Tuesday, March 03, 2009

David Brooks and Rush Limbaugh

A few days ago I published a column by David Brooks, the NY Times
token conservative (only the Times would consider Brooks a real conservative) in which he basically lamented that Obama and his people really couldn’t achieve what they have set out to achieve – and we would all be the worse for their failures. In his next column, reprinted below, he goes much farther – becoming distraught because he has perceived that Obama basically lied to the American people in order to fool them into thinking that he was a moderate.

Where were you, Mr. Brooks during the presidential campaign? How many times was it pointed out that Obama’s voting record was 100% extreme left? How many times was it pointed out that he changed his position on almost everything, and threw people off his bus whenever they seemed to have become a liability? How many times were his associations with crazies, nasty people and communists pointed out to you? How many times was it pointed out that the program he was presenting was all style and no substance in order to be all things to all people? How many times was it pointed out that Obama had no governing experience and would prove to be inept at the job of president? No, Mr. Brooks, Obama is not disappointing moderates who thought him to be a moderate, you are a fool, and so are all the other so-called moderates who helped to carry him into the White House.

I cannot much blame the ignorant and/or illiterate people who voted for him, but I can certainly blame someone like you for the disaster we now have on our hands.

And one more thing Mr. Brooks, don’t tell me that we have anything to fear from Rush Limbaugh and those who support him. I have listened to Rush for 20 years and have seldom found him wrong about political and societal matters. Rush presents a point of view based on the Christian values and Constitutional principles that made this country great and made it a magnet for all the oppressed people of the world. The hard-working, tax-paying citizens of America would be much better off if Republicans who returned to their base were in power today.

A Moderate Manifesto

By DAVID BROOKS March 3, 2009 New York Times (excerpt)

"You wouldn’t know it some days, but there are moderates in this country — moderate conservatives, moderate liberals, just plain moderates. We sympathize with a lot of the things that President Obama is trying to do. We like his investments in education and energy innovation. We support health care reform that expands coverage while reducing costs.

But the Obama budget is more than just the sum of its parts. There is, entailed in it, a promiscuous unwillingness to set priorities and accept trade-offs. There is evidence of a party swept up in its own revolutionary fervor — caught up in the self-flattering belief that history has called upon it to solve all problems at once.

So programs are piled on top of each other and we wind up with a gargantuan $3.6 trillion budget. We end up with deficits that, when considered realistically, are $1 trillion a year and stretch as far as the eye can see. We end up with an agenda that is unexceptional in its parts but that, when taken as a whole, represents a social-engineering experiment that is entirely new.

The U.S. has never been a society riven by class resentment. Yet the Obama budget is predicated on a class divide. The president issued a read-my-lips pledge that no new burdens will fall on 95 percent of the American people. All the costs will be borne by the rich and all benefits redistributed downward.

The U.S. has always been a decentralized nation, skeptical of top-down planning. Yet, the current administration concentrates enormous power in Washington, while plan after plan emanates from a small group of understaffed experts.

The U.S. has always had vibrant neighborhood associations. But in its very first budget, the Obama administration raises the cost of charitable giving. It punishes civic activism and expands state intervention.

The U.S. has traditionally had a relatively limited central government. But federal spending as a share of G.D.P. is zooming from its modern norm of 20 percent to an unacknowledged level somewhere far beyond.

Those of us who consider ourselves moderates — moderate-conservative, in my case — are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was. His words are responsible; his character is inspiring. But his actions betray a transformational liberalism that should put every centrist on notice. As Clive Crook, an Obama admirer, wrote in The Financial Times, the Obama budget “contains no trace of compromise. It makes no gesture, however small, however costless to its larger agenda, of a bipartisan approach to the great questions it addresses. It is a liberal’s dream of a new New Deal.”

Moderates now find themselves betwixt and between. On the left, there is a president who appears to be, as Crook says, “a conviction politician, a bold progressive liberal.” On the right, there are the Rush Limbaugh brigades. The only thing more scary than Obama’s experiment is the thought that it might fail and the political power will swing over to a Republican Party that is currently unfit to wield it.

Those of us in the moderate tradition — the Hamiltonian tradition that believes in limited but energetic government — thus find ourselves facing a void. We moderates are going to have to assert ourselves. We’re going to have to take a centrist tendency that has been politically feckless and intellectually vapid and turn it into an influential force.

The first task will be to block the excesses of unchecked liberalism. In the past weeks, Democrats have legislated provisions to dilute welfare reform, restrict the inflow of skilled immigrants and gut a voucher program designed for poor students.

It will be up to moderates to raise the alarms against these ideological outrages.

But beyond that, moderates will have to sketch out an alternative vision. This is a vision of a nation in which we’re all in it together — in which burdens are shared broadly, rather than simply inflicted upon a small minority. This is a vision of a nation that does not try to build prosperity on a foundation of debt. This is a vision that puts competitiveness and growth first, not redistribution first.

Moderates are going to have to try to tamp down the polarizing warfare that is sure to flow from Obama’s über-partisan budget. They will have to face fiscal realities honestly and not base revenue projections on rosy scenarios of a shallow recession and robust growth next year.

They will have to take the economic crisis seriously and not use it as a cue to focus on every other problem under the sun. They’re going to have to offer an agenda that inspires confidence by its steadiness rather than shaking confidence with its hyperactivity.

If they can do that, maybe they can lure this White House back to its best self — and someday offer respite from the endless war of the extremes." New York Times

Mr. Brooks, you are kidding yourself and others. Moderates have no power to do anything now. We are totally in the hands of a Hugo Chavez and his henchmen until the next election. Only blue-dog Democrats can save us until then.


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At 6:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent articly Mr. Wilcox. At the end, I believe you are referring to blue-dog Democrats, I guess like Heath Schuler, who are supposedly fiscally somewhat responsible. I don't know if there are any of these in the Senate. They are yellow-dogs, who would vote with a yellow dog if he is a democrat.

At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

We need to make up bumper stickers that read, "In God We Trust" and "In Obama, We Don't!" and put them on all our cars. Write it on the back of the mail that we send out. Maybe enough people will see them and finally take their heads out of the sand and wake up!


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