Monday, October 31, 2005

What Planet does David Brooks live on, anyhow?

Our Myth Brooks
In his Sunday column, David Brooks declares there is no cancer on the presidency, no cover-up in the Plame scandal, and the White House did not mislead the country into war. Anyone who thinks otherwise is inhaling "swamp gas."

By Greg Mitchell

(October 30, 2005) -- David Brooks no doubt benefits from context. At The New York Times’ op-ed page his only reliably conservative brother is the hapless John Tierney, which often allows Brooks to appear reasoned, thoughtful, and moderate in comparison (except when he urges women to fulfill their destiny as baby-makers). How could Brooks not come off well in that kind of company?

In Tierney’s latest example of addled thinking, this past Saturday, he called the leak of Valerie Plame’s CIA employment an “accident.” It might have been many things, but one thing it wasn’t was: an “accident.”

Still, Brooks seemed intent on outdoing Tierney in his Sunday column. This is too good to be denied those lacking a TimeSelect gold key.

For starters, Brooks declares, “One thing is clear: there is no cancer on this presidency.” Actually, one thing that is not clear even after the Friday indictments is exactly where, and how malignant, that cancer might be, even after the successful removal of the malignant Libby nodes.

Brooks tops that whopper by declaring flatly that the notion of Karl Rove’s “general culpability” is basically “hokum.” And that’s why federal prosecutor Fitzgerald is still probing Rove?

Brooks asserts that Fitzgerald “did not find evidence of wide-ranging criminal behavior.” How does he know this? Pressed for time (thanks to Brooks’ colleague Judith Miller), Fitzgerald did not feel he had enough evidence to indict anyone else, just yet. But any reading of the indictment and the prosecutor’s public remarks on Friday leaves no doubt that he believes--and obtained evidence--that there was criminal behavior, beyond Libby (stay tuned).

You’ll look in vain in Brooks’ column for any condemnation of Rove or Libby for leaking the name of a CIA operative who (Fitzgerald has underlined) was indeed still under cover. So who are the bad guys in this Bobo world? Why, the Democrats, who had nothing to do with it.

Leading Democratic politicians, Brooks writes, have filled the precious airtime “with grand conspiracy theories that would be at home in the John Birch Society.” For gosh sake, that wacko Howard Dean even alleged a “huge cover-up.” Lock that man up and then let’s hear him scream! A cover-up? Brooks says any such charge is nothing but “swamp gas.”

And Rep. Jerrold Nalder (D-NY) has clearly lost his mind, in Brooks’ view. How else to explain his statement: "There is mounting evidence, that there may have been a well-orchestrated effort by the president, the vice president and other top White House officials to lie to Congress in order to get its support for the Iraq war."

And Teddy Kennedy saying that the Fitzgerald charge amounts to ”far more than an indictment of an individual.” Put Teddy in a straight jacket for that one.

“The question is, why are these people so compulsively overheated?” Brooks asks. “One of the president's top advisers is indicted on serious charges. Why are they incapable of leaving it at that? Why do they have to slather on wild, unsupported charges that do little more than make them look unhinged?”

Wild, unsupported charges….a White House coverup…lies that led to war….GET OVER IT PEOPLE.

Then Brooks offers a review of Hofstadter’s classic “The Paranoid Style in American Poltics.” Brooks’ message: the White House cabal has only made “honest mistakes.” To think otherwise makes Democrats frustrated to the point of paranoia.

Actually it is Brooks and his like that are growing frustrated. Their favorite president’s approval rating now rests below 40% in every major poll, and that was before the Libby indictments. Six in 10 Americans want disengagement from Brooks’ war in Iraq. Perhaps it is Brooks who is turning paranoid—-not worrying about what any of us might think of him, but how history might judge his support for a disastrous war and all those other “honest mistakes” in the White House. 

He said, on ABC last week, after Fitzgerald launched a Web site to publish indictment-related material, "Maybe he just wanted to start a blog, talk about his favorite movies, favorite TV shows. You know, I think this is actually a story that is not a politically important story. You know, when I've talked to a lot of House members this week about what people are asking about, it's never this. The amount of American people who have heard about Karl Rove is small."

He wishes. In fact, every poll on the subject shows that most Americans have heard of Rove, and have a negative opinion of him.

Brooks’ latest work follows by just three days his column profiling Bush’s second-term malaise and how he can repeat the Reagan resurrection—-without once mentioning the war in Iraq. “The Bush administration is not in quite the same bind the Reagan administration was in,” he wrote. “There is no one big scandal.” Brooks willfully ignores that even if Plamegate is no Iran-contra, Bush is beset with a far worse scandal than anything Reagan faced: misleading his country into war, a war that is still going on, with no end in sight and American boys coming home in body bags almost every day. A cancer on this presidency.


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