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David Brooks' Delusional Op-Ed

YYW
Posts: 36,391
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12/4/2015 8:17:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Obligatory Disclaimer: First, I want to begin this by saying that I don't have a personal issue with David Brooks. I think he's a fine commenter on all things that have no relation to politics, and while he's certainly better than, for example, Maureen Dowd (who is pretty much a gossip columnist functionally indistinguishable from, for example, TMZ), or Ross Douthat (whose is functionally the NYT's shallow gesture towards the appearance--not reality--of intellectual diversity, and possessed of all the isight I might expect from a somewhat precocious high schooler born to conservative Catholic parents), brooks is by no means what I think anyone could reasonably describe as a clever political commenter. Second, yes, to answer your question which you must have been asking after that spiel, I do often read the NYT's op ed section for the sole purpose of my own amusement, and it rarely disappoints. Their opinions are just silly. But, to the point... Brooks' article:

http://www.nytimes.com...

Brooks' whole point is that Trump will not win. He begins with an absurd analogy to rug shopping, and compares Trump to the pink rug he selected on a whim. The comparison is that Trump is Republicans' pink rug because "he does the job that they want done at this moment" by "reflecting their disgust with the political establishment" and furnishes them with "the pleasurable sensation that somebody on come to Washington" and "shake things up." This, on the day that Trump's numbers have reached an all time high, based on a poll that was done even before the recent events in California.

In support of Brooks' argument, he suggests that 70-80% of voters in the primaries make up their minds in the final month of the race, and that if you ask voters who they like they merely "generate an answer" but Brooks' belief is that the answer they "generate" is meaningless because the American body politic is just that shifty. Brooks anticipates that there will be a "mental shift" where Republican voters more or less 'come to their senses' and see that Trump, ridiculous pink rug that he is, is an utterly impractical choice. He rambles on a bit more, but that's the essential point Brooks is trying to make.

This is probably the most weakly supported, pathetic, comically absurd op-ed I have seen the NYT publish in months. Not weeks. Not days. (And keep in mind that this is a paper which is, since the untimely death of their previous editor, which is practically INFAMOUS for posting weakly supported, pathetic, comically absurd op-eds.) Now, it's certainly possible that Brooks actually believes this garbage. It is conceivable that, in this instance, and previous ones, he is simply unaware either of (i) the remarkable stability and continuity of Trump's polling numbers in every state, and every district, and in national averages; or, in the event that he is aware, (ii) he either (a) hasn't noticed, or if he has noticed, then (b) Brooks could simply so inept as a pundit that he does not understand what it means. My guess is that Brooks is aware of the continuity, but hasn't a clue what it mean.

The reason why that's my theory is that his analogy holds more accurate for any of the "pink rugs" that the GOP has seen rise and fall, in a manner similar to how Brooks has more or less built up the strawman model of success and failure. Examples of previous iterations of Republican "pink rugs" are many: Scott Walker (probably the first), Carly Fiorina, and--most repugnantly--Ben Carson. And yet, as their sensation has come and passed, what remains is the continuity of Donald Trump's incomparable popularity among, without limitation, a two-fold constituency which the NYT practically doesn't even recognize exists: uneducated white people who have traditionally voted with the Republican party since Reagan, and the politically cynical independents who represent that percentage of people who are so disenfranchised with the process that they don't even bother to vote. That latter group isn't even reflected in the polls, because the polls are taken from "likely Republican voters" and they (the latter group) are not historically even likely voters, much less likely Republican voters.

But, you don't even have to know about that latter (heretofore unrepresented group of voters) to know that Brooks' analysis is pathetic, because the simple fact of Trump's broad popularity (on both the national levels and state levels), and the stability of his popularity, are enough to suggest (to anyone fully possessed of their senses, who is not deluded by their own misunderstanding of how Republican politics work) that his conclusion that, just, of necessity, Brooks' conclusion that Trump "will not win" is specious horse sh!t. Per force, it means that Brooks' analysis is deficient on its face, but then again he is a political columnist and not, for example, a lawyer or a political scientist, or, both. So, it is manifestly obvious that because it is possible that Trump could win, Brooks is equally obviously wrong. It would be just perfectly idiotic to think that a politician who holds, and has held for months now, nearly 1/3 of the constituency, far more than any other political, and whose poll numbers are roughly equivalent on the national level, and have been for months, to the sum of the next two lower guys below him--at least in the past month-- just was "incapable" of winning. It defies reason. (However, defying reason is certainly something of a hobby for many NYT columnists, except Thomas Edsall, who is pretty much the only consistently reasonable person I've ever seen publish anything in the past three years, with the exception of Paul Krugman, who certainly says reasonable things, with the adolescent tendency to say them as if he is having a temper tantrum.)

What Brooks did (and this is why he's pretty much the lead columnist at the NYT) is he said something that everyone on the intellectual left is thinking, so people read it and they think, "Ah! Yes! I agree with this! What a reasonable perspective! I shall continue my subscription to the NYT because I feel smart that David Brooks, high and esteemed commenter of the NYT, arrived at precisely the same conclusion I did!" Of course that's an incredibly cynical position, but you're just not going to see any real analysis in the Times about how thing have changed in Republican politics after Bush, and get the analysis right. It's just not going to happen. As long as Brooks is saying the same nonsense that everyone else is thinking, no one is going to cancel their subscriptions, and the Times will continue to have lovely revenues from advertising. (This quality of publishing garbage like this, again, is something that's really gotten a lot worse under Dean Baquet. Jill Abramson just did a way better job. WAY better job. Like, there is no question that the quality of reporting/analysis has gone down since Abramson's departure.) And all of that is just pathetic...
Tsar of DDO
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,254
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12/23/2015 6:08:59 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
"It is conceivable that, in this instance, and previous ones, he is simply unaware either of (i) the remarkable stability and continuity of Trump's polling numbers in every state, and every district, and in national averages; or, in the event that he is aware, (ii) he either (a) hasn't noticed, or if he has noticed, then (b) Brooks could simply so inept as a pundit that he does not understand what it means. My guess is that Brooks is aware of the continuity, but hasn't a clue what it mean."

Did you even read the article? Of course he's aware that trump is leading in the polls, hence his comparison to the "pink rug". His point is that it's too early for any of this to be relevant, and Nate Silver - the guy who's famous for making political predictions - agrees with him. It's pretty clear why you want Trump to be a serious candidate: it would be embarrassing for Republicans. Conversely, it's clear why David Brooks and so many other conservative commentators are desperate to separate the republican Party from Donald Trump in any way they can, given his clown-like personality and tendency toward making outrageous statements that reflect badly on conservatives. Just admit that's what's going on.
YYW
Posts: 36,391
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12/23/2015 2:04:10 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/23/2015 6:08:59 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
"It is conceivable that, in this instance, and previous ones, he is simply unaware either of (i) the remarkable stability and continuity of Trump's polling numbers in every state, and every district, and in national averages; or, in the event that he is aware, (ii) he either (a) hasn't noticed, or if he has noticed, then (b) Brooks could simply so inept as a pundit that he does not understand what it means. My guess is that Brooks is aware of the continuity, but hasn't a clue what it mean."

Did you even read the article?

I don't think you did... lol

Of course he's aware that trump is leading in the polls, hence his comparison to the "pink rug". His point is that it's too early for any of this to be relevant, and Nate Silver - the guy who's famous for making political predictions - agrees with him. It's pretty clear why you want Trump to be a serious candidate: it would be embarrassing for Republicans. Conversely, it's clear why David Brooks and so many other conservative commentators are desperate to separate the republican Party from Donald Trump in any way they can, given his clown-like personality and tendency toward making outrageous statements that reflect badly on conservatives. Just admit that's what's going on.
Tsar of DDO
TBR
Posts: 9,991
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12/23/2015 2:42:04 PM
Posted: 11 months ago
At 12/4/2015 8:17:50 PM, YYW wrote:
Obligatory Disclaimer: First, I want to begin this by saying that I don't have a personal issue with David Brooks. I think he's a fine commenter on all things that have no relation to politics, and while he's certainly better than, for example, Maureen Dowd (who is pretty much a gossip columnist functionally indistinguishable from, for example, TMZ), or Ross Douthat (whose is functionally the NYT's shallow gesture towards the appearance--not reality--of intellectual diversity, and possessed of all the isight I might expect from a somewhat precocious high schooler born to conservative Catholic parents), brooks is by no means what I think anyone could reasonably describe as a clever political commenter. Second, yes, to answer your question which you must have been asking after that spiel, I do often read the NYT's op ed section for the sole purpose of my own amusement, and it rarely disappoints. Their opinions are just silly. But, to the point... Brooks' article:

http://www.nytimes.com...

Brooks' whole point is that Trump will not win. He begins with an absurd analogy to rug shopping, and compares Trump to the pink rug he selected on a whim. The comparison is that Trump is Republicans' pink rug because "he does the job that they want done at this moment" by "reflecting their disgust with the political establishment" and furnishes them with "the pleasurable sensation that somebody on come to Washington" and "shake things up." This, on the day that Trump's numbers have reached an all time high, based on a poll that was done even before the recent events in California.

In support of Brooks' argument, he suggests that 70-80% of voters in the primaries make up their minds in the final month of the race, and that if you ask voters who they like they merely "generate an answer" but Brooks' belief is that the answer they "generate" is meaningless because the American body politic is just that shifty. Brooks anticipates that there will be a "mental shift" where Republican voters more or less 'come to their senses' and see that Trump, ridiculous pink rug that he is, is an utterly impractical choice. He rambles on a bit more, but that's the essential point Brooks is trying to make.

This is probably the most weakly supported, pathetic, comically absurd op-ed I have seen the NYT publish in months. Not weeks. Not days. (And keep in mind that this is a paper which is, since the untimely death of their previous editor, which is practically INFAMOUS for posting weakly supported, pathetic, comically absurd op-eds.) Now, it's certainly possible that Brooks actually believes this garbage. It is conceivable that, in this instance, and previous ones, he is simply unaware either of (i) the remarkable stability and continuity of Trump's polling numbers in every state, and every district, and in national averages; or, in the event that he is aware, (ii) he either (a) hasn't noticed, or if he has noticed, then (b) Brooks could simply so inept as a pundit that he does not understand what it means. My guess is that Brooks is aware of the continuity, but hasn't a clue what it mean.

The reason why that's my theory is that his analogy holds more accurate for any of the "pink rugs" that the GOP has seen rise and fall, in a manner similar to how Brooks has more or less built up the strawman model of success and failure. Examples of previous iterations of Republican "pink rugs" are many: Scott Walker (probably the first), Carly Fiorina, and--most repugnantly--Ben Carson. And yet, as their sensation has come and passed, what remains is the continuity of Donald Trump's incomparable popularity among, without limitation, a two-fold constituency which the NYT practically doesn't even recognize exists: uneducated white people who have traditionally voted with the Republican party since Reagan, and the politically cynical independents who represent that percentage of people who are so disenfranchised with the process that they don't even bother to vote. That latter group isn't even reflected in the polls, because the polls are taken from "likely Republican voters" and they (the latter group) are not historically even likely voters, much less likely Republican voters.

But, you don't even have to know about that latter (heretofore unrepresented group of voters) to know that Brooks' analysis is pathetic, because the simple fact of Trump's broad popularity (on both the national levels and state levels), and the stability of his popularity, are enough to suggest (to anyone fully possessed of their senses, who is not deluded by their own misunderstanding of how Republican politics work) that his conclusion that, just, of necessity, Brooks' conclusion that Trump "will not win" is specious horse sh!t. Per force, it means that Brooks' analysis is deficient on its face, but then again he is a political columnist and not, for example, a lawyer or a political scientist, or, both. So, it is manifestly obvious that because it is possible that Trump could win, Brooks is equally obviously wrong. It would be just perfectly idiotic to think that a politician who holds, and has held for months now, nearly 1/3 of the constituency, far more than any other political, and whose poll numbers are roughly equivalent on the national level, and have been for months, to the sum of the next two lower guys below him--at least in the past month-- just was "incapable" of winning. It defies reason. (However, defying reason is certainly something of a hobby for many NYT columnists, except Thomas Edsall, who is pretty much the only consistently reasonable person I've ever seen publish anything in the past three years, with the exception of Paul Krugman, who certainly says reasonable things, with the adolescent tendency to say them as if he is having a temper tantrum.)

What Brooks did (and this is why he's pretty much the lead columnist at the NYT) is he said something that everyone on the intellectual left is thinking, so people read it and they think, "Ah! Yes! I agree with this! What a reasonable perspective! I shall continue my subscription to the NYT because I feel smart that David Brooks, high and esteemed commenter of the NYT, arrived at precisely the same conclusion I did!" Of course that's an incredibly cynical position, but you're just not going to see any real analysis in the Times about how thing have changed in Republican politics after Bush, and get the analysis right. It's just not going to happen. As long as Brooks is saying the same nonsense that everyone else is thinking, no one is going to cancel their subscriptions, and the Times will continue to have lovely revenues from advertising. (This quality of publishing garbage like this, again, is something that's really gotten a lot worse under Dean Baquet. Jill Abramson just did a way better job. WAY better job. Like, there is no question that the quality of reporting/analysis has gone down since Abramson's departure.) And all of that is just pathetic...

I don't know.... Trump is very akin to a curiously attractive pink rug.