Sunday, October 12, 2008

Brooks has "Whiterpeople disease": David Brooks, in his piece on Palin and the decline of Republicans, shows that he is a card-carrying member of the American Whiterpeople Association. His basic argument is that Republicans are becoming too populist and thus are losing the educated class.

Any successful party needs to attract the masses in order to win a majority of votes and a substantial number of wealthy and smart people to properly arm the party. A successful party has no choice but to have two faces.

Brooks is one of the first pundits I've read who is arguing that Republicanism does not appeal to elites. Wealthy people don't like the doctrine that lower taxes is good for society? And for those who feel they must justify their votes with something other than self- or class interest, since when is it a dumb argument that high taxes on small businesses in a recession will make things worse? Palin pushes this idea on a daily basis at rallies. Since when is it brilliant and not demogoguery to argue that fat cats need to be taxed more heavily, as Obama argues on a daily basis?

Brooks is not turned off these days by Republicans because they are now espousing dumb ideas, or because they are against being smart. He is a whiterperson who wants his vote to be associated with politicians who seem like they read Proust in their spare time. He shows that his status concerns are overwhelming his intelligence. Democrats are smarter. They have the two necessary faces: one that appeals to the Georgetown cocktail set, and one that appeals to ordinary people, especially poor, nonwhite ones.

You might counter that these two Democratic faces are more compatible with each other. After all, whiterpeople gain status by professing concern for the underprivileged. But the two faces that fit together for Republicans are based on no-nonsense smarts. Appealing to the middle class is not at all incomptable with appealing to talented people who have no patience for intellectually fashionable BS.

Democrats are smart to demonize cigar-smoking fat cats, and Republicans are smart to demonize cultural snobs.

5 comments:

Jewish Atheist said...

Wealthy people don't like the doctrine that lower taxes is good for society? And for those who feel they must justify their votes with something other than self- or class interest, since when is it a dumb argument that high taxes on small businesses in a recession will make things worse?

Maybe he's realized that Obama will raise taxes only on the top 1%? And that the overwhelming majority of small businesses will not see tax hikes under Obama?

Everybody but the religious nuts and the racist/xenophobes are fleeing the Republican party, for good reason. Those are the only people outside of the top few thousand richest people in the country who the Republicans represent anymore.

Anonymous said...

I'd argue that intellectual elites are important for any political party, though. They hold all the cultural power.

To paraphrase Stevenson: "All smart people are for you" isn't enough.

TGGP said...

Daniel Larison has been good on this. I discuss that a bit here.

Anonymous said...

David Brooks is a neo-con, which really isn't a conservative at all.

Basically he is an establishment liberal who is hawkish on Israel and wants to replace the working class whites he hates with hispanics that he doesn't know yet. In 15 years he will crawl right back over to the left, his home.

Michael T said...

David Brooks a whiterperson? Nah. Whiterpeople believe their baloney. Brooks knows sociobiology is real and it scares the pants off him.