David Brooks made a lot of conservatives very mad Tuesday with his op-ed in The New York Times accusing the Republican Party of being "infected by a faction that is more of a psychological protest than a practical, governing alternative"--a movement that is anti-intellectual, has "no sense of moral decency" and doesn't "accept the logic of compromise." Brooks's charge was based on the fact that the GOP might refuse to allow some tax increases in exchange for a trillion dollars in spending cuts in negotiations to raise the debt limit. "If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch in order to cut government by a foot, they will say no," Brooks writes. "If you ask them to raise taxes by an inch to cut government by a yard, they will still say no." The problem is that "members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities." To which conservative bloggers seem to be replying: There's nothing wrong with being anti-intellectual if the intellectuals are dummies!
At the American Spectator's Joseph Lawler responds to Brook's complaint that some in the GOP don't take experts seriously by noting "the legitimacy of 'scholars and intellectual authorities' comes from the value of their work, same as in all other professions." Are you listening, Mr. Brooks?
At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey goes a bit further. Responding to Brooks's complaint that Republicans are flirting with default, even though "a nation makes a sacred pledge to pay the money back when it borrows money," Morrissey counters, "If we are net borrowing every year, adding to debt, then we will never be in position to fulfill a 'sacred pledge to pay the money back.' That's a rather large flaw in fiscal policy and in Brooks' logic, which may be one reason why some of these Republicans don't pay much attention to 'intellectual authorities' like, er, David Brooks."
Morrissey isn't the only conservative blogger explicitly to attack Brooks' intellectual bona fides. At Townhall, Guy Benson echoes that theme, suggesting Brooks should take some time off:
As someone who (a) admires the intellect of faintly conservative-ish New York Times columnist David Brooks, and (b) is currently on vacation, I'd humbly submit that some R & R may also be in order for Mr. Brooks. His new column on debt negotiations is lazy, is premised on a series of false assumptions, and--worst of all--relies on a string of strawmen that would make Brooks' one-time political crush, Barack Obama, beam with pride. ...
Meanwhile, I renew my call for Mr. Brooks to join me in taking a rejuvenating summer vacation. Based on his latest offering, it's fairly evident he's already taken an intellectual one.
Ann Althouse can't even get past Brook's headline, "The Mother of All No-Brainers." She writes:
I wonder how many other clichés from the 90s could be stuck together ridiculously. ... I've never liked the expression "no-brainer," because I tend to picture things concretely, and the image upsets me. Anyway, it's particularly inapt with "mother of." You're combining extreme largeness with absolute nothingness. How big is zero? It's big! It's infinitely huge!
As for the column itself, Althouse offers a different expression: "tl;dr"--"too long; didn't read." As Althouse quotes: "This verbal response indicates you stopped listening as the other person was blathering on for too long and you lost interest." Don Surber is similarly unimpressed: "Republicans have brains. ... This is bull and I have to believe that David Brooks is too honest a man to shovel such nonsense knowingly. But what he lacks in intelligence, he makes up in scorn... The mother of all no-brainers appeals only to people with no brains."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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