By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Why David Brooks drives me crazy

It’s rarely his main argument. No, it’s some throwaway line that he appears to have given zero thought to so that he can get to his main point. It’s like Dylan tossing off the cringe-inducing “What’s the point of changing horses in midstream?” before chilling you to the bone with “I’m going out of my mind with a pain that stops and starts.” (Don’t get me wrong: Brooks is no Dylan.)

Today’s example is the lead of an otherwise halfway decent column (sub. req.) on how tired Brooks is of business as usual in Washington. Brooks’s first sentence: “After a while, you get sick of the DeLays of the right and the Deans of the left.”

Try to wrap your mind around the logic behind that particular sentence. If you visit Media Nation often, then you know that I am not a fan of Dean. But still. To compare a moderately successful former governor with not a whiff of misconduct on his C.V. to DeLay, the luxuriantly corrupt House Republican leader, is idiotic and offensive.

Perhaps Brooks gave it no thought whatsoever. The more sinister interpretation is that Brooks did think about it – and that he looks at it as his little contribution to the media-driven flattening-out of political discourse, in which one man’s politically inspired threats, ties to lobbyists who happen to be under investigation, and his own possible criminal wrongdoing are equated with another man’s … unpleasantness.


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  1. Anonymous

    Yeah, the nerve of this guy! Everyone knows DNC bigwigs never get involved with companies like Worldcom. Er, never mind…..

  2. Anonymous

    I think Brooks is comparing the two in terms of obnoxiousness, not corruption, Dan.

  3. Anonymous

    Dan is right on,As a closeted liberal, Brooks would like to avoid seeming to pile on Delay or any other ‘colourful’ personality on the right ALONE. rather, he’d like to include a person on the left, for the sake of perceived non-bias and even-handedness.I am just offended as Dan in the implied equivalence you come away with reading the sentence between a reviled slithery conman and a direct ‘angry’ and takeno-prisoner politician like Dean who is spontaneous and wants people to take him as he is, screams and all.I would have felt the same had he included McCauliffe or Dachle or someone else not nearly as dark as Delay is.For the two previous comments, please get a spine and good dose of honesty and decency: Comparing any politician ont he right or left who is on the take in money contributions to a known shadowy man who is so zealous and dishonest that he knowingly skirts ethics and the Laws of the Land as he fully knows makes your comments utterly ignorant and misleading.People are too smart o be taken by your propagandist confusing approach to shield your own and bring blame onto others.

  4. Anonymous

    Sorry, my point is direct only to the first poster. My Apology.N.PS I dodn’t mean to minimiz “politicians being on the take.’ It is a wider a more serious problem for another day.

  5. Anonymous

    What annoys me about the coupling of Dean and De Lay is that Dean is in no way the embodiment of “the left” as De Lay is of “the right”.

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