Ann Althouse has been annoying me lately. The liberal (of course) Madison, Wisconsin blogging ex-law prof has been gradually red-pilled, and she is increasingly issuing posts on the same topics as Ethics Alarms, sometimes before, sometimes after, often on the same day. Such was the case with David Brooks’ throbbingly partisan and biased “Why Is There Still No Strategy to Defeat Donald Trump?”last week. I started my post about it, checked Ann’s blog and found that what she had posted that morning was so close to what I was writing that I would look like a plagiarizer.
So I’m starting again, and using Ann’s post as a foundation for mine. (Maybe that will teach her.) She took the same passage that I was going to use from Brooks’ outburst…this one:
“We’re locking in the political structures that benefit Trump…. We are in the middle of a cultural/economic/partisan/identity war between more progressive people in the metro areas and more conservative people everywhere else. To lead the right in this war, Trump doesn’t have to be honest, moral or competent; he just has to be seen taking the fight to the ‘elites.’… Trumpists tell themselves that America is being threatened by a radical left putsch that is out to take over the government and undermine the culture. The core challenge now is to show by word and deed that this is a gross exaggeration. Can Trump win again? Absolutely. I’m a DeSantis doubter…. And then once Trump is nominated, he has some chance of winning, because nobody is executing an effective strategy against him.”
Ann’s contempt is palpable, and justly so:
The needed “effective strategy” against Trump is “to show by word and deed” that it’s “a gross exaggeration” to think that “a radical left putsch… is out to take over the government and undermine the culture.” I’m not even persuaded that Brooks believes it’s all that much of an exaggeration to think there’s a “radical left putsch… out to take over the government and undermine the culture.” He just wants Trump defeated and hopes anti-Trumpsters execute a good strategy to take him out…The fact that Brooks talks about a “gross exaggeration” reveals that he thinks there is something true. If there weren’t something true, you’d call it a lie, not an exaggeration.
Althouse commenter “Drago” has this gem:
David Brooks and Mo Dowd and all the others just keep writing the same column week after week, month after month, year after year.Brooks’ column is a cry for help on all levels. He doesn’t understand what happened in the past, he doesn’t understand what is happening now and he is semi-aware of his complete ignorance which explains this plea for someone, anyone, anywhere, to come up with a “plan” to remove all the uncomfortable truths poor David is forced to confront. And deep down, Brooks knows perfectly well what his fellow leftists are up to. And he clearly approves of it based on his “hot takes”….but apparently doesn’t want to be seen as too-approving of the Stasi tactics.
Why oh why can’t we just have a vast New Soviet Democratical majority with a completely tamed, and very small, “republican” minority that knows its place, and a populace that is happy to await their destruction while David attends the best of the best parties on Manhattan or in the Hamptons where no difficult questions are ever asked of the FakeCon “Republican” on the Times staff?
To which the reasonable response can only be, “Bingo!”
Now the Ethics Alarms Observations:
- If ever more proof were needed that Brooks is a Stockholm Syndrome sufferer after agreeing to join the Times as its token conservative op-ed voice, this is it. What a disgraceful exhibition. Brooks just apes anti-Trump, standard-issue talking points without offering any real evidence or any legitimate arguments, confident that the typical New York Times propaganda consumer won’t require any. He writes, “Those of us in this establishment correctly identified Trump as a grave threat to American democracy.” How is Trump a “threat to democracy,” other than a threat to derail the Democratic determination to make the U.S. a European, socialist, nanny state under the metaphorical thumb( or boot) of a single master party? Brooks doesn’t say, perhaps because the approved Axis of Unethical Conduct evidence, his “election denial,” is a difficult argument to make to the non-Trump Deranged when in Georgia, Stacey Abrams has achieved progressive hero status making the exact same kinds of claims Trump has, and with less supporting evidence.
- Brooks is a textbook “NeverTrump” bigot. He opposes Trump for the wrong reasons: like George Will, Bill Kristol, George Conway and other classist Republicans, he thinks the blue-collar originating Trump is “icky.” He’s low class; he’s not “worthy” of the Presidency. It doesn’t matter what his policies or positions are (note that Brooks doesn’t mention any at all); his enemies’ complaint is literally that “Orange Man BAD.” Their furious opposition is entirely based on Trump’s uncouth nature, narcissism and vulgar persona. None of these ad hominem critics could stand toe to toe with me in a debate and argue persuasively that Trump’s character is demonstrably worse than many recent Presidents who were not, and were never accused credibly of being existential threats to Democracy. Among the Presidents in my lifetime who I would be no more inclined to trust than Donald Trump are Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and William Jefferson Clinton. The anti-Trump fearmongering that Brooks’ pals (he keeps calling them “we”) inflicted on the nation as soon as the 2016 election was settled is based on ahistorical and illogical fantasy.
- I have standing to say this: I detest the guy, and believe that ethically-inert people like him should never end up in the White House. However, there are other vital considerations. Parties that warp and abuse the institutions of the nation while deceiving and manipulating the public to maintain power are a much graver and substantial threat than any individual. At his worst, Donald Trump is still a loyal American who supports traditional and important American values. He does not want to damage the nation; he wants, and has always wanted, to be a good President. No one achieves that office without that objective. Any individual or party that claims that it is so important to stop him that the Constitution should be defied and basic core principles of democracy erased or damaged must meet a high burden of proof. “He’s BAD!” isn’t sufficient. Yet that is all Brooks has…and incredibly, he really seems to believe that’s enough.
- Brooks writes of the relentless and unfair barrage of attacks on Trump that “It has probably pulled some college-educated Republicans into the Democratic ranks and pushed some working-class voters over to the Republican side.” What an asshole. You know, the smart and educated Republicans approve of illegitimate impeachments and Big Lies when they are aimed at Trump, but those, you know, dumb bastards who drive trucks and stand behind counters just get stubborn and dig in.
I speak as a college educated citizen who detests Trump but has been driven to prefer him and his flaws, pathologies and proclivities over the party and its supporters who want to use abusive law enforcement, partisan propaganda in the form of news, attacks on free speech and freedom of association, double standards and other classic totalitarian tools to “stop him.”
David Brooks was once a smart man; I don’t know what short-circuited to prompt him to write such an obnoxious and self-indicting column. How do you “stop” Donald Trump? You don’t do it by trying to throw him in jail along with his supporters, or with contrived plots like the Russian collusion investigation; nor by trying to weaponize dead letter laws and Constitutional provisions like the Emoluments Clause and the 14th Amendment ban on Civil War “insurrectionists,” or having multiple investigations to find something, anything, that can put him away, or dividing the nation by declaring opposition to his adversaries creates a “clear and present danger.’
You “stop” Donald Trump by giving the American people objective and accurate facts and information ,allow them to compare his record and his words with those of political opponents, and then to vote in fair and secure elections. And if a party or an adversary wants to stop him any other way, well, that’s exactly the kind of party and individual Trump emerged to fight.
Trump’s famous tweet after his first impeachment—“In reality they are not after me, they are after you. I’m just in the way…” is, sadly, on target. It is a sick turn of fate that this came to be true, and I fervently hope better and more trustworthy human obstacles emerge. Nonetheless, it is true, and David Brooks’ column neatly shows why.