Requiem for the Gingrich Revolution


David Brooks drives a stake through the Class of '94's cheatin' heart.

As time went by, the spectacular devolution of morals accelerated. Many of the young innovators were behaving like people who, having read Barry Goldwater's "Conscience of a Conservative," embraced the conservative part while discarding the conscience part. […]

It took a village. The sleazo-cons thought they could take over K Street to advance their agenda. As it transpired, K Street took over them.

NEXT: Juvenile Court

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  1. Cool, more good stuff from the NY Times.

  2. So, hands up all of you who are surprised.

  3. Now I know how Brooks got his job at the Times. The token conservative is required to write a anti-GOP hit piece at least once a month. Unfortunately, Brooks relishes this part of his job.

  4. James-
    Would you have more respect for Brooks if he professed blind support of anybody, no matter how sleazy, who had an (R) after his name in news reports? Are you saying that the behaviors Brooks mentions here are actually okay?

  5. Most web browsers started blocking popups by default quite a while ago; just update yours and the problem will probably stop. Alternatively, switch to Firefox or install Google’s toolbar, which blocks popups, on yr current browser.

  6. Yeah, the NYT is probably the most ad-heavy, non-porn site around. Use Firefox to get rid of the popups, and add the Adblock extension to get rid of the ads (Flash ads too!).

  7. GuyK
    If you want to continue using IE, Popupstopper is freeware that you should check out . I swear by it.

  8. If you want to continue using IE, you have conclusively demonstrated yourself mentally deficient. In fact, I’m ready to grab your feeding tube right now.

  9. James: what makes this so unusual for Brooks is precisely that it is one of the *very few* times he has attacked the GOP without “balancing” it with bigger attacks on the Democrats. His usual method is exemplified in his recent “Requiem for Reform” column where he purports to blame both Republicans and Democrats for the likely failure to overhaul Social Security but his criticism of the GOP is simply that they are too unrealistic and don’t understand public relations (as someone observed, that’s like being asked at a job interview what your biggest fault is and answering that maybe you’re too much of a perfectionist…) whereas the Democrats are criticized much more harshly for obstructionism.

    As for “token”: the NYT has had and still will have two conservative op-ed columnists (formerly Brooks and Safire, now Brooks and Tierney). That’s more conservative columnists than some conservative papers have liberal ones…

  10. the sleazo-cons

    This guy should start writing comments for, it would balance out some of the half-wit name-calling about dims, hildabeast, and the rats you can find there.

    Actually I kind of like the hildabeast moniker, but maybe I shouldn’t say that with our fair Jennifer trawling these waters…

  11. “Would you have more respect for Brooks if he professed blind support of anybody, no matter how sleazy, who had an (R) after his name in news reports? Are you saying that the behaviors Brooks mentions here are actually okay?”


  12. Isn’t Brooks one of those “National Greatness”-type conservatives. While I think his criticism of the Republicans having become just-as/more corrupt than the Democrats they replaced is on the mark, I can’t help but think that David Brooks’ ideal vision for a Republican-led Congress would make me want to vomit.

  13. Jennifer, I abhor it when Republican act like run of the mill hacks, in fact I endorse harsher penalties for Republicans because of the damn hypocracy. However, and maybe I’m dreaming, I believe the GOP makes a better home for honest politicians, Like Ron Paul, and perhaps Tom Coburn, no others come to mind though.

  14. DeLay is not the real target of this hit. Brooks is just taking up unfinished business for his buddies at the Weekly Standard and the Defense Department. The column was written in order to defame Grover Norquist, who is still an independent thinker. GN had some qualms about our war policy and he even has Arab firends — if I’m not mistaken he’s even marrying one. He is considered too poweful by the Kristolites. they’ve been trying to guillotine him for some time now. Watch for him to be once again accused of anti-Semitism.

  15. pym, I couldn’t help but notice that in you explication of Brooks’ motives, you didn’t identify a single point in which his characterizations were off the mark. Funny, that.

    I’ve got such a point to make; Brooks pretends that the “Republican Revolution” was once true to its ideals, and became corrupted over time. Nonsense – they were corrupt from the day they gained the majority. One of the planks of the Contract with America was to make committee hearings more open to the public. What actually happened was an unprecidented effort to shut the public out of hearings, but holding them in tiny rooms, assigning them to rooms in the Capitoal basement (which smells like ass) that nobody could find, sending herds of interns and staffers to take up all the seats, and even scheduling hearings in the Capitol before it opened to the public. This wasn’t 2004, this was 1995, as soon as they took power.

    I had a job saving seats for people who wanted to be in the audience for committee hearings, and the sudden shift to these dirty tricks as soon as the new Congress came in was remarkable.

  16. No one can deny that in “94 the Republicans passed laws that made them succeptable to the same laws as you and I. And, don’t forget the greatest act of all, repealed that awful 55mph speed limit. That alone makes up for billions in corruption.

  17. Joe, I agree with you 100%. I was just ponting out the underhandedness of Mr. Brooks. Abramoff’s crimes ought to be more than enough for one column of GOP self-flagelation, but Brooks takes this as an opportunity to make veiled allegations against Norquist. It’s a smear campaign. maybe we shouldn’t care, but we should at least be aware.

  18. Nothing surprising. The Republican love for small, transparent government is only equalled by the Democratic love for civil liberties and my love for…oh…Vegemite.


  19. You mean that the revolutionaries failed to live up to their ideals after winning power? I’m shocked!

  20. This is old news. A longer, more detailed, version of this column appeared at the end of last year in Brooks’ old mag. Andrew Ferguson wrote it.

  21. James: several years ago I began to have problems with the term ‘honest politician’ regardless of the party in question. I do believe that the republican party will come nearer to letting us keep a bigger portion of what we earn then the democrats. The problem now is to teach them some fiscal discipline. Tax cuts were great but tax cuts coupled with increased spending leads to fiscal disaster. I just can’t believe that government can spend its way to prosperity.

  22. “No one can deny that in ’94 the Republicans passed laws that made them succeptable to the same laws as you and I.” –James

    That was nothing but demagogy.

    There’s a good reason for not applying government regulations to Congress: they’re enforced by the friggin’ *executive*! Don’t you think there’s just a little conflict of interest in the executive being able to enforce regulations against members of the legislative branch, at his own discretion? You don’t think OSHA or the EEOC could be used to harass and blackmail Congress, and bully selected members into voting the President’s agenda, the same way Nixon misused the FBI and IRS? Ever hear of Abscam?

    Congress exempts itself from normal regulations for the same reason that Congressmen are Constitutionally protected from arrest for many misdemeanors they commit while Congress is in session.

    There’s a ceremony in the UK at the opening of every new Parliament, in which a representative of the Crown repeatedly demands admission and is refused. The principle is that the executive is unwelcome on Parliament’s turf except by its own invitation.

    These things are intended to build a hedge of protection against the executive, because of the memory of Cromwell’s thugs marching in and purging Parliament of his political enemies.

    And by the way: the substance of many of those laws, like occupational safety regulations, was enforced under the guise of Congress’ own internal administrative system, rather than by executive agencies.

    Like much of the rest of the Gingrichoid’s demagogic agenda, this reflected either historical ignorance or a deliberate desire to strengthen the imperial presidency.

    Same thing goes for the “line-item veto” that got demagogued so much by the same people. All it would do is give the President more leverage to bully Congressmen into voting for his agenda: “I won’t line-item veto your Laurence Welk Museum, if you’ll vote for my bill to suspend habeas corpus….” In fact, in states where the line-item veto exists, the total amount of pork barrel spending increases because it is used as a bargaining chip to get support for the executive’s own favored pork.

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