David Brooks Shills for Santorum

Republican Party

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Nobody can beat David Brooks for putting lipstick on pigs. He’s downright poetic about it.

Today Brooks writes of Rick Santorum, “I’m delighted that Santorum is making a splash in this presidential campaign. He is far closer to developing a new 21st-century philosophy of government than most leaders out there.”

Seriously. And what philosophy would that be? Giving lobbyists votes in Congress?

Brooks describes Santorum as a Catholic scholar-philosopher, a modern-day Thomas Aquinas, and not the bigoted, corrupt yahoo that he actually is. But in truth, the pig in this case isn’t so much Santorum as the Republican party itself. Santorum’s rise to near-frontrunner status is the stuff slapstick comedy is made of. It is a joke played by the cosmos. And, sadly, we are all the butts of it.

Update: Michael Gerson likewise applies tinted emollient to the lips of an even-toed ungulate —

Rick Santorum is not just an outspoken social conservative; he is the Republican candidate who addresses the struggles of blue-collar workers and the need for greater economic mobility. He talks not only of the rights of the individual but also of the health of social institutions, particularly the family. He draws out the public consequences of a belief in human dignity — a pro-life view applied to the unborn and to victims of AIDS in Africa.

Is it me, or is it getting frothy out there?

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Lynne  •  Jan 6, 2012 @10:41 am

    Yes. Even though it was Brooks, after all, I was STILL puzzled by that article.

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 6, 2012 @10:56 am

    Ah, Brooks,
    The jokes just write themselves:
    “I’m delighted that Santorum is making a splash in this presidential campaign.”
    Yes, and you’d better have a HazMat suit, some industrial-strength Lysol, and a gross of the gross Koch Brothers paper towels, because you’re going to need all of that after a Santorum splash.

    And here, in his final couple of sentences, he perfoms his typical Brooksian Pax De-dodo, where the odious and insipid dance with the simplistic and incoherent – all in an attempt to sound hipper than a guy who couldn’t get laid even if he had a couple of fistful’s of pardons in a Women’s (or, or for that matter, Men’s) Prison:

    “America is creative because of its moral materialism — when social values and economic ambitions get down in the mosh pit and dance. Santorum is in the fray.”

    If there’s Santorum in the fray in the mosh pit, you can bet most people would attempt to beat the land-speed record to get away from it.
    But not “Our Miss(taken) Brooks” – he’s very well paid to dive right in.

  3. goatherd  •  Jan 6, 2012 @11:09 am

    Echidne had a couple of good articles on Santorum, with some interesting links. The first paragraph in the following is from an article in the New York Times and the last paragraph is a snippet of Echidne’s response:

    Rick and Karen Santorum, a former nurse and a nonpracticing attorney, have six children between the ages of 2 and 14, and live in Leesburg, Va., about an hour from Washington and as close to Washington as they could afford a home big enough for their family. (Karen Santorum would not be interviewed for this article.) Santorum drives himself to and from Capitol Hill in a 2001 Chevy TrailBlazer. He will not work Sundays, except in extraordinary circumstances, and he rarely stays overnight when traveling because he does not like to be away from his family. He tends a large vegetable garden and several fruit trees, cuts his own grass and does home repairs. Santorum says he does not want his home-state voters to think he feels impoverished on his $162,100 Senate salary, but it is clear that money is a concern and that he is almost certainly one of the least well-off among the 100 senators.

    ”We live paycheck to paycheck, absolutely,” he says. Does he have money set aside for college? ”No. None. I always tell my kids: ‘Work hard. We’ll take out loans. Whatever.’ ” He volunteers that his parents help out financially. ”They’re by no means wealthy — they’re two retired V. A. employees — but they’ll send a check every now and then. They realize things are a little tighter for us.”

    Interesting, isn’t it? He is accepting handouts from his parents who are not wealthy and who get their money from the retirement system that Santorum is working to destroy. If Santorum cannot quite make it on a salary that most of us would find princely, what does he expect ordinary families to do?

    Another link to a reliable source has Rick explaining that he has never read the entire Bible and that “as a Catholic” he does’t have to, he can just accept the interpretation and the authority of the Catholic Church.

    The articles are a day or two apart, I shpuld have linked to them, sorry. Her blog is always worth reading.

  4. biggerbox  •  Jan 6, 2012 @11:29 am

    I don’t know, Brooksie, it seems to me that the combination of sanctimonious Papist theocracy and crass money-grubbing is more 16th Century than 21st.

    I’m frustrated enough by the constant battle to keep Republicans from bringing back the Gilded Age, I don’t want to have to fight a return the the Medici era.

    It’s hard to believe that even the Cabbage is doing more than going through the motions here, though. He spends the first couple paragraphs talking about how he’s to the left of Santorum, and finds his language absurd. Then he goes into puffery mode, attempting to find some kind of silver lining in Santorum, which he manages in workmanlike ‘contrarian’ style, though I don’t think he’s really serious. Even for Brooks, this reasoning is thin and vague.

    The best he can do is that Santorum’s theocracy depends on a basic belief in community values, not atomistic individualism. Yeah, so?

    The same trait is true of almost every political philosophy. Politics isn’t about whether government should reflect moral values, it’s about what moral values it should reflect, how assertively.

    Me, I’m big on the moral value that government should protect my privacy in the bedroom, and so contraception should be legal, rather than honor a minority belief that every sperm is sacred. Santorum has a different value about what values government should enforce.

    Nothing innovative about that.

  5. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 6, 2012 @12:30 pm

    The “Cabbage.”
    I love that!

    I, on the other hand, look forward to reading Douthat’s aping of this column, since he really believes in a lot of the same BS that Santorum does.
    Not really – it’ll just be another typical Douthat rehash of a Brooks column. But, with FEELING!

  6. Stephen Stralka  •  Jan 6, 2012 @12:34 pm

    …it seems to me that the combination of sanctimonious Papist theocracy and crass money-grubbing is more 16th Century than 21st.

    Yep. The joke I always remember about Santorum (apart from Dan Savage’s indelible contribution, of course) is that someone once said he has “one of the finest minds of the 14th century.” Which isn’t really giving the 14th century enough credit, come to think of it (Chaucer, Boccaccio, Giotto, Claus Sluter, etc.). But it’s still a good line.

  7. moonbat  •  Jan 6, 2012 @2:40 pm

    I’m pretty stunned by this – I guess Brooks is even weirder than I thought. Shows how desperate they are. I do like “the finest minds of the 14th century” quote, although Santorum couldn’t hold a candle to some of the people alive back then. But he’d fit right in, holding candles for the powers that be.

    In other Mitt Romney is Radioactive news, the Boston Globe, from Mitt’s home state, endorsed Jon Huntsman. Interesting reasoning too – read the article.

    Mitt will probably render it all moot via his Super PAC.

  8. Felicity  •  Jan 6, 2012 @3:38 pm

    Heads, we get a theocracy ala-Santorum. Tails, we get fascism ala-Romney.

  9. bruce k  •  Jan 6, 2012 @4:13 pm

    ugh…santorum will be spat out by the electorate (ugh again!) if he were to get the nomination, so i’m happy for every day that he makes romney look weak and/or forces romney to slide right

  10. Tom b  •  Jan 6, 2012 @5:41 pm

    Gay-bashing and mysogeny– how delightfully 21st century. You gotta wonder how much of a smirk Brooks is suppressing when he writes his drivel.

  11. Doug Hughes  •  Jan 6, 2012 @10:04 pm

    I’m lovin’it.

    You got Mittens, the guy with the phony used-car-salesman iron-on grin who can’t (so far) buy national approval above 25% among the GOP.

    You got Newt, the original hateful conservative, torpedoed by big money, who he worked so hard to empower. Et tu, Wall Street. The great part is that it looks like Newt will stay in to a) sell books and b) bad mouth Romney. Don’t quit, Newt. For the first time in my life, I like you.

    You got Ron Paul. He’s done as well as he can hope for with a third place finish in Iowa. But I predict he won’t quit because he’s an evangelist for Ayn Rand and when he quits the race, it’s all over. The lights go out. He won’t run again for anything. The question Paul won’t answer is whether he will run against Romney as a third-party candidate.

    Santorum will net the Tea Party vote. The early states are not winner-take-all in delegate votes, so even though Santorum has the same chance as a snowball in hell, the effect will be to bleed off delegate votes from Romney, and build Tea Party resentment when the super-PAC goes postal on the (real) Christian.

    This might be the brokered convention that pundits talk about, but never happens in real life. If so, expect Sarah Palin to make an appearance as a reluctant alternative. If that looks even remotely possible, expect Jeb Bush to make a keynote speech. And then, as if there aren’t enough rings in the circus. Donald Trump might announce as a 4th party candidate.

    Like I said, I’m lovin’it!

  12. Craig  •  Jan 6, 2012 @11:13 pm

    Santorum would put people like me at risk of an early death. His opposition to health care reform does not represent any kind of compassion that I understand. I signed up for the new preexisting condition insurance program (PCIP) as soon as it was available.

    Romney, not Santorum, is probably going to win the nomination. But Santorum represents where much of the Republican Party is at the moment.

    Although I’m no fan of David Brooks, David Brooks is no Santorum. It really is a measure of our bizarre age how far to the right the Republican Party is stretched out across the political landscape. The GOP is increasingly a shaky coalition of many different interests. At the end of the day, political opportunists like Romney are going to borrow effective rhetoric from people like Santorum, or anyone else who is running. And average non-extremist Republican voters will close their eyes in November and pretend they’re unified and that the extremists aren’t really as bad as they seem to be (uh, actually they are, and they’re worse than George W. Bush was).

    I sometimes manage to hold my nose and read David Brooks. He waffles a lot and, yes, puts lipstick on pigs, but he knows something few Republicans are willing to admit: the party has to change. Brooks likes to think of himself as a pragmatist. Guess what, there’s very little pragmatism left in the Republican party, as so many of us know. Conservatism as we know it is in its death throes and is therefore very dangerous. Think how pathological it is that Republicans avoid mentioning George W. Bush. But they keep reinventing his policies! They cannot admit the magnitude of their failures over the last 30 years. They are bankrupt of idea and cannot admit that they nearly drove our country to bankruptcy. But they’re like wounded animals, and they’re dangerous.

  13. Felicity  •  Jan 7, 2012 @1:58 pm

    Craig – “wounded animals” is a perfect description of today’s Republicans. Victimization – by unions, the poor, the elite, the educators, the French, the ‘regulators,’ blacks, socialists, gays, lesbians, Obama, Pelosi, Latinos, the ‘government’, environmentalists, women, Muslims, would-be gun-controllers, poor children, …(did I leave anything/body out) is the Republican platform, period.

  14. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 8, 2012 @6:16 am

    Republicans are not merely “Wounded animals” – they are meth-crazed, rabid, cornered rats.
    And these cornered rats want be the ones telling you who you can have sex with, who to pray to, how to manage your pregnancy, and also have the nuclear attack codes.