Friday, November 14, 2008

Ace on Brooksism

Why he's Blogger of the Year:
But why be coy about it, David? Why not just advocate for the positions you favor, rather than vaguely alluding to the idea that change is needed? What change?
You want the party to be more liberal. We get that. How about writing columns about the actual issues and actual positions you favor rather than forever nattering on about the hazy idea of "change" you can never quite rouse the courage -- or effort -- to detail?
There's a dishonest aspect to this, too. Brooks -- and Sager, and etc. -- often avoid advocating substantively, on policy grounds, for their positions, instead preferring to argue in the neutral-sounding way that "We must do this to win." And yet the polling data often does not even seem to support that position (nor do they offer much except naked assertion that adopting liberal policies will lead to electoral success). . . .
They're really not arguing for a change in Republican strategy or policy. They're arguing for a change in the Republican voting population itself -- they want Republicans to change their opinions in favor of the minority, liberal-leaning Northeastern establishment opinion. Fine -- that is their right. So start honestly and openly attempting to change Republican minds, rather than pushing nonsense like "pro-gay marriage policy is a net electoral winner."
Ace has put his finger on the essential rhetorical trick of Brooksism:
Republicans are losing because they're too conservative. Therefore, conservatives must support liberal policies, because otherwise Republicans will lose.
If the only proper political ambition for conservatives is to elect more Republicans, no matter what policies Republicans propose or implement, what's the point of voting Republican? America already has one liberal party, why does it need two?

As Ace notes, Brooks insinuates and implies all this, seizing upon every turn of events to suggest that conservative domestic policy is a net political disadvantage, rather than coming flat-out and arguing (on policy merits) for gay marriage, abortion, etc. And you gotta love Ace's walkoff:
I realize he's a hack on a deadline and has to produce two columns a week. I realize that writing about nothing is a necessary skill for anyone expected to write consistently. . . .
But an excessively large fraction of Brooks' columns seem to belong to the category of "I Got Nothin' But a Deadline So Here Comes Some Bullshit."
Maybe National Review could ask Ace to moderate next week's panel instead of Brooks.


  1. HERE! HERE! or
    HEAR! HEAR! Ace Brooks, Noonan, Whitman ethos: everyone move left, who needs boxes?

  2. I was rather hoping that Brooks would have been invited on board for the NR post-election cruise, the idea being that he'd be triced to the grate and paying customers could take a whack at him with the cat, but, alas, the Democrats have a monopoly on hope this year.