Bobo in tomorrow morning’s Times:
You wouldn’t know it some days, but there are moderates in this country — moderate conservatives, moderate liberals, just plain moderates. We sympathize with a lot of the things that President Obama is trying to do. We like his investments in education and energy innovation. We support health care reform that expands coverage while reducing costs.
(but we think he’s turning into a radical left-winger, natch)
Moderate? What happened to worshiping Edmund Burke and Hayek and Oakeshott and all those other guys? What happened to kicking it in Gstaad with William F. Buckley?
What concerns me most is the very real possibility that Brooks will now dig up some long forgotten hero of moderation and begin quoting him as if we all were supposed to know who he was. Are there any moderate intellectual writers I should start boning up on right now?
He and Richard Cohen and Broder can all DIAF. All of them.
Centrism == Where Republicans can have their cake and eat it, too.
Heat Miser -> Snow Miser -> Tepid Water Miser
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. Since you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am going to spit you out of my mouth. You say, “I am rich. I have become wealthy. I don’t need anything.” Yet you don’t realize that you are miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.
Con: He hasn’t been dead that long.
Pro: He’s Canadian and so is Brooks.
What are you talking about? Burke and Hayek and Oakeshott are moderates.
I’d suggest Joe Bob Briggs, but Brooks might read it and take me seriously.
Moderates by definition never have anything to say that distinguishes themselves from the crowd, so, no.
A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice. – Thomas Paine (take that Burke!)
Not to imply that Brooks is actually a moderate…
Who was it that wrote the Archie comics?
Shorter Brooks "I see the writing on the wall and Id like to keep my influential job. Forget (please) most of what I have written before. Unless of course the mood of the country shifts and I need to pivot again. Thanks.".
Who are these Moderation Nazis that Brooks speaks of? I want names.
What’s DIAF? Die In A Fire?
Given how far these wingnut loony tunes have strayed from the reservation, I’d say Barry Goldwater. He would now be considered a moderate. And possibly Nelson Rockefeller if he wrote anything other than checks.
Honestly, I believe aristotle is the go to guy for the brookses and broderses of the world. he was an elite guy who didn’t like lots of representationa and hated squabbling in the athenian democracy. i believe broder may be aristotle’s grandson. could be wrong though.
And in this case, (figuratively) absolutely!
I’m putting my money on Henry Clay.
Die in a Fire:
Sir Francis Bacon?
What do they call it when a fan abandons his favorite team when they start to lose and start rooting for the team that’s winning?
Hmm, I think Montesquieu might be pissy enough, and he’s the closest I can think of to a ‘famous moderate’.
"The spirit of moderation should also be the spirit of the lawgiver."
Charles de Montesquieu
Aristotle is also useful because he wrote in such a torturous fashion that most people just give up after the first couple of paragraphs, so an intellectual lightweight like BoBo can make up anything and preface it with "Aristotle said it best".
If any of these buffoons actually sat down with the Nicomachean Ethics or Politics and strived to understand what was being said, they’d hang up their pens forever.
Brick Oven Bill
I have dug up a picture of my reinvigorated Ford Focus, previously referred to, chugging up the Rockies. I have also referenced David Brook’s article at the New York Times, stock price $4.03, and note that Dave is wearing a pink shirt and pink tie.
Good for David Brooks.
I think Bacon was responsible for Porkulus…or the other way around…or…
You have got to get over the fact that Brooks brought up Burke and you’d never heard of him before.
He’s the "Father of Conservatism". You probably should have known about him. But you didn’t. Whatever. Let’s move on.
This is what I think of when I hear discussion of "true moderates":
"Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later [makes squish gesture] get squish, just like grape. Here, karate, same thing. Either you karate do ‘yes’ or karate do ‘no.’ You karate do ‘guess so,’ [makes squish gesture] just like grape. Understand?"
Well, so called moderates (he worked for both Republican and Democratic White Houses so he must be a moderate) still don’t get it either. David Gergen was on Anderson Cooper saying Obama was too ambitious with tackling health care and energy at the same time as the economy, oblivious to the fact that they are all related. To paraphrase:
So the only good health care reform is getting the government out of healthcare.
Tee Hee — Doug wrote "boning up."
Sorry, I have nothing substantive to add to the discourse, not unlike Republicans.
I wouldn’t be too worried. Brooks seriously makes the comment that the US has "never been a society riven by class resentment", which shows how much history he’s heard of – anyone else remember Bacon’s Rebellion, the Progressive Movement, "Share Our Wealth", and so forth?
As soon as you said that it occurred to me:
Isaiah Berlin. It’s going to be Isaiah Berlin.
Granted, Brooks may not have read much, but Berlin is the perfect urbane liberal whose intellectual history tamps down revolutionary fervor by patiently, drolly narrating its origins.
Dollars to Applebee’s doughnuts (they have those, don’t they?) it’s Berlin.
And yes I’m permalinking this shit.
I dare say he’s written the most detailed and timeless treatise on the philosophy of moderation, and I’m sure Jonathan Krohn has read it well.
Naturally, David Broder’s reverence for Southey’s work hardly needs to be elaborated…
Watch out for Fanon and Marcuse and AS Neill. I’m sure Brooks is dying to misuse one of them.
The bold, outspoken Moderate Manifesto!
For fuck’s sake. Obama wants health care reform that expands coverage while reducing costs. So do Mitch McConnell and Rush Limbaugh. The question is how we get it. And – sit down and take a deep breath, David – they disagree on how to do it.
The great thing is, we have these things called elections that tell us whose ideas the public wants to try. I know, David, that that can eventually lead to people disagreeing and making for some contentious times in your safe, happy, carefree Village. But it’s actually worked pretty well for us for a coupla hundred years. Read a few books and you’ll see.
I think this is an excellent guess the only thing is that Berlin was much feted by Michael Ignatieff who was his official biographer. And because of this Berlin is now much associated with the leader of the Liberal Party in Canada in the minds of the bien pensants. Just because of this I would go with JS Mill (I would have said Montesquie but he is French so we better stick with Brits or Scotts).
isn’t this further evidence that obama really has shifted the overton window?
it used to be that "liberal" was a slur, and "socialist" was unheard of.
back then, brooksie would have been explaining to all of us how we really belonged to a "conservative" country, how he of course was a "conservative", and really all of us, deep down, are "conservatives", no matter what we think.
but now, "liberal" is a badge of pride, so the slur-mongers have to reach for "socialist".
and "moderate" is what the old conservatives are trying on as their new camouflage. they tried "center-right" for a while, but even that didn’t work.
(i.e., "moderate" is to "conservative" what "progressive" was to "liberal": evidence that you can’t say your real name in polite company).
miss wild whiskers
OT, but I do think the repube meltdown into a pile of Rush supplicators is a bit eerie and wonder what they are up to because it is all indeed too surreal. Please don’t tell me I’m a fool since I think I’m still suffering from battered-wife syndrome.
oh, sh*t, john–i apologize.
after reading, and laughing through, that whole thread on the "soc …ializm" debacle and the fam spilter, here i go and write a comment with "soc…ilizm" spelled out in it, and of course it gets kicked into moderation, making more work for you.
as michale steele would say, my bad.
miss wild whiskers
Why doesn’t strike-out work? Grrr.
the world’s two most famous moderates: Goldilocks and the Baby Bear. everything is Just Right.
"William J. H. Boetcker (1873 – 1962) was an American religious leader and influential public speaker"
has recently been showing up on Conservative blogs with comments such as (paraphrasing) "if only Obama were this moderate." Some email must have gone out with his quotes in it:
"You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.
And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves."
OT, but be sure to catch the repeats today of last night’s Daily Show.
They had CPAC coverage, among other things. The best part — a highlight of Limbaugh, another of Coulter, a third of the preteen conservative, and then a picture of all three with the caption "TWO AND A HALF MEN"
in the repub concept, no writer who espouses the conservative screed can be anything but moderate and mainstream. the most radical can only lean the least bit toward the right, where this country naturally lies. on the contrary, anyone who supports in any form a liberal, or human, bent, can be no less than a rabid communist/fascist/muslim/terrorist. (take your pick from the menu de jour)
miss wild whiskers
BOB, is that the Focus up ahead? If so, who was trailing you with the camera? I was expecting full-frontal and side views. I’m a tad disappointed.
The obvious answer is Walter Mondale.
Captain (Where’s the) Beefheart won’t lead us astray!
Minnesota once showed us the boring way!
Who is the leader to get us through this day?
Our Man Walter!
Mill is not a moderate, but a thorough radical — in the cause of individual freedom. The people at ‘Reason’ would love him.
I’m guessing Bobo will take the path of least effort and stick with Burke. Reflections on the Revolution in France is a long, rambling tract, and there’s enough passages in it you can extract to paint yourself as a moderate. Plus, he won’t need to bone up on anything (look at the man, for god’s sake — he is the very image of sexlessness. Boning is as far away from him as the Andromeda galaxy.)
calling all toasters
Snark aside, this f*@%er can go eat sh!t and die:
The Republicans wage a 30 year jihad against the working classes, against anyone but the top 0.5%, and conduct the greatest transfer of wealth upwards since the 1920s, and maybe since the Gilded Age, and he still reels out this redbaiting sh!t and demands to be called a "moderate".
F*@% you, David Brooks, you miserable little faux intellectual who thinks your trendy burps are "sociology".
(Posted this earlier in wrong thread.)
He’s exactly right.
Aside from Andrew Jackson’s common-man Democrats, William Jennings Bryan’s Populists, TR’s trust busting rampage, Wilson’s progressivism, FDR’s tirades against "economic royalists," Huey Long’s Share Our Wealth crusade, "Give ‘Em Hell" Harry Truman, Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s March, and the conservative anti-elitism of George Wallace, Spiro Agnew and the Silent Majority, there have never ever been class politics in America.
Someone explained all this to me at the salad bar at Applebee’s.
I like Robert Southey @30. I think we should start a collection and send Brooks the complete works of Southey. The beauty of it really goes beyond Goldilocks, because he was a notoriously unprincipled political turncoat as well.
William Safire, duh.
Oh, and Ann Coulter, but only if you edit out all the insults and mean things she says about, well, everyone.
Oh, and any books Rush Limbaugh wrote after 1994, just to see how up-to-date his ruminations and musings are.
And David Broder, the Sage of the Beltway.
And… how sarcastic does my answer have to be, by the by?
I stopped reading at that sentence. Seriously, if you have a job writing as an "intellectual" at a major newspaper, can you at least have actual knowledge of history?
Are there any moderate intellectual writers I should start boning up on right now?
I’m thinking you should check out the collected wisdom of…Arnold Schwarzeneggar:
Clearly a Burkean in style and temperament.
The problem with Brooks’ "moderation" is that it leaves out all of the context. Pretending that the damage of the past eight years didn’t happen is just not good enough– particularly for someone like Brooks, who bears some responsibility for it.
Hey, now, I’m a moderate. By which I mean that although I lean left of center, I think it’s important to have a voice for limiting government’s size and scope. Too bad the Republicans are the party of authoritarian plutocracy.
I’m a moderate! Which means, I’m all for fixing the nation’s problems as long as you don’t actually fix anything.
used to be disgusted
@TR and Frank: That’s exactly where I stopped reading, too.
Honestly, what tripe. The US has never been riven by class resentment, but it will be if we restore the top bracket to what it was in the 90s.
I’ll say Bill Moyers, but I don’t think that’s what Bobo had in mind.
I hereby challenge Doug to compose prose that excludes references to any of these eclectic and obscure individuals.
Speaking only for myself, being "moderate" doesn’t mean averaging everything out. Sometimes the activists should win.
Brooks is a moderate.
And I’m a Chinese jet pilot.
The problem is "moderate" is an ideological term, used and defined entirely by the rightwing / punditariat nexus, and it is not what you or I might use the term as.
We have been dominated by some rather extreme right wing philosophies and governments for the past 30-40 years, and ‘moderate’ is not what it used to be.
@used to be disgusted: Oh, you stopped too early. . I loved this bit:
As if raising the marginal tax rates on people making more than $250K a year is going to let everyone else stop paying taxes altogether and start loafing around under our very own apple trees while the wealthy do all the work for once.
Sorry, Brooks, but you’re the guy who invented "National Greatness Conservatism" – which makes him, in my eyes, pretty much the architect of Bush policy…right-wing dirigisme.
You fail, David.
No argument with that. I suppose I would like to reclaim the label.
I second Henry Clay. Obscure for so long her can be made to represent anything. Double plus good: a Whig!
The Other Steve
Grover Cleveland is a radical moderate.
First he was a Democrat, which means he was liberal and bad.
But he was a radical, cause when farmers in Texas were asking for a bailout he said no. Arguing if he gave farmers a bailout then everyone would want a bailout and then the people would be dependent upon the government.
So he’s sort of like a combo of Rush Limbaugh and JFK, see?
Ash Wing League
First, how is it that Brooks could actually paint himself as a moderate when he was busy cheering every move Bush made?
And then how is it that there are actually people out there who believe the bullshit he spews? Can’t they see that he’s doing this because it’s the only way for him to look like the ‘sane opposition’ to Obama?
At any rate, the basic issue is the kind of conservative figures that right-wingers in the US like to quote are generally pretty moderate figures in the larger context – conservatives never hold up traditional conservatives like Metternich or quasi-fascist types like Carl Schmitt or the Action Française to support their terrible policies. It’s always Burke and Disraeli and so forth.
Did David Brooks support the Bush tax cuts? I’ve been googling, but there are so many matches to Brooks and Bush Tax cuts I haven’t been able to find out.
This has to be the funniest thing I read this week!
Dougj, I thought conservatives were supposed to be the anti-intellectuals. You’re really giving them a run for their money.
Thomas Paine was an ass.
All things in Moderation, even Moderation.