Posts Tagged ‘David Brooks’

In a perfect world the Sunday morning talk shows would provide some measure of clarity in an otherwise confusing and conflicted world. Clearly, it isn’t a perfect world, and just how imperfect it is was on display this morning on Meet the Press. The subject was the fiscal cliff and deficit reduction.

For example, Tom Brokaw said it is ridiculous that he should get the same Medicare benefit as his less-wealthy brother. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Maybe there should be a means test where only those who need Medicare should get it. That way Medicare would be turned into a welfare program that the Right could whittle away at by adjusting the means threshold. Good idea, Tom. How about controlling run-away medical costs, instead? That might work.

Mr. Brokaw also suggested that the maybe Social Security retirement age could be increased to 67 now, and maybe even 70 in a few years. Uh-oh, this is a back breaker…literally.  Some workers, particularly those at the lowest end of the wage scale such as laborers and farm workers, spend their lives doing work that takes a terrible toll on their bodies. Are we going to ask them to work even longer before they can retire? Riding a desk is one thing, as the people in Washington do. Day-after-day physical wear and tear is something else, again. Or, how about this? There are fewer and fewer jobs to go around, now. The effect of asking people to work additional years before retirement would actually increase the labor pool, which would increase unemployment, while driving wages down even more.  Sorry to be picking on you, Mr. Brokaw, but your ideas suck.

David Brooks offered that the Republicans were going to take most of the blame if we go over the cliff, but he was critical of the president for not getting more involved in the negotiations. So, let’s see. Brooks wants the president, who ran on a clearly defined platform of how he wanted to cut the deficit, to bring the Republican caucus around to agreeing to a more conciliatory plan than he actually campaigned on, which the Republican Majority Leader John Boehner was unable to sell to his own party. Really, Mr. Brooks? You want the president to bloody himself on a fool’s errand? As a Republican flack I can understand why that would work for you, but it doesn’t work for the president or the Democats. And let’s not forget that a sizable percentage of Mr. Boehner’s caucus believes that the president stole the election in the first place (Birtherism 2.0), which would tend to harden the positions of the right-wing nut jobs who control the Republican Party.

Finally, there’s the constant banter about how important it is to get control over entitlements. This makes my blood boil. The people need Social Security, Medicare/Obamacare and Medicaid and Obama’s win makes it clear that the people don’t what Washington messing around with these programs. Moreover, the people did not create the economic mess we are in; the banks and Wall Street created it and, in the process of doing so, the inequality gap got larger, unemployment and poverty increased, more families need food stamps, wages declined and the rich got richer. And now the people’s social safety net needs to be reined in to reduce the deficit? Really? What about corporate entitlements? Defense Department entitlements. Tax dodges for the wealthy? Endless colonial wars?

WTF! It least it’s Sunday and there’s football to watch.

Is it possible that Mitt Romney can he put his foot in his mouth as often as he does by accident? I‘m not saying he’s trying to do it, but it’s gotten so bad that you can’t that you can’t precede the word gaff with the word latest because it probably isn’t the latest as soon as you write it.

Here’s a recent…though not the latest :)…example: In Virginia the other day Romney spoke about his compassion  for people citing his Massachusetts’ health care law as evidence. Shockingly, he went on to say that this wasn’t something he could talk about during the primaries because it wouldn’t have been “effective.” What does that mean?…that he had to duck what he actually did?

There are possible explanations for this. One is that he’s losing his grip on reality and his wife, of all people, might have elevated the probability of this explanation.  Anne Romney, as originally reported by Reuters, said “her biggest concern if her husband becomes president was his ‘mental well-being.’” Maybe she’s concerned about his current mental well-being, too.

Another explanation is one that David Brooks, the conservative op-ed writer for the NYT suggested in a recent column. He said that Mitt’s problem is that he has no overarching political ideology to serve as his political…and verbal…compass. That observation is dead on as far as it goes, but it fails to illuminate an ideology that does fuel Mitt’s quest for the White House: he believes that his wealth and privilege entitles him to the job of president the same way it entitled Bain Capital to “harvest” companies without regard to the human costs, or tell the American people that he won’t disclose any more tax returns because the people have seen enough, or tell a room full of his rich investors that 47% of the American people suck.

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But now it’s coming apart and it’s putting great stress on him and his campaign. The polls show that more and more Americans see Mitt for what he is: a political opportunist who will say anything he needs to say to close the deal. He reminds me of some liquored-up dude telling a woman at 2 AM that he’ll love her in the morning, but  isn’t around for the wake-up call.

Good luck, Mitt!