Thursday, April 17, 2008

Does Anyone Take David Brooks Seriously?

In 2003 David Brooks saw George W. Bush as an honest man:

I think we are all disgusted by the way George W. Bush's administration has allowed honesty and candor to seep into the genteel world of international affairs.
Now his administration has taken to honesty like a drunken sailor. It has made a fetish of candor and forthrightness.
In 2004 David Brooks thought George W. Bush was right about Iraq:
…I still believe that in 20 years, no one will doubt that Bush did the right thing. To his enormous credit, the president has been ruthlessly flexible over the past months and absolutely committed to seeing this through. He is acknowledging the need for more troops.
Yesterday, David Brooks thought Charlie Gibson and George Stephanapoulos did a great job:
I understand the complaints, but I thought the questions were excellent. The journalist’s job is to make politicians uncomfortable, to explore evasions, contradictions and vulnerabilities. Almost every question tonight did that. The candidates each looked foolish at times, but that’s their own fault.

We may not like it, but issues like Jeremiah Wright, flag lapels and the Tuzla airport will be important in the fall. Remember how George H.W. Bush toured flag factories to expose Michael Dukakis. It’s legitimate to see how the candidates will respond to these sorts of symbolic issues.
Shouldn't journalists do a little more than "make politicians uncomfortable, …explore evasions, contradictions and vulnerabilities?" How about something as simple as finding out where politicians stand on the issues. And no, I don't mean "symbolic issues."

Symbolic issues? What about real issues? Iraq, Iran, North Korea, nuclear bombs, immigration, education, healthcare, inflation, the economy, torture, impeachment, the deficit, the debt, the housing crisis, war crimes, extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo Bay, terrorism, taxes, government spending, FEMA, Katrina, New Orleans, Supreme Court nominees, Presidential power, FISA, Darfur, AIDS, Corporate Crime, Global Warming, energy costs, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Walter Reed, Veterans care, the case of Gov. Don Siegelman, toxic waste, missing White House emails, the huge U.S. embassy in Iraq, Blackwater, clean coal, nuclear power, oil drilling in Alaska, forestry in Alaska, foreign investment in U.S. companies, Pakistan, Israel, Palestine, China, food safety, toy safety, NASA, bridges to nowhere, bridges falling down, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, Egypt, the Department of Homeland Security, Star Wars (Reagan’s, not the movie), Afghanistan, crime, the war on drugs, the death penalty, prison overcrowding, the U.S. prison industry, racism, voting machines, rigged elections, air travel security, free speech zones, police brutality, pollution, overpopulation, al-Qaeda, Federal No-Bid Contracts, Alberto Gonzales, Executive Orders, the Middle East, the price of oil, government secrecy, stem cell research, Hamas, the FBI, the CIA, Hatch Act violations, the United Nations, the United States attorney scandal, coal miner safety, poverty, homelessness, Syria, gun violence, the Endangered Species Act, Mad Cow disease, U.S. missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, Cuba, internet privacy, educational freedom, intelligent design, evolution, war spending, PBS funding, federal funding of family-planning programs, the Gaza Strip, military tribunals, U.S. role as nation-builders, Kazakhstan, government ethics, the world-wide food crisis, NAFTA, the NSA, the consolidation of the corporate media, No Child Left Behind, the Unitary Executive Theory of the Presidency, The Pandemic Flu Plan, corporate welfare, corporate tax breaks, the National Rifle Association, lobbyists, Presidential bypassing of Senate confirmation processes, dirty bombs, school safety, international treaties, the breaking of international treaties, college-tuition assistance, the Clean Air Act, mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, perchlorate contamination in drinking water, the Abu Ghraib scandal, and the Bill of Rights. I’ll stop there, even though there is probably more.

None of these things matter to David Brooks. Lapel pins seem to be very important to him, however. Why does this man write for the New York Times? Can’t they find someone else, someone that’s not an idiot?

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