David Brooks and the power of partisanship

I’m not going to bother reading David Brooks’ column today. All my favorite bloggers have already taken it on and Yglesias sums it up most succinctly:

I don’t want to go on about this at too much length, but David Brooks’ pox on both houses “Hamiltonian” lament ends with a set of positive policy proposals that seems to be entirely composed of things Barack Obama has proposed. Ezra Klein spells it out in more detail.

Why then, is Brooks doing this?  He clearly is a very smart and knowledgeable man, yet here he is writing a column complaining equally about Democrats and Republicans when it’s clear that the Democratic president is pretty much trying to do what Brooks wants.  Because Brooks is a Republican, that’s why.  No matter how knowledgeable, analytically, etc., even a smart thinker like Brooks can be, partisanship has a way of coloring everything.   If Brooks had pretty much the exact same politically views, but had identified himself as a Democrat for years (really, not that unreasonable a suggestion), his columns would be dramatically different.  Of course, personally, I’m above all that.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to David Brooks and the power of partisanship

  1. itchy says:

    One of my Facebook friends — with whom I think I see eye to eye on most things political — linked to Brooks’ column, lending his support. As with many Brooks columns, I found it full of lofty sounding statements and lacking in deep, original thought. And I thought the same as Ezra: “Wow, this sounds very much like what Obama has been doing for the past two-and-a-half years.”

    And Brooks’s policy proposals are extremely vague — not that he’s able to go into detail in a 500-word column, but any politician promises these things.

    The one that killed me: “There would be a political corruption basket. The Tea Parties are right about the unholy alliance between business and government that is polluting the country. It’s time to drain the swamp by simplifying the tax code and streamlining the regulations businesses use to squash their smaller competitors.”

    Sure, while there clearly is a corrupt alliance between business and government, and some regulations exist at the behest of specific businesses, others are in response to actions by businesses. To “drain the swamp” is to invite the cheaters into a self-supervised game.

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