Thursday, June 17, 2004
You know the Times must have been bombarded with disgusted and exasperated letters when they publish six negative responses to David Brooks's latest foray into sociological analysis. Brooks had argued in his last column that the "partisan divide" in our country reflects conflicting values within the "elite" class--businessmen and managers admire Bush, intellectual professionals admire Kerry. This is absurd for all the obvious reasons, starting with the fact that Bush can't "manage" any sort of organization, let alone the federal government. I particularly enjoyed one of the letters, which objects to Brooks's remark that Democratic leaders tend to place less value on "discipline" (what kind? "message" discipline? mass execution? state terrorism? secret forced sodomy?) than on "self-expression." The letter writer enumerates all of the ways in which John Kerry has lived a relentlessly focused and disciplined life. He then concludes the letter simply by remarking that the "idea of self-expression is even more comical." The letter writer seems to suggest not just that "self-expression" is an absurd criterion for leadership, and that Democrats are more concerned with competence; he really seems also to suggest that the whole question of "self-expression" is absurd in the context of this campaign because Bush is not a self and is incapable of any form of expression. But perhaps I'm reading too much into it; see for yourself! The main point is that the Times must have had to spend hours reading all the anti-Brooks letters. How soon before they have to find a new "moderative conservative voice"? And who will it be?
Actually, I have an idea: given that Reagan's passage "across the bar," between insentient states, has turned him into a "national figure" who transcends party lines, he can no longer be referred to as the sunny neo-fascist that he was. So he is therefore necessarily a "moderate conservative." Thus it appears that Bush, the hard conservative, will have trouble taking on the mantle of Reagan reborn, or disinterred; you know which corpse I would vote for. Bush can't be the new Reagan because Bush is so "ideological," whereas Reagan "redefined the political center." Therefore, I propose that Ronald Reagan replace David Brooks as the new "moderate conservative voice" at the New York Times.