senators will vote to convict Donald Trump of articles of impeachment? When you hang around Washington you get the sense that it could happen.
The evidence against Trump is overwhelming. This Ukraine quid pro quo wasn’t just a single reckless phone call. It was a multiprong several-month campaign to use the levers of American power to destroy a political rival.
Republican legislators are being bludgeoned with this truth in testimony after testimony. They know in their hearts that Trump is guilty of impeachable offenses. It’s evident in the way they stare glumly at their desks during hearings; the way they flee reporters seeking comment; the way they slag the White House off the record. It’ll be hard for them to vote to acquit if they can’t even come up with a non-ludicrous rationale.
Such an opening is not designed to make open-minded readers read on. If this junk were not under Brooks’ byline, I’d probably stop reading, as I often do with similar screeds by his deranged and dishonest colleagues like Charles M. Blow, Thomas Friedman, Michelle Goldberg, David Leonhardt, and others, who have spent three years stoking the hate of the Times’ overwhelmingly Democratic readership.
Let’s examine some of Brooks shared delusions:
- I not only “hang around” Washington, I live in Greater Washington, and I don’t get the impression that Republicans, GOP Senators, and people who are actually paying attention think President Trump should be impeached, much less removed from office.
I do get the impression that most Washingtonians don’t like Trump, particularly his style. Hell, I don’t like Trump. Washington, at least after the Swamp-dwellers flee to the suburbs, is dominated by the black community, and the Big Lie that Trump is a racist has been beat into its collective head for so long that blacks here believe that the President hates them. However, those who are not complicit in the various coup plots know that not liking a President isn’t a legal justification for impeaching him.
Of course Brooks, the classic elitist snob, detests Trump, because so much of the antipathy against him is based on class bias. He’s an unmannerly boor, after all; he doesn’t read much; he watches Fox News, he seems to have a speaking vocabulary of about a thousand words, he likes junk food, he has spent his life chasing money and hedonistic pleasures; he’s a businessman, not a scholar, artist, or dedicated public servant. Yecch. Nobody like that goes to Manhattan cocktail parties. ‘How dare someone like that represent someone like me?’ the little man in David’ brain shouts.
So of course someone like Brooks thinks that two-thirds of the Senate might vote to destroy the Presidency in order to save it. It’s a wish. It’s a rationalization too: “Everyone will do it,” and that will validate Brooks’ unconscionable betrayal of what once were his own values.
- No, the evidence against Trump is not “overwhelming.” In fact, it is underwhelming .People who have been out to remove the President since before he was inaugurated keep saying this, but oddly, when you try to pin them down to exactly what is the “overwhelming” evidence they are referring to, they start equivocating, making false statements, misrepresenting law and history, and proving that only their hate, their bias, and their absorption of “resistance” cant is “overwhelming.”
Theories that he has violated laws that have never been interpreted the way Trump’s lynch mob has interpreted them, for example, are not “overwhelming.” So much of the alleged case against Trump—emoluments, obstruction of justice, violating democratic norms, abuse of power, election law violations for “accepting something of value”—relies on these creative interpretations of the law recently contrived for the purpose of impeaching President Trump. They are overwhelming only in the sense that they have been devised in great volume, and have been promoted by the media relentlessly.
- Brooks is, or once was, too smart to try to get away with this: “This Ukraine quid pro quo wasn’t just a single reckless phone call. It was a multiprong several-month campaign to use the levers of American power to destroy a political rival.” Joe Biden may be a political rival, but as Brooks well knows, he was also a Vice-President of the United States who may well have warped U.S. policy to line the pockets of his son. At very least, Biden violated the government’s Executive Branch conflict of interest rules and the prohibition of raising the “appearance of impropriety.” Presidents and VP’s are explicitly excluded from those laws, but as the heads of the government, violating them is a still a serious breach of duty. If Biden were only a private citizen and a Trump critic, Brooks would have an excuse for writing what he did. However, investigating corruption in the highest offices of the land is a legitimate and important pursuit, and one that a President can and should seek assistance from foreign governments to accomplish when appropriate.
Ironically, as has been remarkably true throughout the Coup Years, Congressional Democrats are doing exactly what they falsely Trump say should be impeached for: illicitly manipulating a legal process to destroy a “political rival.” The problem is that the President really is a political opponent of the Democratic Congress, and he was elected specifically to be one. Biden, at this point, is only aspiring to be a political rival of the President. He has no power. He’s a bumbling, rapidly aging pol who never had a realistic chance of being nominated, and will not be.
There is, in other words, a valid case that Biden is not being targeted as a political opponent, but there is no question that as a former VP whose potential corruption was never investigated (like so many of the Obama administration’s machinations), Biden’s conduct is a legitimate object of Presidential concern.
- Any GOP Senator who can’t come up with a non-ludicrous rationale for rejecting the weak arguments for impeachment is too dumb and inarticulate to be a Senator. I don’t question Brooks’ assertion that many Republicans are this incompetent, but that doesn’t make the arguments Brooks is claiming are irrefutable any better.
From there, Brooks moves on to more typical Brooks-speak: the public isn’t engaged, the public doesn’t care, the public is cynical. the public is gloomy, the public assumes “the nation is in decline.” This is Brooks projecting the views of his captors that have become his own onto everyone else.
Trump supporters are not resigned to American decline; just the opposite, in fact. Trump’s message was as optimistic as Obama’s, just less of a con. “Make America Great Again” is a call to reverse American decline: the cultural debate is over what decline is.
Trump’s foes are also foes of American exceptionalism: they want global government, European-style socialism, the penalization of success, racial spoils, equality of outcomes, speech restrictions, open boarders, complete rejection of human rights for the unborn, the re-casting of core cultural values. I agree; in that direction lies American decline, if not destruction. Those who don’t want to see the Democrats weaponize impeachment to remove one of their major obstacles to those goals, however, are not resigned to decline at all.
The Democratic Party/resistance/ mainstream media alliance has given up on the idea of the United States of America, in part because a system that could elect someone they detest cannot possibly be a valid one. That’s the side that David Brooks as been beguiled into joining. Thus he can write, as his closing paragraph,
“This sense of elite negligence in the face of national decline is the core issue right now. Impeachment is a distraction from that. As quickly as possible, it’s time to move on.”
No, David, you sad and confused hostage. Your favorite elites want to speed national decline, and getting rid of Donald Trump is essential to that goal. Those who know that those elites have betrayed the public’s trust understand what’s at stake.
Once you did as well.