The price of populism in the republican party

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Oct 10, 2008.

  1. The Class War Before Palin
    By DAVID BROOKS

    Modern conservatism began as a movement of dissident intellectuals. Richard Weaver wrote a book called, “Ideas Have Consequences.” Russell Kirk placed Edmund Burke in an American context. William F. Buckley famously said he’d rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard. But he didn’t believe those were the only two options. His entire life was a celebration of urbane values, sophistication and the rigorous and constant application of intellect.

    Driven by a need to engage elite opinion, conservatives tried to build an intellectual counterestablishment with think tanks and magazines. They disdained the ideas of the liberal professoriate, but they did not disdain the idea of a cultivated mind.

    Ronald Reagan was no intellectual, but he had an earnest faith in ideas and he spent decades working through them. He was rooted in the Midwest, but he also loved Hollywood. And for a time, it seemed the Republican Party would be a broad coalition — small-town values with coastal reach.

    In 1976, in a close election, Gerald Ford won the entire West Coast along with northeastern states like New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont and Maine. In 1984, Reagan won every state but Minnesota.

    But over the past few decades, the Republican Party has driven away people who live in cities, in highly educated regions and on the coasts. This expulsion has had many causes. But the big one is this: Republican political tacticians decided to mobilize their coalition with a form of social class warfare. Democrats kept nominating coastal pointy-heads like Michael Dukakis so Republicans attacked coastal pointy-heads.

    Over the past 15 years, the same argument has been heard from a thousand politicians and a hundred television and talk-radio jocks. The nation is divided between the wholesome Joe Sixpacks in the heartland and the oversophisticated, overeducated, oversecularized denizens of the coasts.

    What had been a disdain for liberal intellectuals slipped into a disdain for the educated class as a whole. The liberals had coastal condescension, so the conservatives developed their own anti-elitism, with mirror-image categories and mirror-image resentments, but with the same corrosive effect.

    Republicans developed their own leadership style. If Democratic leaders prized deliberation and self-examination, then Republicans would govern from the gut.

    George W. Bush restrained some of the populist excesses of his party — the anti-immigration fervor, the isolationism — but stylistically he fit right in. As Fred Barnes wrote in his book, “Rebel-in-Chief,” Bush “reflects the political views and cultural tastes of the vast majority of Americans who don’t live along the East or West Coast. He’s not a sophisticate and doesn’t spend his discretionary time with sophisticates. As First Lady Laura Bush once said, she and the president didn’t come to Washington to make new friends. And they haven’t.”

    The political effects of this trend have been obvious. Republicans have alienated the highly educated regions — Silicon Valley, northern Virginia, the suburbs outside of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Raleigh-Durham. The West Coast and the Northeast are mostly gone.

    The Republicans have alienated whole professions. Lawyers now donate to the Democratic Party over the Republican Party at 4-to-1 rates. With doctors, it’s 2-to-1. With tech executives, it’s 5-to-1. With investment bankers, it’s 2-to-1. It took talent for Republicans to lose the banking community.

    Conservatives are as rare in elite universities and the mainstream media as they were 30 years ago. The smartest young Americans are now educated in an overwhelmingly liberal environment.

    This year could have changed things. The G.O.P. had three urbane presidential candidates. But the class-warfare clichés took control. Rudy Giuliani disdained cosmopolitans at the Republican convention. Mitt Romney gave a speech attacking “eastern elites.” (Mitt Romney!) John McCain picked Sarah Palin.

    Palin is smart, politically skilled, courageous and likable. Her convention and debate performances were impressive. But no American politician plays the class-warfare card as constantly as Palin. Nobody so relentlessly divides the world between the “normal Joe Sixpack American” and the coastal elite.

    She is another step in the Republican change of personality. Once conservatives admired Churchill and Lincoln above all — men from wildly different backgrounds who prepared for leadership through constant reading, historical understanding and sophisticated thinking. Now those attributes bow down before the common touch.

    And so, politically, the G.O.P. is squeezed at both ends. The party is losing the working class by sins of omission — because it has not developed policies to address economic anxiety. It has lost the educated class by sins of commission — by telling members of that class to go away.
     
  2. kut2k2

    kut2k2

    Excellent!

    Leave it to a reichtard to make the argument that being ignorant is better than being educated. :D
     
  3. David Brooks is the NYT house conservative, so anything he writes is suspect. This column is particularly stupid. He is the sort of loser who enjoys playing the intellectual bad boy at East Side cocktail parties, but has nothing but contempt for the people who actually go to work every day and make the country what it is. He represents the brand of republicanism that was quite content to be a permanent minority, eating whatever crumbs their democrat overlords dropped in front of them. They knew their place and knew their role. It certainly didn't involve rubbing shoulders with a lot of grimy people who didn't even go to Yale.

    Today's republican party is sick, terminal perhaps, but the way to health is not the way Brooks prescribes. Why would anyone want to vote for a pale imitation of democrats when they can get the real thing?

    Brooks shudders when he contemplates the sort of boorish positions the so-called populist republicans take. They're actually for immigration control and securing the borders. How quaint, but really, old boy, how is one to get decent help if you do that?

    Pat Buchanan calls Brooks and his ilk kennel-fed conservatives. They represent the privileged country club republicanism of Bush 41, which could never win elections but by jove, they lost with a dashing spirit and elegant style. Then off to a weekend of yachting.

    They would be quite content to be democrats except they don't care for those union fellows, not a Yale man amongst them you know, and frankly, those negroes and Jews are a bit off-putting. Now wouldn't you know it, these religious people have invaded "their" party and ruined it too. It's all just too horrible.
     
  4. Anti-intellectual populist politics is the politics of banana republics. Follow the kind of political campaigning in a banana republic and you won't be able to miss it.

    I didn't sense this kind of politics in the US in previous elections but it is worrisomely evident now.
     
  5. David Brooks is the NYT house conservative, so anything he writes is suspect. poison the well full on ad hominem This column is particularly stupid. He is the sort of loser who enjoys playing the intellectual bad boy at East Side cocktail parties, but has nothing but contempt for the people who actually go to work every day and make the country what it is. He represents the brand of republicanism that was quite content to be a permanent minority, eating whatever crumbs their democrat overlords dropped in front of them. Classic victim fallacy They knew their place and knew their role. It certainly didn't involve rubbing shoulders with a lot of grimy people who didn't even go to Yale.More whining by a baby

    Today's republican party is sicktrue, terminal perhaps, but the way to health is not the way Brooks prescribes. Try it before denouncing it Why would anyone want to vote for a pale imitation of democrats when they can get the real thing? So McBush is a pale imitation of the dems? I thought Joe Lieberman was the pale imitation of the dems

    Brooks shudders when he contemplates the sort of boorish positions the so-called populist republicans take. So you are a populist when it serves your goal, which is not generally acting for the good of all the people. What nonsense They're actually for immigration control and securing the borders.Then vote in pols who will carry out the will of the people, not lead where they want the people to go How quaint, but really, old boy, how is one to get decent help if you do that?

    Pat Buchanan calls Brooks and his ilk kennel-fed conservatives.Pat has that ignorant poor Irish inferiority complex thing going on, doesn't he... They represent the privileged country club republicanism of Bush 41, which could never win elections but by jove, they lost with a dashing spirit and elegant style. Then off to a weekend of yachting.You might want to try to work our your resentments and inferiority issues...

    They would be quite content to be democrats except they don't care for those union fellows, not a Yale man amongst them you know, and frankly, those negroes (Who says "negroes" any more? )and Jews are a bit off-putting.Your blind support of the neocon Jews was unwavering for years under Bush Now wouldn't you know it, these religious people have invaded "their" party and ruined it too. It's all just too horrible. Oh, how horrible for you, you deserve all of our pity...
     
  6. Very good commentary. I was going to only quote 2 or 3 of my favorite paragraphs in this post, but they all deserve repeating.
     
  7. I find it telling that ET's resident lib's think David Brooks is spot on. This is the media's typical suggestion for republicans, just try harder to be like liberals.

    Brooks is far off base in blaming republicans for "losing" certain groups, like lawyers, Wall Street, professors etc. What has happened is that there has developed an enormous gulf in social attitudes and values between urban elites, typically clustered on both coasts, and the rest of the country. The fundamental disagreements center on abortion, homosexuality, drugs, affirmative action and religion and spill over into education. On each issue, the elites have moved far to the left (in a "progressive" direction, in Z's terminology), while the rest of the country has more or less stuck to traditional views.

    Brooks faults republicans for not abandoning their values as quickly as the elites have. He's entitled to his opinion, but I would hardly call it conservative. Furthermore, I don't see the republican party in trouble because it has stood too firmly on principle. Rather, i see a party that lost its way in a sea of earmarks and out of control spending, ridiculous empire building in the middle east and incompetence in domestic matters. I see a party that infuriated its most loyal members on numerous issues, then nominated for president the guy who had been the most infuriating.

    The problem is not Sarah Palin, as uncomfortable as she makes Brooks and his NYT colleagues. The republicans richly deserve an electoral spanking. It's just that the country doesn't deserve what Hugo Chavez Obama, Harry Sleazeball Reid and Nancy la femme nikita Pelosi have in store for them.
     
  8. It's called sarcasm, ZZZ.
     
  9. Spot on! The "people" are paying and will continue to pay for a republican administration run at a level of incompetence that staggers the mind. Problem is, the cure being prescribed,(Obama), will be worse than the disease, (Bush).
     
  10. As usual only AAA understands the nuanced struggle between message and elective politics. The same leftists defending Obama's Chavezesque appeal to Third World America as the successful bridge between economic populism and intellectualism are the first to fault Palin's almost carnal adulation from blue-collar whites.

    Palin is the first national candidate since Reagan to push the buttons of Middle-America. Many of them next month won't vote for her but you best believe a solid quarter of Obama voters will bitterly regret their choice six months from now. They'll quickly seize a new demagogue.

    End of day it's a culture war with secessionist under tones. World markets are turning the Democrats upside down. In three weeks they win the battle but lose the war. Federalism is over. 41 different states are in a degree of fiscal trouble. Municipalities, school systems and pensions are teetering. At a time when the Federal government is 10 trillion in debt, half the worlds paper wealth has just imploded along with it's corresponding tax base. With virtually every Central Government simultaneously borrowing to bailout their banks it's quite possible that there isn't enough global liquidity. Obama and the Democrats will be forced to either create the biggest increase in money supply in U.S. history or the Treasury could fail.

    Palin will lead the charge from the outside. When the purchasing power of a 2010 dollar resembles the Argentinian Peso and there's 14% unemployment how keen do you think Texas is going to be on supporting big budget Obama programs? Weirdly Palin is 10x the revolutionary Obama fancies himself and that's why every utterance of hers is nervously studied by the Left. Ideas are sold through imagery.....
     
    #10     Oct 10, 2008