Friday, October 19th, 2012

David Brooks' Argument In Favor Of Partisan Obstructionism

Here is the argument David Brooks makes in his op-ed, "A Sad Green Story," in today's Times: Government legislation to curb global warming, which he supports, has failed because because Al Gore supported it so strongly. It is the "highly partisan former vice president"'s fault, Brooks says, because after Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth came out in 2006, and Gore "became the global warming spokesman, no Republican could stand shoulder to shoulder with him and survive. Any slim chance of building a bipartisan national consensus was gone." It is Gore's fault, for being so highly partisan earlier in his career, that Republican congressman refuse, on partisan grounds, to support legislation that Gore supports and that David Brooks supports, too. Democrat Gore backed the poor Republicans into a corner by raising awareness of this issue that David Brooks thinks is important, by promoting good, important legislation like a carbon tax that David Brooks wishes had been able to pass. What were the poor Republican congressman supposed to do? Put aside partisan politics and support good important legislation after Gore had been so highly partisan earlier in his career? That would not be fair, Brooks argues, I guess along the lines of, "but he started it." This is an argument that says that it is okay to block important legislation along partisan lines. It is only reasonable to expect a congressman to put his or her personal political survival over the good of the country. The responsibility for such a decision, for that kind of obstructionism, lies with the history of the person who has gotten out in front and supported good and important legislation. People who David Brooks thinks have tarnished themselves with partisan behavior should not support legislation that David Brooks agrees with. Because God forbid any politician "stand shoulder to shoulder" with someone whom he or she has disagreed with in the past. That is David Brooks' argument today, and it makes him sad.

13 Comments / Post A Comment

churlishgreen (#49,256)

I love this–depressingly accurate. It's easy to sniff at "partisanship" when you've never had a job that required you to actually deal with policy within a political system.

It's also depressing that David Brooks makes enough money putting out this drivel that he bought a $4 million house in DC's posh Cleveland Park earlier this year.

@churlishgreen : I believe you mean an "exquisitely renovated" $4 million house, with "vast spaces for entertaining."

hockeymom (#143)

Can we put David Brooks and Peggy Noonan in a box and push them sadly, but firmly, out to sea?

City_Dater (#2,500)


It would be a little like LIFE OF PI, only depressingly literal with much more high-pitched shrieking.

Bunburying (#81,872)

Fortunately, STEAM COMING OUT EARS is a completely renewable source of green energy.

LondonLee (#922)

If only we could figure out a way to harness the power of bullshit.

@LondonLee And use it for good. There are plenty of people making billions cruising on bullshit for years. Unfortunately they're basically dicks.

Danzig! (#5,318)

Time was environmentalism was a bipartisan issue w/ broad support, but Brooks has his timeline set about 30 years too far into the future. The partisan split on climate change was pre-Gore

David Brooks will go to bed angry any time he damn well pleases.

barnhouse (#1,326)

The HISTORY of that person. Like for instance the history of that person's having been elected President, and then the partisan Supreme Court fucking with the entire country for weeks and finally stealing the Presidency from him? That history?

Jared (#1,227)

I have a solution! If Gore's proposed policy is politically unacceptable for Republicans, then why don't we take the carbon policy that the Republicans proposed, and sign that into law. It's called cap-and-trade, it would still be somewhat effective and it would be more business friendly, so in the interest of getting things done surely Democrats can accept this compromise… Wait, what's that you say? Crap, never mind.

A Good Question (#182,018)

However sad David Brooks' arguments make him, they make me sadder. For him.

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