May 25, 2011

"It has long been the supreme fantasy of establishment guardians in general, and David Brooks in particular..."

"... that American politics would be dominated by an incestuous, culturally homogeneous, superior elite 'who live in [Washington] and who have often known each other since prep school.'  And while these establishment guardians love to endlessly masquerade as spokespeople for the Ordinary American, what they most loathe is the interference by the dirty rabble in what should be their exclusive, harmonious club of political stewardship, where conflicts are amicably resolved by ladies and gentlemen of the highest breeding without any messy public conflict."

Glenn Greenwald (sounding like Rush Limbaugh).

45 comments:

Roger J. said...

While I dont thinkl much of GG, his comments are pretty much on target--but it has always been that way inside the Beltway irrespect of which party controls what.

Kudos to GG for laying it out in his inimical style.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Bwhahahahaha!

The Tea Party, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Paul Ryan, Herman Cain.......the stuff their nightmares are made of.

If only the messy, disagreable, stupid peons would just get in their place and let their "betters" get on with ruling the universe.....Ah how peaceful that would be. Then the rulers could just go home and relax with a nice glass of scotch brought to them by the seen but not heard help.

We can't get rid of these so called elites fast enough. Heads need to roll....maybe only virtually. Maybe.

traditionalguy said...

What scares me is that I enjoy hearing David Brooks takes on the issues. He does so try to keep a rational and fair point of view on messy politics. But of course he always fails to accept new ideas and new energetic leadership from outside his narrow experiences. Brooks would be a perfect opinion leader for a small geographic area with a single cultural tradition...like maybe half of NYC. The man is lost when facing the rough and tumble compromises required in a large country with a diversity of regional political demands.

Henry said...

Good for Greenwald.

Also in the New York Times this morning, an editorial on fixing the housing market. Here's the lede:

The market is not going to heal itself. The Obama administration should champion a government fix, and Congress and regulators should act on it.

You know, because it worked so well last time.

This is the coterie that never stops dreaming of the expert puppeteer. They aren't fascists so much as cultists.

Meanwhile the hard left finds itself even more dispossessed than under Bush. At least under Bush the power-brokering Democrats had to pretend to like them.

Now when Greenwald rants, or Matt Taibbi details Treasury Department corruption under Obama appointees, no one pays them mind. Sure, they still can be counted on to churn out dreary anti-Republican hit pieces, but they know they've been played.

Quayle said...

The problem is that the stupid, ignorant, unwashed masses are totally clueless about the vast breadth and depth of data, the key insights, and the stunningly remarkable conclusions that our superiors deftly deal with on a daily basis.

Like, for example....well, you know.....the key insights that are very key.

T.K. Tortch said...

He must be frustrated because they won't let him in.

Robert said...

Brooks should no longer be considered. At anything. An alleged "conservative" and "Republican" yet gets seduced by a far left Democrat because of the crease in his pants and ability to quote Niebuhr is someone who is unserious.

roesch-voltaire said...

But Henry you realize Matt Taibbi is a lefty of the best kind-- careful in digging up the facts and skeptical of folks in the power elite financial sector as well as "liberals" in big government. That said, while Brooks is prone to generalizations as are most pundits, I often find his views rational and within a conservative tradition that I admire.

Henry said...

@rv -- I don't disagree at all. Greenwald and Taibbi have been fairly consistent in their critiques. I do find their purist flailing against moderate liberals (as in my link) to be pathetic. They are consistent, but also hopelessly petty.

Brooks can be interesting, but like most columnists he rarely gets beyond the commonplace. He's always been a technocratophile, attracted more to constructs of human behavior than to actual human behavior. He's eminently mockable.

Richard Dolan said...

Brooks is a classic Enlightenment man. He believes in the power of reason, and thinks that reasonable folks can arrive at a set of policy choices that define the universe of what makes sense on any issue. It's the 'progress through science' view of history brought to bear on today's political choices. That approach is, by definition, elitist, but not in GG's silly 'incestuous prep school' way. Brooks puts the focus on intellectual achievement, not social standing.

For him, everyone's opinion is not of equal worth; some know more than others and can analyze particular problems more accurately; and the know-nothings should be politely (or not so politely) ignored. Does anyone really disagree with any of that?

The difficulty comes in trying to agree on who's the guru and who's the know-nothing in that model of the world. Brooks certainly looks to standard credentials as part of that (don't we all to some extent?), and may well overdo it on that score. But I don't recall Brooks ever suggesting that he thought the Govt was staffed with those folks, or that it was ever likely to be so staffed. I'd say he has a very realistic sense of the limitations of bureaucracy in general and Govt in particular -- two institutions that are conservative in all the wrong ways.

It's much easier to dismiss his approach (praise for the common man is as American as can be, and know-nothingism has always been perenially popular, as it is today in the idea that public debt can be controlled without touching anyone's favorite hand-out) than it is to come up with a sensible alternative.

ricpic said...

Roeschie would have you believe that members of the power elite financial sector are not liberals (or "liberals"). Tell us another whopper, Voltaire.

Carol_Herman said...

Nope. LBJ, Lyndon Baine Johnson's name spelled out ... was "famous" for his clout in DC ... where he ruled the senate.

Very discreet, I suppose, if grabbing a man's testicles while you are convincing him to vote your way ... is any indication of good breeding.

What's happening now, is what Mark Steyn pointed out. Obama marinates in the sewer water of faculty academia.

Theories? You can have them when you go to the bathroom to sh$t. But, if you think you can predict future behaviors. And, you think you have very fancy credentials to wave around ... Those credentials ain't no fumigator.

The "bookends go from FDR to Obama." In the American system power fades. If it didn't Obama would have been a WHIG. And, nothing in politics would have changed alliances.

Ask the American Indians about peace treaties ... and alliances. It can give ya a good laugh.

Carol_Herman said...

As long as you don't expect predictions to come true, here's one.

In New York's special election ... there were 3 characters running to fill Lee's seat. One of them arrived as a "tea party" candidate. And, got clobbered.

Did you know there's no such thing as a "tea party" candidate? But the democraps in that district had one advantage. People who'd usually vote for the GOP candidate, STAYED HOME!

Keep in mind that to win elections you need TURN OUT. Carrying a sign that says "Jesus saves" ... ain't gonna win ya much.

As to "war" ... yes. Politics is a war. Between two parties. And, up ahead? Possibly a clean character, with money, who runs as an independent.

But "tea party?" phony label! BEWARE. And, if you sit on your hands? The non-votes always go to the enemy's side.

edutcher said...

A couple of hundred years ago, we ran people like that out of the country.

The French sent them to Madame LaGuillotine.

The Russkies sent them to Siberia.

Everybody else just shot them.

We were too damned nice, back then.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

and within a conservative tradition that I admire.


By which I mean to say, “NOT Conservative at all” or, “So powerless as to represent no threat to the progressive Movment in America, and which might even be swayed by a pant’s crease to vote Progressive”-THAT kind of “conservative tradition.”

Carol_Herman said...

Sarah Palin is in a class by herself.

She is sending a two-hour movie to Iowa. Now, if people are willing to sit through the two hours ... this movie will be extended through small releases ... in early primary states.

IF THIS WORKS? HELLO! It's an approach to politics that hasn't been tried, before.

Can it work? You got two hours?

Scott M said...

Can it work? You got two hours?

As long as Micheal Bey doesn't direct, I might. He would zoom in WAY too much on the moose hunt action, only to end it with both the moose and hunter 'sploding in a big fireball.

Carol_Herman said...

A reminder from the "old days." Back in the 1940's, the Catholic Church used to condemn some movies, and some books, as FORBIDDEN.

This stopped with the Catholic Church realized they were creating blockbuster hits!

Now, it's gonna be the media's turn. If the media thinks turning on the Palin film will reduce enthusiams ... they may be like the pope who learned not to use that stick.

edutcher said...

Carol_Herman said...

Sarah Palin is in a class by herself.

She is sending a two-hour movie to Iowa. Now, if people are willing to sit through the two hours ... this movie will be extended through small releases ... in early primary states.

IF THIS WORKS? HELLO! It's an approach to politics that hasn't been tried, before.

Can it work? You got two hours?


It's going to be released in segments.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that the problem for Brooks is that there is an elite running this country, but to a decent extent, it does not involve those who met in prep school. Maybe Harvard and Yale law schools, but not prep school.

The problem, at least for the last 40-50 years, has been that we went, at least for awhile, meritoric. A young man can no longer just say that he wants to be a Harvard man, and depend on his father being chair of the SEC and his grandfather having been mayor of Boston to get in that school. I know kids who would have been 4th generation legacies to Ivy League schools - except that they were turned down, even having good (but not top) grades. This did not happen in the 1960s and into the 1970s.

Of course, that all presupposes that you don't have a lot of money, because if you do, and are seen as willing to give it to the colleges, that money will still buy your way into the top schools. I am talking AlGore and Bill Clinton type money, on up.

Different people get to the table by different routes. Being elected to office, esp. at the national level, helps. Staying there awhile is even better. It is not the least bit surprising that the longer that a politician stays in D.C., and the higher he rises in Congress, the more likely it is that he won't leave when his term of office expires. Rather, he just moves his office up to K St. or thereabouts.

I spent some time, a month or so ago, in D.C. trying to lobby Congress, and it is frankly scary. Hung out with a bunch of real lobbyists and got a feel for the type of money being flushed around the city. We were trying to stop patent "reform" through grass roots efforts, and were up against at least $30 million in lobbying money. So, no surprise, all the Congressional hearings had been well stacked, by the leaders on both sides. (And, one of the reasons that I am going to contribute to whomever appears may be able to beat Orin Hatch in the primaries).

Point being that power comes primarily through the control of money any more, and how that can be funneled to the politicians. Union leaders get to the table because of their control over union dues. Black leaders get there because of their control of their voting block, except that they don't seem to do as well as labor, since labor also supplies a lot of money. Wall Street is there because of money, of course. And, ditto GE (NBC didn't hurt them either).

The one bright spot in the last couple of years has been the Tea Party. We shall see.

Phil 3:14 said...

DISCLAIMER: I like David Brooks (though I disagree with the column alluded to by GG)

But talk about "cognitive dissonance"!

A liberal opinion magazine titled Salon critiquing a slightly right of center pundit regarding his high regard for elite wisdom.

Speaking as someone who came from "the wrong background" but went to the "right" school and went into the "right" profession, I'm astounded how "smart thinkers" fail to see how they get it wrong as often as they get it right.

William Buckley and Ronald Reagan are conservative icons but their backgrounds and schooling were radically different.

Was Bill Clinton because of his elite schooling or his rural white upbringing?

Phil 3:14 said...

And the GG commentary again confirms that the "wings" of the parties are more contemptuous of the center, regardless of whether its centrist Democrat of moderate Republican than the opposite wing.

Bruce Hayden said...

Brooks is a classic Enlightenment man. He believes in the power of reason, and thinks that reasonable folks can arrive at a set of policy choices that define the universe of what makes sense on any issue. It's the 'progress through science' view of history brought to bear on today's political choices. That approach is, by definition, elitist, but not in GG's silly 'incestuous prep school' way. Brooks puts the focus on intellectual achievement, not social standing.

The problem there is that it doesn't work in real life. Man is too venal for a philosopher king to ever gain enough power to impose his benevolent will on the people. Instead, the people who rise to those positions are the most ruthless, the most vain, and ultimately the richest. So, instead of some sort of ancient Greek Utopia, you end up with something approaching a Fascist state (here, I am talking the crony capital economic/political side of Fascism). The rich and connected get ever richer and more powerful because they have bought enough power to warp the government to their own ends.

Bruce Hayden said...

Was Bill Clinton because of his elite schooling or his rural white upbringing?

Both and neither. You need to also include raw political ability.

I have been told by different people that the room would light up when he would enter the room. And the sun would shine when he would talk to you.

So, I would suggest that his poor rural upbringing gave him his drive, his YLS education gave him polish, connections, and credentials, and his natural charisma and political instincts made it possible.

mccullough said...

Herbert Hoover was the last technocrat we had as President. Brilliant guy.

MayBee said...

It would be more compelling from Greenwald if he hadn't supported Christopher Dodd in 2008.

Henry said...

Herbert Hoover was the last technocrat we had as President. Brilliant guy.

"for six years that man has given me unsolicited advice—all of it bad." -- Calvin Coolidge.

edutcher said...

Bruce Hayden said...

Was Bill Clinton because of his elite schooling or his rural white upbringing?

Both and neither. You need to also include raw political ability.

I have been told by different people that the room would light up when he would enter the room. And the sun would shine when he would talk to you.


I've always had a feeling people like that are looking for someone to light up the room for them. They felt the same way about Little Zero.

And Hitler.

And Stalin.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chuckR said...

Can't remember the English guy who said

"The entire concept of socialism is based around the idea tha a large portion of the population is too fucking thick to look after themselves. Because these people are so fucking thick, they need wise leaders to look after them. Naturally, everyone thinks that they are that wise leader."

Wise leaders like on Wall Street.
Wise leaders like the captains of industry in, say, the automotive field.
Wise leaders like the last umpteen Congresses.
Wise leaders like the last few Presidents.
Wise leaders like the unelected mandarinate that brings us blizzards of regulations.

Lodestars for the next election

- stop spending money we don't have
- stop assuming indirect control of ever larger portions of the economy

J said...

David Brooks---the current manifestation of the Official WF Buckleyish-Frat boy for the Yacht club GOP.

When Davey's out on one of his cronies' yachts the galley goons ought to grab him, smear him with chum, and give him the heave ho--there are makos even off Cape Cod

Simon said...

What's funny here is that Greenwald actually thinks that he's a man of the people.

MayBee said...

Christopher Dodd:
Senator for 30 years..

graduate of Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Maryland and Providence College....

Son of Thomas J. Dodd, a US Senator from CT from 1959-1971.
======

That's Greenwald's guy.
But David Brooks, boy is he a buffoon.

MayBee said...

Dodd was first elected to Congress in 1974, to the Senate in 1980

mariner said...

Damn!

I can't see a word of that to disagree with.

paul a'barge said...

Bring it, Glenn! Wow!!!

mockmook said...

"Brooks is a classic Enlightenment man. He believes in the power of reason"

He is no such thing.

He's a teeny bopper who gets a thrill up his skirt when he sees the crease in Obambi's pants.

Nate Whilk said...

Greenwald's projection is hilarious! The stunning cluelessness! So completely lacking self-awareness! Ah, well. It's what Salon's readers want.

Roger J. said, Kudos to GG for laying it out in his inimical style.

"Inimical" is right.

Qob said...

One of the more interesting discussions I have seen was Bill Buckley talking to Rush Limbaugh. Bill frankly makes the elitists of today look like Duluth ice haulers. But that being said he had the highest regard for Limbaugh, as Rush did for him.

Truly elite minds recognize and appreciate thinkers regardless of the education or tailor - as you know Rush went straight from High School into broadcasting. The key to a mature American society is not class but dedication to the altruistic pursuit of truth. When you lapse into groupthink or preconceived axioms that support you rather than truth itself, you have lost.

Skipper50 said...

David Brooks...the "elite" who fell for Obama because of the crease in his pants. That's good thinkin'.

GM Roper said...

Too damn few understand that the so called "Founding Fathers" were not just the elites like Washington, Adams, Franklin, Buttons and Jefferson, but also Smith, Jones, Schenck, Goddard and so many others that took up arms to take on the most feared army in the world. Whether they were farmers, weavers, tradesmen or merchants they demanded freedom. We can do no less.

So yeah GG, we, the rabble are taking back our country bit by bit and the elites are quivering in their Gucci's. I expect you will likely join them behind the barricades as the rabble rises up.

Chris said...

Rush never sounds that peevish.

pumping-irony said...

I dunno, Brooks salivating over Obama over the crease in his pants.... sounds more like a dry-cleaner to me than an establishment guardian. If this is what the establishment has guarding it, it ain't gonna be established much longer.

Lazarus Long said...

Did he comment on his own post?

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