David Brooks' idea of a
crazy, left-wing, wild-eyed,
radical modern leftist
Normally, I ignore my fellow progressives when they foam at the mouth about David Brooks, the New York Times columnist who is sort-of, not-quite-exactly, more-or-less-rightish-leaning, semi-kinda-conservative.
Not that I’m likely to recruit an army to march behind him. As a general rule, Brooks makes bland but not really offensive comments that are well short of outrageous, and likely to have all the impact of a marshmallow colliding in outer space with a powder puff.
But today he made my head explode.
Brooks first observed that the traditional political power centers are fracturing. Then he speculated. “Instead of just R’s and D’s there will be a Trump-dominated populist nationalism, a more libertarian Freedom Caucus, a Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren progressive caucus, a Chuck Schumer/Nancy Pelosi Democratic old guard.”
Fine, so far. But then he pressed the detonator button that blew up my brain by declaring, “The most important caucus formation will be in the ideological center. There’s a lot of room between the alt-right and the alt-left, between Trumpian authoritarianism and Sanders socialism.”
What! Huh? Bernie Sanders is “alt-left?” Brooks has the blind temerity to tell me that Sanders and Warren are the over-the-top equivalent in extremity of neo-fascist, race-baiting, torture-supporting, mass-arrest favoring, gun-toting, Medicare and Social Security-busting, business-deregulating Trump supporters?
That’s beyond outrageous! That’s teetering on the edge of criminal libel.
What does Sanders favor? He favors income redistribution by creating well-paying jobs that would more closely resemble what we had in the 1950s and 1960s, before America ceased being “great again.”
He favors free public education, such as what we used to have at the City College of New York — once "the poor man's Harvard" and at other public institutions.
He favors Medicare, including Medicare for all. And he favors regulating corporate power so that a handful of people cannot control — not to mention strangle — Democracy.
He favors conservation and the environment over private and corporate interests.
Know who first came up with that stuff in America? President Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, at the dawn of the 20th Century. It’s about as far left radical as your great grandmother's rocking chair.
What has happened is, this country has lost its mind and moved so far to the right that we can’t even see any more where we used to be without a high powered telescope So shut up and listen, David Brooks.
There is no left wing in this country any more, assuming there ever was one with any serious power. Sanders is the center. Schumer and Pelosi are somewhere to the right of that. The Conservatives, and the “Freedom” Caucusers, and the Neo-Conservatives and the Neo-Nazis around Trump are off the right edge of the right wing, floating in crazy whack-o land.
And evidently, so these days, are you, David Brooks.