Pssst! David Brooks! Proposing A Solution That Doesn’t Exist Is Lazy And Unethical

I saw the headline, “A 2024 Presidential Candidate Who Meets the Moment” in the opinion section of my digital New York Times and saw that the writer was David Brooks, the pseudo conservative, what-passes-for-an-intellectual pundit who at least poses as rational much of the time. I had to click..who could it be that Brooks believes is the promising man or woman who can lead the nation back to unity and sanity? I searched my memory banks and couldn’t imagine who it might be. Having given up on the guessing game, I finally read his column.

Do you know who Brooks’ 2024 Presidential Candidate Who Meets the Moment is?


Brooks spends the entire column laying out how bad he thinks things are, how crucial it is to have a leader who can navigate the stormy political and social seas while regaining the public trust, and concludes by listing all the qualities his imaginary savior should have:

I’d start by making this candidate culturally conservative. I’d want the candidate to show by dress, speech and style that he or she is not part of the coastal educated establishment. I’d want the candidate to connect with middle- and working-class voters on values and to be full-throatedly patriotic.

Then I’d make the candidate economically center-left. I’d want to fuse the economic anxieties of the working-class Republicans with the economic anxieties of the Bernie Sanders young into one big riled populist package. College debt forgiveness. An aggressive home-building project to bring down prices. Whatever it took.

Then I’d have that candidate deliver one nonpartisan message: Everything is broken. Then he or she would offer a slew of institutional reforms to match the comprehensive institutional reforms the Progressive movement offered more than a century ago.

I guess I’m looking for a sort of modern Theodore Roosevelt. But heck, I don’t know. What’s coming down the pike is probably so unforeseeable that I don’t even have categories for it yet.

Gee, thanks David. When I am on my deathbed, I will wish I had the 7 minutes of my life back that I wasted on this wisdom. Stuck for an idea for a column were you? Well, too bad: this isn’t constructive, it isn’t helpful, it isn’t analysis. It is the Presidential candidate-search equivalent of “do something.”

Brooks’ clickbait woolgathering reminded me of a memorable moment in the California primary debate late in the campaign for the Democratic Party nomination battle in 1968. Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated, and George McGovern exploited the tragedy to announce his late candidacy splitting the Kennedy delegates and the opposition to Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, the establishment favorite. Gene McCarthy, the rebellious Senator who had galvanized resistance to the Johnson policies in Vietnam, knew that McGovern’s opportunism effectively knee-capped his chances, and he was in a wry mood during the debate. The candidates were asked what they would look for in a running mate, and McGovern launched into a long recitation of every positive character trait and credential imaginable. McCarthy ‘s turn was next, and he quipped that everyone should forget about Vice-Presidents, since the figure McGovern had described obviously should be President.

As with all problems in the real world, we have to work with the resources we have. Lobbying for ideal solutions when there are none just wastes time.

2 thoughts on “Pssst! David Brooks! Proposing A Solution That Doesn’t Exist Is Lazy And Unethical

  1. David Brooks has no clue about reducing anxieties of working class Republicans. Spending like a drunken sailor to buy Bernie votes will never get approval from conservatives. As to coastal elites, the moment you use he word elite you denigrate, through implication, those not considered the best and brightest. Some of the best and truly bright citizens would never consider themselves elite nor would they want others to make such comparisons.
    When a candidate is considered ideal what it means is they are the most electable and not the best leader. Getting people to follow you as you drop money in front of them is like baiting deer as you sit in your tree stand. True leadership gets people to postpone their wants to achieve a bigger payoff.

  2. He says the time is ripe for another Ross Perot type. No it’s not. All Perot did was siphon votes away from GHWB and open the way for Bill Clinton. A third party would do nothing but split one party and hand the election to the other.

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