David Brooks: It's a Pity We Didn't Drive a Stake Through Barry Goldwater's Dead Heart When We Had the Chance

The Last Honest Man in American politics is also, apparently, the Last Moderate:

In these columns I try to give voice to a philosophy you might call progressive conservatism. [...]

This general philosophy puts me to the left of where the Republican Party is now, and to the right of the Democratic Party. It puts me in that silly spot on the political map, the center, or a step to the right of it.

The center has been losing political power pretty much my entire career. [...]

Politics is more polarized than ever. The two parties have drifted further to the extremes. The center is drained and depressed. [...]

These shifts in the electorate have had predictable effects on the two parties. During periods when the government war is at full swing, the libertarian/Goldwater-esque tendency in the Republican Party becomes dominant and all other tendencies become dormant. That has happened now. [...]

This is a disappointing time. The Democrats have become the government party and the Republicans are the small government party. The stale, old debate is back with a fury. The war, as always, takes control.

In case you didn't get the message that the Brooksian position represents intellectual curiosity while the "libertarian/Goldwater-esque tendency" is a dog-whistle of "predictable" groupthink, the columnist calls the Government War a "theological debate," " a "social script," "playing out just as you'd expect it to," with "everybody [falling] into their preassigned roles," "strengthening those with pure positions and leaving those of us in the middle in the cross-fire."

Like President Obama and his festival of "false choices" and "tired debates," Brooks' exasperation at the "stale, old debate" is masquerading as above-it-all pragmatism and honesty, when in fact it's an expression of frustration that the opposing side of the argument hasn't had the good manners to declare defeat. David Brooks didn't think the debate over the size of government was stale and old in 2004; he thought that was a particularly bully time to celebrate "the death of small-government conservatism," and pronounce that his then-ascendant "progressive conservatism" was the blueprint for the GOP "to become the majority party for the next few decades." No wonder he's depressed: Not only was he terribly wrong on both policy and politics, but Republican (and Tea Party) upswings have come as a direct result of at long last rejecting Brooks' advice.

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  • Young 'Un||

    "And now you see why evil will always triumph, because good is dumb."

  • ||

    "I see that your schwartz is a as big as mine...now let's see how you handle it."

  • ||

    I hate it when my Schwartz gets twisted!

    The Adm Piett wannabe in that movie actually looks like a young David Brooks.

  • ||

    Distrust of government is rational, well-supported by centuries of human experience, and logically consistent, given what we know about human nature. Given that such distrust makes sense, it's hardly a mad leap off a cliff to suggest that limited government is a superior idea to unlimited government. We can argue about where to draw the line, but whether government should be constrained mightily by limits is not rationally debatable. Unless you want to be or work for an evil overlord, that is.

  • Valerie Jarrett||

    Distrust of government is rational

    No it isn't! It's sick. Sick!

  • ||

    Well I guess the founders were sick then. And that is an "illness" I wish were truly epidemic.

  • Valerie Jarrett's Rectum||

    You'll love us once you find out what's in us!

  • ||

    I try to give voice to a philosophy you might call progressive conservatism.

    Wow, two reasons to hate this punk. As usual the narrow mind is incapable of seeing any other dimensions to the political spectrum than left and right.

  • bmp1701||

    How is one a "progressive conservative?" That sounds like a "pacifist warlord" or a "virgin pornstar."

  • ||

    You laugh but today in DC I saw a huge ad with a giant head of Nursultan Nazbayev bragging about how he'd destroyed all the nuclear arms he'd inherited from mother russia.

  • Ike||

    When you hitch your reputation to movements instead of solid ideas, don't be shocked when you find yourself adrift.

  • DJF||

    “””progressive conservatism.””

    So exactly what is he progressing toward and what is he conserving?

  • O'Brien||

    In order to preserve the past, we must change everything. If you don't understand that, you may need some time in Room 101.

  • BeesInTheBrain||

    Politics is more polarized than ever.
    Damn, things are worse than I though. I was completely unaware that states were seceding from the union.

  • CJ||

    If states were seceding, I'd view that as better than I thought.

  • ||

    This general philosophy puts me to the left of where the Republican Party is now, and to the right of the Democratic Party. It puts me in that silly spot on the political map, the center, or a step to the right of it.


    Just make sure you stay on that one dimensional line David. If you step off of it, nobody knows what kind of heretical thoughts might enter your head.

    Thinking is hard.

  • ||

    Just to show that I'm not stuck on that line, let me praise Barney Frank and Ron Kind for joining Jeff Flake and Paul Ryan in denouncing the idiotic "solution" to the Brazil cotton dispute.

    1) US subsidies cotton.
    2) Brazil complains to the WTO and threatens retaliation.
    3) Solution: US subsidizes Brazilian cotton farmers as well.

    Brilliant.

  • virginia||

    WOW!

    The stupidity from Washington never ceases to amaze.

    Thanks for posting.

  • Patrick||

    This comment is better than the entire post to which it responds, and I HATE David Brooks.

    Best thing on Hit & Run today.

  • Global Subsidy||

    You will grow to love me!

  • ||

    HA! That's a three pointer J sub

  • oncogenesis||

    +3D

  • ||

    "playing out just as you'd expect it to," with "everybody [falling] into their preassigned roles,"

    Aiighh, the projection! It burns!

    Brooks decries TEAM RED TEAM BLUE while 1) completely adhering to it, and 2) acting like they're somehow different. Brooks is a wonderful combination of deluded and idiotic, that makes him rather like Gary Busey getting his mug shot taken but not understanding what he did. By the way, Busey was hilarious on Entourage, freaking Drama out and all.

  • ||

    "That's hardly important, but if it matters, you may call me Mr. Joshua."

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Wasnt it Turtle?

    "Frankly Gary, You scare the shit out of me."

    Rub and Tug!

  • ||

    I think it was both Turtle and Drama. Didn't Drama buy Busey's sculpture?

  • Young 'Un||

    Anyone else just notice that the Reason Gear girl is suddenly smiling now?

  • ||

    I also think she looks very snazzy in her Reason polo rather than like a high stoner chick in a hoodie

  • ||

  • ||

    "Progressive conservatism" = we'll steal it slowly enough that we *might* not kill the goose.

  • no one||

    "Progressive conservatism" = moderate Democrat
    "Compassionate conservative" = moderate Democrat

    I see a pattern.

  • ||

    The Democrats have become the government party and the Republicans are the small government party.

    From what planet does he write this fantasy-laden drek?

    C'mon, admit it. The Times keeps him around as, in their minds, he represents the leading edge of conservative thought, so as to parade him in front of their constituents much as a freak show barker flings back the curtain on the retarded monkey-boy to unwitting patrons, howling and masturbating in the corner of his cage.

  • ||

    It's not entirely fantasy-laden. He's afraid that the Republicans might move away from his preferred "compassionate conservativism" back to a somewhat more libertarian stance. In politics you shouldn't expect sudden total reversals; everything happens at the margins.

    And at the margins, the Republicans are finally rejecting some Frumsian-Bushian-Brooksian ideas-- and Frum and Brooks hate it.

  • ||

    You'll be sure to let us know when the Republicans, as a party, not one or two candidates, become the party of small government again, right?

  • ||

    Rejecting Brooks and Frum is a good first step.

    They're less big government than they were the last eight years. I doubt it will be ever be enough for you or really for me, though honestly it's the fault of the American people as well.

  • ||

    I think the problem is that the national GOP views the many libertarian streaks within the party as evidence of a disease, which must be stamped out at all costs.

  • ||

    I think the problem is that the national GOP views the many libertarian streaks within the party as evidence of a disease, which must be stamped out at all costs.

    The "national GOP" is a collection of people. The "national GOP" cares about winning elections.

    The people who wanted to stamp out libertarianism, including Frum, Brooks, and GWB, viewed it like this:

    1) Clinton's Third Way keeps winning elections.
    2) We need to get some of that.
    3) Hey look, it worked, we won in 2000, 2002, 2004.

    When it was working, everyone on the GOP team played along. Once it stopped working in 2006 and 2008, "the national GOP" rebelled against it.

  • ||

    And thus, why they never should be trusted with any real power ever again.

    C'mon, this is Scorpion and the Frog 101.

  • ||

    And thus, why they never should be trusted with any real power ever again.

    How does that follow? Seems fairly clear that when the GOP ran on small government, they governed that way. When they ran on compassionate conservatism, they governed that way.

    Seems that the trust deserved depends on how they run, something that is not settled for 2010 or 2012 yet in any case.

  • ||

    How does that follow? Seems fairly clear that when the GOP ran on small government, they governed that way. When they ran on compassionate conservatism, they governed that way.

    No, they ran on limited gummint and once they controlled both houses and the executive, the gloves came off.

    IOW, they got into power with grand promises of limited gummint and didn't even skip a beat once the neo-cons took over.

  • ||

    No, they ran on limited gummint and once they controlled both houses and the executive, the gloves came off.

    IOW, they got into power with grand promises of limited gummint and didn't even skip a beat once the neo-cons took over.

    Nope, utterly wrong. GWB didn't run on limited government. He ran on rejecting limited government in favor of Third Way "compassionate conservatism."

    And by 2000, the GOP had already discarded most of the Congressional leaders that had come into office promising limited government, except for Dick Armey, who left soon enough after because he couldn't stand the compassionate conservatism.

  • ||

    IOW, they got into power with grand promises of limited gummint and didn't even skip a beat once the neo-cons took over.

    They were losing seats in '98 and 2000. GWB and cronies argued that this was because the limited government message wasn't playing well compared to Clinton's Third Way (and, yes, "trust in government" was up as a result of the '90s), and that the GOP needed to get on the bandwagon of the "compassionate conservatism" Third Way.

    They argued that Bush won in 2000 by swimming against the GOP tide, and that 2002 and 2004 vindicated this strategy.

    It all came crashing down later, and 9/11 obviously affected the elections. But it's also true that limited government ideology was seeming a spent force after Clinton deflected it and triangulated it. Everyone wanted that new moderation.

  • ||

    I hear you, but the retreats on the healthcare deform law (not gonna repeal it, wouldn't be prudent) and on the financial services crap are not promising developments.

    In 1994, I think there were some real libertarian threads in the reformist movement. Now, I see big government Republicans who still aren't willing to talk about seriously reining in government power calling the shots. 'Cause if they were to talk that way, they might not have that power when they get back in the saddle. And, of course, they fear that any hint that they'll reduce the goodies will kill them at the polls.

  • ||

    but the retreats on the healthcare deform law (not gonna repeal it, wouldn't be prudent)

    Weird fact: Who's the head of this organization to repeal Obamacare? George Pataki, of course.

    I certainly don't believe that the Republicans are pure, but it's also untrue that there's been only retreat on the stupid healthcare bill. There's more of a split. Most of the members who have floated not repealing have had to backtrack.

    So I'd call it more a work in progress.

  • ||

    It stopped working in '06 and they still played along with it in '08.

    And how are they treating Rand Paul and Gary Johnson in the runup to '10 and '12 again?

  • ||

    And how are they treating Rand Paul

    Well, you have Bunning, Palin, and Forbes endorsing Rand Paul. And you have Greyson with Cheney, McConnell, and a couple others. I believe Northern Kentucky Right to Life endorsed Rand Paul, while the Kentucky Right to Life PAC endorsed Greyson. Rand also has Concerned Women for America, Gun Owners of America, and the Republican Liberty Caucus.

    There's no monolith.

    In the end, it's all up to the voters.

    The Indiana Senate race has its own splits as well. It's an interesting primary there, and the endorsements are really split.

  • ||

    The RLC? Well, I'm not sure they're exactly beloved. I get more of an impression that many in the party leadership would like to purge the RLC.

  • ||

    It stopped working in '06 and they still played along with it in '08.

    Granted that Campaign Finance Reform is incredibly stupid and violates the First Amendment, McCain opposed most of the most idiotic things that Bush did, especially on spending (discretionary, Medicare drugs, farm bills, highway bills, and useless defense projects), free trade, and some of the dumbest war-related things, even though he was on Team Red.

    People on this site, of course, didn't care about, because they were interested in punishing the Republicans for two terms of Bush. (And apparently having the sort of VP candidate who would endorse Rand Paul is much worse than having the sort who would endorse Greyson.) So to me, I'd say that people here are just as bad about being stuck in the past as the Republicans.

    President Obama has done absolutely nothing that has surprised me at all, up to and including the use of drones and assassinations instead of holding prisoners. I'll admit only to be mildly surprised that he's bothered to enforce the drug laws so much.

  • ||

    McCain opposed most of the most idiotic things that Bush did,

    Nonsense. Iraq War? TARP? Both of those involve a ton of spending, and Johnny Mac was vociferous in his support of both.

  • ||

    Nonsense. Iraq War? TARP? Both of those involve a ton of spending, and Johnny Mac was vociferous in his support of both.

    There was such a large number of idiotic things that Bush did, that I could concede those two and "most" would still be true.

    TARP actually isn't going to cost the government nearly as much money as the auto bailout portion of it-- except that the government is going to redirect paid back TARP funds towards new spending.

    And if McCain's advice on the Iraq War (from more troops at the start to avoiding Gitmo) had been followed, it still would have been less of a disaster.

  • zoltan||

    TARP actually isn't going to cost the government nearly as much money as the auto bailout portion of it--

    The auto bailout portion that John McCain suspended his campaign to grease the wheels for!?!?

  • ||

    Iraq War? TARP? Both of those involve a ton of spending, and Johnny Mac was vociferous in his support of both.

    This also reminds me that no one actually gives a shit about farm subsidies.

  • ||

    eople on this site, of course, didn't care about, because they were interested in punishing the Republicans for two terms of Bush.

    You keep beating this drum and I still call bullshit.

    This isn't to say that some people here might have done that, but even if no one here decided to "punish" the R's, the math still wouldn't have made a difference.

    Again, I will point out that most people, beside the Reason staff, here also punished the D's and still, no difference.

  • ||

    This isn't to say that some people here might have done that, but even if no one here decided to "punish" the R's, the math still wouldn't have made a difference.

    I'm not allowed to assume that people here are representative of any significant number of people in the real world?

    Great, I guess you've conceded my oft-made point that there just aren't enough libertarians among the American people and that it's foolish to expect any political party to be libertarian enough to suit us and still win elections.

    (And really, you doubt that people stayed home or voted against Republicans to punish them?)

  • ||

    (And really, you doubt that people stayed home or voted against Republicans to punish them?)

    Oh, I don't doubt that at all, but because people here did that? Nuh-uh.

    Great, I guess you've conceded my oft-made point that there just aren't enough libertarians among the American people and that it's foolish to expect any political party to be libertarian enough to suit us and still win elections.

    That's pretty much it. Puts the the idea that libertarians should support the GOP to bed, doesn't it?

  • ||

    There is some hope. There are Republicans like Paul Ryan and Rubio who do actually want to reform and reduce government. They are small in number but they exist and they are doing well. Rubio is killing Crist in Florida.

    And if you don't believe Rubio is a real small government guy, consider this. Rubio actually said on national TV that we are going to need to raise the retirement age and forgo cost of living raises if we want to keep Social Security solvent. Crist then promptly accused Rubio of wanting to punish old people and stated that he could fix social security by "eliminating fraud and waste". And he said it with a straight face. No kidding.

  • ||

    I think Marco is a bit of a mixed bag, but Crist is horrific. Except for the Hamiltonian tan. Gotta give credit where credit is due!

  • celtigirl||

    "Except for the Hamiltonian tan."

    2 bits, 4 bits, 6 pits, a peso. All for Zorro stand up and say so!

  • ||

    Paul Ryan voted for TARP and taxes targeted specifically at AIG bonuses. He's another wolf in sheep's clothing.

  • ||

    Once again I am reminded that no one actually gives a shit about farm subsidies (well, among those who oppose them). Including libertarians.

  • ||

    If you're talking about opposing the farm subsidy bill passed under Bush, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the War spending and the bailouts. One has to prioritize. If you're talking about eliminating all farm subsidies, take a number behind ending the drug war and eliminating Social Security in the not-politically-viable queue.

  • mark||

    Argh, why do you have to ruin my day like that!

  • retarded monkey-boy ||

    Not retarded before steve smith encounter.

  • Fluffy||

    Wow, I am SO surprised that an advocate for big government is upset when the political debate is between advocates of big government and advocates of small government.

    What a shock that he would prefer that the debate be between advocates of big government and advocates of bigger government!

    And make no mistake, that is what everyone who claims to be a "pragmatist" actually wants.

  • ||

    It's not even big govt vs. bigger govt that he wants -- it's big warfare govt vs. big welfare govt. Unfortunately, both sides usually win that debate.

  • ||

    And we get so screwed. Without lube or an ear nibble. Not even a timer.

  • ||

    In these columns I try to give voice to a philosophy you might call progressive conservatism.

    Well you certainly need to re-branding. We use to call it "compassionate conservatism", but now that's associated with war, torture, new entitlements, leaving children behind, runaway deficit spending, and a general raping of the American People to fund payouts to preferred special interests.

  • ||

    Progressive conservatism sounds to me like it has the same dynamic as the "socially liberal/fiscally conservative" brand.

    When socially liberal conflicts with fiscally conservative, its always the latter that gives way.

    When progressive conflicts with conservative, its always the latter that gives way.

    Ergo, the fiscally conservative and conservative parts of these brands are shams. David, you are a progressive. Revel in it, while you can.

  • ||

    The problem with the "socially liberal/fiscally conservative" brand is that only a small percentage of them are actually libertarians, and quite a lot of them are actually the opposite of libertarians. For the latter, it means that they're opposed to bigger government in principle, but favor it for this one pressing issue-of-the-day, because they're "not ideologues."

    This latter group of idiots, for whom not being an ideologue always means more government, is exactly to whom President Obama appealed. Ah well.

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    I've concluded there's no such thing as a libertarian. There are only future liberals and conservatives in gestation.

  • ||

    socially liberal/fiscally conservative

    See, now I always presume that libertarians, tired of the blank cocker-spaniel looks or accusations of being a LaRoucher, use this to describe their political stance in terms the hoi polloi can grok.

  • ||

    Yeah, probably, but even if almost all libertarians do that, they're still swamped by the mass of hoi polloi who describe themselves that way but make exceptions for every single thing that comes along.

  • ||

    Isn't that breed the libertarian democrat?

  • ||

    Like Terry Michael? By the way, I'd like to quote an email that Terry sent me the other day:

    "You are just a garden variety idiot. It is stunning how disgusting you are, whoever you are, hiding behind your cloak of anonymity."

    That's 100% for real. I'm so proud.

  • ||

    You get hate mail? Awesome.

  • ||

    Yeah, it's pretty great. I also get fan mail, which is nice, but Terry's hate mail is fantastic. He's REALLY angry.

  • ||

    Awww, I never get any hate mail. /zoidberg

  • ||

    Nice. I've gotten a few feminist slavering at me, but nothing that good.

  • ||

    I once got a very angry e-mail about my crazed liberal ways when someone misread a sarcastic comment I made. I actually responded, which was probably foolish.

  • ||

    Was it for something you posted here?

  • ||

    I never check my EAP gmail account, but if someone were to email me, I'd find that creepy. Like when people get email from strangers after having a letter to the editor published. It's just inappropriate.

  • ||

    Yes, this is how I interpret it too, but the problem is that it makes it sound like libertarianism is an inconsistent philosophy, mixed between the purity of liberalism and the purity of conservatism.

    Of course, it's actually the liberals and conservatives who are inconsistent when viewed on the spectrum of choice vs. control rather than right vs. left.

  • ||

    Flip it. Brooks is socially conservative/fiscally liberal. It's like taking the evil from Team Red and the stupid from Team Blue.

  • ||

    Maybe you are on to something there, but how is that different from merging the stupid from Team Red with the evil from Team Blue?
    Frum and Brooks combine a lot of both, from both teams.

  • Barack Obama||

    Opps. Ya got me.

  • ||

    Socially liberal generally means pro abortion and gay marriage and maybe pro legalizing drugs. But it almost never means pro gun or being against any sort of government intervention besides those listed.

  • ||

    I think "social" covers all the pelvic issues, as well as non-nicotine drugs and non-right-wing speech. Gun rights/control really count as a "social issue" in most people's minds. Not sure about environmental issues, since liberals are certainly not liberal on those.

  • ||

    To me to be a true "social liberal" you should have to believe that everyone in society should be able to live, within a very few limits, pretty much how they want. Since almost no one on either side believes that, I find the claim that there are lots of "social liberal" voters to be laughable.

  • ||

    That would seem to include economic liberty as well, though. So if you're going to differentiate between the two, you need to specify which issues are "social" as opposed to "economic".

    Personally I believe you can't really separate the two, but I'm just going by the working definition that seems to be in use among commentators.

  • ||

    I agree with you that you can't separate the two.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    What people like Brooks would call being fiscally conservative is really being a willing tax collector for the welfare state.

  • ||

    leaving those of us in the middle in the cross-fire.

    Isn't this pretty much a tautology?

  • ||

    Don't point out David's stupidity, RC. It makes him sad, and then he writes more. Which none of us want.

  • ||

    + 1,600,000

  • ||

    How the left, which collectively gnashed its teeth when Bush and the GOP Congress were calling the shots, doesn't get the danger of unlimited government is beyond me. Is it just partisanship, or do they secretly love the idea of oppression?

  • ||

    It's both, ProL. Seriously. It's both.

  • ||

    I don't feel so good.

  • ||

    Don't worry. The nausea and vomiting will subside in 3 or 4 decades, assuming the chronic vertigo and bowel obstructions don't kill you before then.

  • ||

    Don't worry, under OBAMACARE, it'll take two decades to get to your case.

    The most you can expect is Dramamine and prune juice.

  • Barack Obama||

    Bush was a piker. I'll show y'all how to oppress.

  • ||

    Nobody has every accused a lefty of being able to see further than the tip of his nose

  • nekoxgirl||

    From my experience, hatred of the opposite party pretty much keeps the base in line for both Democrats and Republicans. Oppression is fine, as long as it's their team that's oppressing them.

    It use to be that mention of the Patriot Act made the Left see red but I guess it's fine now that Obama is in charge. Some of the bloggers at Daily Kos have actually expressed a hope that Obama will use the Patriot Act to better keep an eye on the Tea Parties and militias. My how things have changed!

    The idea of Bush spying on them though, that was just beyond the pale. I mean, Bush was pro-life, and talked funny and umm...lived in Texas. Because those things are what really matters. Not all that violating the Constitution stuff.

  • Jerry||

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    The decontamination has worked: Nobody thinks of that inept loser Margaret Thatcher anymore when they think of the Tories. Not since New Coke eliminated all that Coca-Cola baggage, or maybe since Jefferson Starship became Starship, have we seen such a stunning break with the past.

  • ||

    And worse than that Tim, the vacuum created by the "decontamination" of the Tories among the elites is now being filled by the British National Party. When you the entire political class tells a large section of the country to go screw themselves, someone, and it is usually a nut, will step in talk to them for you.

  • ||

    Actually, it's the UKIP picking up the middle class disaffected Tories. The BNP picks up a mix of working class Tory and Labour voters. Actually does better in the Labour heartlands than the Tories ever did, unsurprising since the BNP is pretty left-wing on economics.

  • ||

    I stand corrected.

  • ||

    I remember when they rode in an airplane.

  • ||

    Nobody thinks of that inept loser Margaret Thatcher anymore when they think of the Tories

    Much as I dislike Cameron, note that the newly formed Liberal Democrats (Liberals + Social Democrats == Lib Dems) led the polls before one of Thatcher's victories.

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    Outside of Brooks' ugly, bald, nebbishy head, there is this thing called Reality, where his dream of big-government conservatism was put into practice for eight years. The result was a bunch of endless wars, the destruction of capitalism, and a 27 percent increase in debt relative to GDP -- the largest since World War II. He's lucky Los Tiempos de Nueva York has total contempt for conservatism, or he'd have been out of a job years ago.

  • NY Times||

    He's a useful idiot.

  • ||

    But he makes me look so damn smart!

  • ||

    "Progressive-Conservatism?" That is an oxymoron. Brooks is about as much of a Conservative as Bill Maher is a Libertarian.

  • .||

    Or a comedian.

  • ||

    I try to give voice to a philosophy you might call progressive conservatism.

    Or you might call it "national socialism," you know, whatever.

  • ||

    This.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    the Republicans are the small government party

    What a fuckin' laugh.

  • ¢||

    Is it just partisanship, or do they secretly love the idea of oppression?

    A crazy guy on the subway who runs at you shouting "I DON'T HAVE A BONER!" and grinds his boner into your face doesn't "secretly" have a boner.

  • ||

    Ah, public transit. Good times...

  • Jamie Kelly||

    I hope the GOP continues to fuck its own ass with the greased fist of "moderation."

  • Bingo||

    Agreed.

  • ||

    I still say Barry Goldwater's corpse would have made a better president than either Barak Obama or Maverick McCain...

    Exhume Goldwater 2012!

  • ||

    Zombie Goldwater/Zombie Ford 2012!

  • T||

    Any corpse would be a better president. You can't sign legislation expanding the powers of the state when your fingers have rottted off.

  • Jamie Kelly||

    Plus, corpses stink less.

  • ||

    When are we all just gonna get the hint and let David Brooks run the country already.

  • ||

    This general philosophy puts me to the left of where the Republican Party is now, and to the right of the Democratic Party.

    The way he fawns over Obama and the way he chastises the tea party I think he is better classified as being in the center of the democrats.

    Also progressive conservatism seems awfully close to compassionate conservatism. We tried that and it did not work out so well as a political strategy for winning elections after its initial 4 to 6 years. Basically after poeple saw it at work they stopped voting for it.

  • ||

    Canadians already tried the "Progressive Conservative" snowjob (hurr). Then the craze for acronyms and the rise of political correctness made it all too confusing and we needed to take a bong hit and lie down. Can't say we've ever quite recovered.

  • NeonCat||

    That BC bud must be some serious shit.

  • Xeones||

    Christ on a pony. Shut the fuck up, David Brooks.

  • Wesley||

    Progressive Conservatism had its run in this country, but grassroots Republicans were never really comfortable with it. While Republican leaders embraced it fully, they had to resort to gamesmanship like culture war and fearmongering to get the grassroots Republicans to go along. Progressive conservatism is the majority philosophy of the British and Brooks' Canadian Conservative Parties, and he's upset that it never really took over the soul of the American Republican Party. (Of course, now the Conservatives are getting beat by more libertarian regional parties in their Western Canadian stronghold, and may get their best opportunity upstaged by the less racist moderate Lib Dems in the UK, so the ideology doesn't seem to be really winning anywhere.)

    It seems that the Republican Party has taken a decidedly libertarian step in the past 4 years during their wandering in the wilderness, but only time will tell if that is really meaningful.

  • ||

    Conservatives only voted for and defended George Bush because they considered the war more important than domestic policy. Take away 9-11 or make the Democrats more sane on the WOT in 2003/04 and Bush would have had a serious primary challenger and been a one term President like his dad.

  • ||

    Take away 9/11 and the Democrats get control of Congress in 2002. The GOP lost seats in '98 and '00, and indeed the Dems controlled the Senate until a special election in the spring of '02.

    And, well, characterizing the Bush WOT/Iraq policy as the baseline of sanity is questionable to say the least, but that's an argument for another thread.

  • ||

    Take away 9/11 and the Democrats get control of Congress in 2002. The GOP lost seats in '98 and '00, and indeed the Dems controlled the Senate until a special election in the spring of '02.

    Yes, and Brooks and Frum and GWB argued that the GOP was losing seats because it was too wedding to small government, and GWB only won in 2000 by swimming against that crazed small government tide with his "compassionate conservatism." Then, of course, it was when the rest of the GOP saw the light and joined with his program that they won in 2002 and 2004.

    Mostly crap, and certainly an explanation that I hate, but there's tiny kernels of truth in that bullshit.

  • ||

    Canadian here: The Alberta PCs, who are the worst of the big-gov worst, are getting beaten like a drum in opinion polls by the Wildrose Alliance, who are pretty small gov. Don't have a mainstream alternative to our shitty Conservative Feds, but I'm not going to vote for them anyway. Unless Maxime Bernier takes power over the CPC. He is a Canadian MP who wins with massive support in Quebec and believes in the gold standard. Seriously.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    The socially liberal, fiscally conservative thing doesn't really work to explain libertarianism any more. I like to explain it thusly:

    If the gay married couple next door wants to sell heroin and machine guns to 12 year-old illegal immigrant Mexican girls for pure gold coins, well, I don't like it but it's none of my damn business.

  • ||

    Come on, JP, what about selling heroin and machine guns to 12 year-old illegal immigrant Mexican girls for pure gold coins is there not to like?

    :)

  • ACORN||

    How much you askin' for a 12 year-old illegal immigrant Mexican girl?

  • Jamie Kelly||

    +468

  • Jersey Patriot||

    I'm against gay marriage. ;)

  • ||

    Shorter David Brooks:

    I LIKE CAKE!

  • cynical||

    "Progressive conservatism"

    Yes, conservative in terms of its support for the nationalist, militarist security state, but progressive in its acceptance of socialist policies like welfare and increased government involvement in economic decision-making. If "welfare-warfare state" sounds too much like a libertarian pejorative term, I guess you could also call it something like "national socialism".

  • ||

    Dear David Brooks:

    You're on the big-flaming-bag-of-dogshit list.

    You've been warned.

    xoxo

  • David Brookz, Projectionist||

    You Libertarians with your stale, worn out ideas, set in your fuddy duddy ways. There is something new and improved, it is called the Third Way! Learn it.

  • David Brookz, Projectionist||

    Even I can't convince myself any longer that there is any merit to what I pull out of my ass these days. TARP was my last great hope, and anyone but a flaming liberal understands how bad that went. God, I'm depressed.

    [BAM! Thud, as DB's body hits the floor. Click, as his Guccis click their little belts together one last time]

  • Robert||

    "Progressive Conservative" is the name of a large political party in Canada, often abbr'd "PC".

  • Isaac Bartram||

    Actually, "Progressive Conservative" was the name of a large political party in Canada.

    What's left of it is represented by about three MPs who elected not to join up with the Conservative Party which formed when what was left of the PCs merged with the Reform Party.

  • DADIODADDY||

    or around the edge of his/her ass

  • ||

    Please explain to me why all public discourse and public policy is completely dominated by voices of slime covered pieces of shit who are not fit to suck scum from the surface of a fetid swamp. Our public life is completely dominated awful, horrible, hideous people. They must, really, reflect who we really are as a people.

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