I'm still a bit shell-shocked, I had to take a few recuperative moments. But enough blood has now seeped from spleen to brain to compose something more than a raving screed, which is what David Brooks' latest--a nakedly insulting piece of partisan effrontery gussied up as Reason--deserves.
His column isn't entirely infuriating. Some of it is laughable. To wit, his opening:
During his first term, President Obama faced a wicked problem: How do you govern in a highly polarized, evenly divided country with House Republicans who seem unwilling to compromise? Obama never really solved that one.
Well, that's a tough one. Let's think about it, by way of analogy. How did the Romans govern in a highly polarized, evenly divided Europe with barbarians who seemed unwilling to compromise? Oh, right. They never really "solved" that one. The barbarians did.
Brooks seems serious here. He seems to be suggesting that House Republicans' unyielding malevolence (its Senate counterpart isn't even recalled by Brooks) was in fact a soluble problem entirely within Obama's guiding power. Brooks knows better, nonetheless he opens with his historically oblivious, intellectually disingenuous premise. It bodes ill.
And ill is what we become, sickened by the realization that the GOP's intelligentsia has no intention of reforming its deceitful ways.
Brooks proceeds to label any potential Obamian "strategy of confrontation and conquest" as "irresponsible" and "reckless" and productive only of "bitterness." For President Obama, confrontation would be unforgivable--a brutal abdication of prudent governance, according to Brooks; for House Republicans, confrontation has been, is, and shall remain but a perfectly reasonable political tactic--a hardball undertaking of determined governance, according to Brooks.
Then come these purely imaginary but nevertheless matter-of-fact statements:
Finally, [confrontation] misunderstands the state of the G.O.P. This is not the Republican Party of 2010. Today’s Republicans no longer have an incentive to deny Obama victories.
That final sentence is aggressively ignorant. House Republicans have every incentive to remain intransigent. Through gerrymandering they've walled themselves off from sane electoral judgment and there's always that next upstart fanatic waiting in the primary wings. I'm willing to stand corrected. I genuinely hope that I "misunderstand" Brooks' theoretically new GOP. The empirical evidence, however, provides little sustenance for such hope.
I used the word "insulting" in my opening, which was an impression that probably sprang most intensely from this particular snippet of Brooksian abuse:
[T]he point is the only way to get things done in a divided polarized country is side by side — an acceptable Democratic project paired with an acceptable Republican one.
David, you can't be serious. After four wretched years of maliciously spurned Obamian overture after maliciously spurned Obamian overture, you just cannot be serious.