New York Times conservative columnist David Brooks is absolutely amazing. After years of sitting by while Republicans waged a scorched earth campaign against Democrats, the Constitution and basic human decency, he suddenly laments the toxic level of discourse in America. Why? Because Democrats are ascendant and Republicans are teetering on total collapse. Now, he says, we should work together and it would be bad for America if we don’t!
Brooks sets the stage by describing how we got here. He calls it “anti-politics” and he’s VERY upset about it:
“Over the past generation we have seen the rise of a group of people who are against politics. These groups — best exemplified by the Tea Party but not exclusive to the right — want to elect people who have no political experience. They want ‘outsiders.’ They delegitimize compromise and deal-making. They’re willing to trample the customs and rules that give legitimacy to legislative decision-making if it helps them gain power.”
I’m guessing he’s referring to Bernie Sanders’ supporters as being the left-wing version because I can’t think of any other group on the left that even remotely fits the description. But Bernie has been in Washington for 30 something years. He’s hardly an inexperienced outsider. His followers may like his rebel cred but they don’t want him to get into office for the sole purpose of bringing the government to a grinding halt. This is Brooks creating a false equivalency in order to absolve himself of his responsibility in creating antipolitics.
He goes on to describe the antipolitics people as being extremists that cannot compromise and increasingly damage the process of governing. Essentially what the GOP has been doing for years while Brooks gave them ideological cover to wreck the country. Brooks is especially put off by Trump despite having enabled his rise in the first place.
So far, the column is the usual right wing shifting of blame. They are patently incapable of accepting responsibility for their actions. But then we get to this, the plaintive wail for sanity:
“The answer to Trump is politics. It’s acknowledging other people exist. It’s taking pleasure in that difference and hammering out workable arrangements. As Harold Laski put it,’We shall make the basis of our state consent to disagreement. Therein shall we ensure its deepest harmony.'”
It sure does sound reasonable but the timing of this sudden epiphany is not coincidental. You see, Republicans have spent the last 30+ years polarizing the country to the point where the two sides cannot work together. While Republicans controlled the White House, both chambers of Congress AND the Supreme Court, this was exactly what they wanted. They spent 6 years of ignoring the Democrats and doing whatever they wanted. Then they spent all of Obama’s presidency breaking the system so they could stop his agenda. They became the party of antipolitics.
But in November, Republicans are going to be crushed at the ballot box. Trump is going to going to lose so badly, he’s going to cost Republicans the Senate by a comfortable margin, not a small number of House seats, a few governorships and control of several state legislatures. Oh, and the Supreme Court is going to tilt left for the next 30 years, which will put the final nail in the coffin of the Republican voter suppression schemes that are the only thing keeping Republicans in power in many parts of the country.
So after decades of “I hate you! I hope you die! Burn in hell! Compromise is surrender! Burn it all down unless we get 100% of what we want!”, we should stop playing by their rules of winner takes all? Now that they’re on the edge of losing everything, Republicans want to play nice again? Noooooope, fuck that. Republicans don’t get to kick sand in our faces and then demand we share our ice cream because they dropped theirs.
So sorry, Mr. Brooks. You had your chance and you blew it. You sat by and let your party turn American politics into a polarized blood sport. It’s not our fault you lost and we’re in no mood to give you the time of day much less any concessions. We’re going to put you in a little box and undo all of the damage your policies have wrought since the 80s. Unions are going to grow in strength again. The minimum wage will become a living wage. Workers will have their rights restored. Women will have their rights restored. So will minorities and the victims of the Drug War (most of whom are minorities anyway). Wall Street will still make billions but they won’t be able to crash the economy again. All of your voter suppression laws will be repealed and extreme gerrymandering will end. All of this will happen without no input from you because you have painted yourselves into a corner where working with a Democrat is grounds for being primaried from the far right. It won’t happen in 4 years. Or even 8. Decades of damage will take decades to clean up. But it’s going to happen and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
Karl Rove once boasted of a “permanent Republican majority” in which Democrats would be utterly powerless. While I’m not so bold as to claim a permanent Democratic majority, Republicans will grow weaker and weaker until they can stop appealing only to white racists. In the meantime, we’re gonna take it all while you, Mr. Brooks, sit and scream in impotent rage at how mean and unfair the left has become. Ha. Ha. Ha. Fuck you.
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