Wednesday, December 15, 2004

In his briefest entry yesterday, Kevin Drum opines that

David Brooks can write a good column when he puts his mind to it. That wasn't so hard, was it?

Well, maybe he can. But the column he cites, an unmitigated sneer-fest remarkable only in that for once, Brooks has a sneer or two for Republicans, stuck out to me mostly for this delightful paragraph:

Third, you have to remember that Republicans have a different relationship to ideas than Democrats. When Democrats open their mouths, they try to say something interesting. If the true thing is obvious and boring, the liberal person will go off and say something original, even if it is completely idiotic. This is how deconstructionism got started.

That's interesting. In my universe, Republicans are pushing an "interesting" social security reform proposal that makes no sense at all, and the Democratic response so far is ineffective policy wankery, excruciatingly correct on the merits, which has gained no traction because it makes peoples' eyes glaze over.

For more perspective, let's look at the Democrat who was most under the national spotlight for the past six months or so. Kerry's much-praised response to the abortion question in the second debate strikes me as precisely this sort of thing -- he wasn't so much explaining his position as apologizing for it. And on a more central issue in the campaign, his answers to questions on Iraq were frequently hedged and conditional, attracting critics and making even supporters' eyes glaze over, because he correctly said that he'd have to know what kind of mess Dubya left him in January to know that any particular policy would still make sense.

It's entirely likely that Brooks is equally unfair to the Republicans. But I'll let their partisans figure that out for themselves...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd also note the gratuitous reference to "deconstructionism". It's fine, of course, if he doesn't care for (or about) deconstruction. But he goes out of his way to make a lame content-free joke about it. I can only interpret this as an attempt to appeal to people's ignorance, that is, as positively anti-intellectual.

Vance Maverick

6:23 PM  

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