Thursday, February 01, 2007

David Brooks , official spokesman for... himself.

Glenn Greenwald lays a much deserved smackdown on that insufferably smug David Brooks whose schtick is hide his neo-con leanings behind his affable soft-spoken blathering. He targets Brooks because he is such an egregious example of this self-proclaimed assumption of the title of "Spokesman for Americans" but this criticism applies to the whole crew of neo-com war-mongering empire-builders.
One of the most common tactics among pundits of all types, but particularly Bush-supporting and pro-war pundits, is to take whatever their own personal opinion happens to be, and then -- rather than stating that opinion and providing rationale or documentation for it -- they instead preface it with the phrase "Americans believe" or "most Americans think," thereby anointing themselves as Spokesman for The American People and casting the appearance that they speak on behalf of the Silent, Noble American Majority.

Not only do they make these assertions about what "Americans believe" and what "the country wants" with no empirical evidence of any kind, but worse -- especially now that "Americans" have come to overwhelmingly reject them and their belief system -- they equate their own views with what "Americans want" in the face of mountains of empirical evidence which proves that the opposite is true. John McCain, as but one example, does this almost every time he speaks about Iraq and what "Americans think" about the war.

David Brooks is one of the leading practitioners of this tactic, fancying himself as the vessel through which the majority of good, common Americans express themselves. His New York Times column today is based exclusively on one of the most egregious and misleading instances of this tactic.


In reality, these pundits have complete disdain for American public opinion, because the American masses too frequently have the audacity to deviate from, and outright reject, the superior wisdom handed down by Brooks and Kagan and John McCain and the AEI and the rest. Like everything else -- U.S. soldiers, the Constitution, the concept of "America" -- what "Americans believe" is merely a prop to be used or exploited in order to advance their war-making and liberty-infringing agenda. So when American public opinion contradicts that agenda, they simply ignore it or distort it and claim -- even though it is so plainly false -- that those noble, silent "Americans" share their quest for neoconservative glory or whatever other radical view they happen to be pushing.

The fact that Americans are increasingly rejecting the militarism which lies at the heart of the neoconservative worldview does not, of course, prove that that worldview is wrong. But the fact that Bush-supporting pundits and presidential candidates like John McCain continue to claim the mantle of Spokesmen for "Americans" even though their views are increasingly relegated to the fringe does reveal much about their character and credibility. The next time David Brooks goes to write a column in which he masquerades his own personal, fringe views as the "belief of Americans," perhaps his editors should suggest, or require, some proof to accompany that claim.


UPDATE II: For those requiring still more proof that Bush supporters like David Brooks do not believe in the founding principles and values of our country, note that Brooks goes out of his way to proclaim that "this is not a country looking to avoid entangling alliances." Brooks issues as express a repudiation as can be of the central warning issued by George Washington in his 1796 Farewell Address. Of course, the Founders -- along with the Constitution they enacted and the principles they embraced -- were very, very pre-9/11, and their views are thus wholly inapplicable, even dangerous, in light of our current predicament.

For Brooks and company, the real meaning of the 9/11 attacks was that we have to abandon the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and the foundations of the country and replace all of that with the updated (and wholly contrary) views of Dick Cheney, John Yoo and Bill Kristol.


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