From The “Res Ipsa Loquitur Files”: David Brooks’ Smoking Gun NYT Op-Ed

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.

12 thoughts on “From The “Res Ipsa Loquitur Files”: David Brooks’ Smoking Gun NYT Op-Ed

  1. I marvel that they can’t seem to grasp a very obvious option. You want to beat Trump? Run a sane person who will appeal to a majority of voters on the left, right, and center. There are still enough people who will vote for anyone but Trump, that they’d be thrilled to have a palatable option. They just keep managing to come up with a handful of people who don’t meet those standards, and the constant progression toward utopia requires that all else be sacrificed. And so Trump persists.

  2. Great post, Jack.

    I’d plagiarize you too if I lacked creativity.

    Keep up the good work.

    Btw, just finished working on a documentary about our country… would love you to see it, because I think you’d love it.

  3. Jack, that was terrific!

    President Trump owns the complete political landscape in a way President Biden, VP Harris, Reps. Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez, President Obama, and the Clintons can only envy. He has gotten inside the heads of the Left side of the ideological spectrum to the degree that he drives the vast majority of their waking moments. He dominates the Left-leaning magazines, the newspapers, the talk shows, and the news channels. Had Democrats and the Left simply ignored him after 2020, they would have seriously weakened him. Instead, they continually poked the proverbial bear, along with anyone in his political party.

    Like him, love him, or loathe him…he is the dominant political force in America, more than the Democratic Party and more than the Republican Party. Republicans spend all their time figuring out how to deal with him, and Democrats spend all their time trying to destroy him.

    I’ve only been involved in politics since late in the Carter Administration, but I can’t recall any President who’s ever done that. What’s more remarkable is that he’s doing it two years removed from the Presidential spotlight.

    I was hoping President Trump would NOT run again in 2024, but Democrats’ obsession with silencing him – my means questionable and outright illegal – have made that all but impossible. And sadly, if he gets the nomination, I will happily vote for him again, just like I did in 2020.

  4. Jack, I tried to post some thoughts in response, but I think WordPress still has issues with Braves fans. If you are able to rescue one of them (I tried to post twice), I would be most appreciative.

    Many thanks! That was a fantastic piece!

  5. I would recommend that the elites watch any of the Rodney Dangerfield movies ( Caddyshack or Back to School) where Rodney is the unpolished and loud bazillionaire who always gets the best of the frustrated elites. They say life often imitates art; or is it the other way around? The Brooks’es and the other never Trumpers of the world remind me of the antagonists in those movies

  6. There’s always the option of running a better candidate. Has anyone thought about trying that? Or are they planning on just offering up more geriatric dotards and small-town mayors next time around? Maybe they can find a county commissioner or school board treasurer somewhere who identifies as non-binary to run as their presidential candidate. Who needs experience and temperament when you can have tribal identity markers instead?

  7. This is a totally accurate assessment. There is absolutely no reason at all for the leftists to obsess about Trump other than the fact he represents an obstacle to their nefarious machinations. They thought obama paved the way for their single party authoritarian police state. And when Trump stymied them by defeating the totally unlikeable Hillary , their reaction was predictable and violent.

  8. “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, (?)”

    Why indeed. I don’t know whether it’s scary or pathetic that some people really think like this at this point. Everywhere these days you see articles about how America’s Christian majority is fading away, how young people now start liberal and stay liberal, and how the red States are gradually turning blue and once a state turns blue it never turns red again. You don’t hear too much about how liberal policies have turned pretty much every city of any consequence into a mess, where, in some cases, like Jackson MS, you can’t even get clean drinking water. You don’t hear too much about how the unemployment rate and the inflation rate still remain well over where they should be today, only that they’re down from where they were a few months ago. You don’t hear any kind of analysis as to whether green energy can really work. You do get glamor shots of the squad and even of dumpy, pudding faced Stacey Abrams, however.

    I think that the Democratic party has again gotten to the space that they were 6 years ago when they really and truly believed that this country was just a step or two away from a permanent Democratic majority, and just a step or two more than that away from becoming a majority minority country where white people, and any other kind of people who tend to be more conservative, are on their way to becoming a thing of the past. That’s fine by them. If you look at photographs of the governments of some cities, they look like the government of Nigeria or some other piss-ant African country. What’s more, if anyone calls them out on this, they’re the ones who are the racists, the supremacists, and generally the bad people.

    Honestly, I think that the Democratic Party are almost geniuses when it comes to manipulating thinking, and folks like David Brooks are nothing more than useful idiots helping them manipulate thinking. But, as was pointed out, some of them are just beaten into submission, others sold out for the right to go to all the right cocktail parties, and probably others are just submissive the way some of these women on Instagram show themselves wearing ankle shackles and talking about how they do for their masters.

  9. I marvel at the persistence of the Left to delegitimize the legitimate presidency of Trump. Many a leftist ex-friend (they all abandoned me) cannot articulate what, why, or when did Trump say or do anything that undermines democracy. He has revealed the true destructive nature of the DEMOCRATIC PARTY and he needs to be thanked for that. That is what they, the likes of Mr. Brooks, revile him.

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