The great battle that might have been

I must say I’m disappointed that David Brooks was so easily pacified by the blandishments of Xerxes’—I mean Obama’s—ambassadors (see “The sheep returns to the sheepfold”). I had an image of Brooks, with his bald spot, toothy grin, and a Gerard Butler-size physique, leading his 300 Centrists in a heroic last stand against the Left.


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March 8

Laura G. writes:

Brooks used to be a fixture on the Friday evening TV panels, presented as the “conservative,” at which post he could always be counted on to give desultory support for any two-bit position the leftists on the panel were peddling. It is SO depressing that a man with Brooks’s professional responsibilities to try to deal with reality has nevertheless been so consistently unable to do so. The fact that the White House had so little trouble rolling him this time is altogether expected, but I do wish that Brooks himself had enough self-awareness to realize that he shouldn’t trust himself with anything of more importance than his own lunch money.

LA replies:

I wouldn’t say that Brooks is “unable” to fulfil his responsibilities. I’d say he’s been capably doing what he wants to do, which is what he’s always done and which is his main project as a writer at least since I began reading him in the then-newly inaugurated Weekly Standard in 1995. And that is, to undermine conservatism, by presenting himself as a conservative and taking conservative positions and then abandoning them. Typically, he would write an entire article decrying some decadent or liberal aspect of our culture, and than at the end of the article turn around and say that the thing he had been criticizing wasn’t that bad after all but was pretty good.

And that, in a nutshell, is what the once honorable and then deeply dishonorable neoconservative movement has been about. “Our culture is being attacked! We must devote the rest of our lives to fighting the culture war!” the neocons cried … which then changed to, “Actually the changes in our culture are not bad, and we should all adjust.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 07, 2009 08:50 AM | Send

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