Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Brooks and Political Analysis

Brooks and Political Analysis
P. Schultz
May 15, 2012

            Today in the New York Times, David Brooks argues in his column that (a) Obama should be taking it on the chin in this campaign but (b) he is not, so (c) Brooks can’t figure out why, and (d) he posits that the voters are being “charmed” – somewhat – by Obama’s personality.

            So, there you have it: In the midst of one of the most intense moments in American political history, if Obama wins the election, we can “blame” it on the people who, apparently, aren’t aware or angry enough to vote on the basis of something other than personalities or other trivial factors. This seems to me to be Brooks’ analysis. And we are supposed to take it seriously.

            Well, here is an alternative take: The Republicans, whom Brooks does not mention once in his column, don’t want to win this election. That is, those who are the established leaders of the Republican Party would rather “lose” this election, have Obama elected, than to have one of their own elected because such a victory would threaten their control of the Republican Party. Obama represents no threat at all to these Republicans, whereas the insurgents in the Grand Old Party do. Ergo: Lose the election, thereby helping to suppress the insurgents and the insurgency, and come back four years later [2016] with a candidate more acceptable to these established Republicans. This is what happened in 1996 when the Republicans ran Bob Dole who was almost sure to lose to Clinton. Then they could pretend they wanted to impeach and remove Clinton from office – sure they did – thereby setting up what looked like a slam dunk in 2000 with Shrub against Al Gore. They almost blew that one; in fact they did, only to be saved by the Supremes.

            But hey: Why not stick to the old saw that berates the people as unintelligent voters? After all, this myth helps to cover up the machinations going on within the Republican Party – and which are an all too common feature of our political order.  

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