White Coat Underground

Brooks is wrong on Beck—very wrong

Times columnist David Brooks would like to distance the conservative movement from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and all the other “not true Republicans” out there. His simplistic tactic is to claim that Beck and Limbaugh haven’t won the GOP any elections. If elected positions were the only important facts in a democracy, he might have a point. But Beck, Limbaugh, and their allies don’t care about elections. They represent a fundamentally anti-democratic philosophy of “if you can’t get there democratically, do it the other way.”

What are these “other ways”?

What Brooks probably understands but wants to deny is that the far right loudmouths aren’t trying to win elections—they are trying to subvert them. And in this, they are succeeding.


  1. #1 Denice Walter
    October 3, 2009

    Currently cashing in on the loudmouth/know nothing trend: Palin’s new book is titled “Going Rogue”,as in “rogue elephant”, an out-of-control pachyderm,trampling all in its path, creating chaos.As if that’s a *good* thing.

  2. #2 Uncle Glenny
    October 3, 2009

    PalMD going political? I like.

    Brooks is an establishment concern troll. Reading him is bad for my blood pressure. One inane example was a column on how hockey (I think it was) for students was such a strain on them (getting up early, travel, equipment), even as he subtly flaunted his ability (as parent, and economically) to do so.

    I’d also like to know who was feeling him up.

  3. #3 Uncle Glenny
    October 3, 2009

    Oops, I’d meant to include a link on how he is a concern troll.

  4. #4 Dianne
    October 3, 2009

    Women have apparently screwed up democracy for the rest of us (that is, the rest of us with phalluses), and if we could just fix the whole suffrage problem we wouldn’t have these pesky Democratic wins.

    Moderately pedantic point: the majority of the US population is female so if the US were to repeal the 19th amendment it wouldn’t be a representative democracy but rather an aristocracy.

  5. #5 PalMD
    October 3, 2009


  6. #6 Dianne
    October 3, 2009

    I agree that Brooks is wrong and further imply that those who say women’s suffrage messed up democracy don’t know what a democracy is. (Though I must admit that I think I meant oligarchy, not aristocracy.)

  7. #7 Oran Kelley
    October 3, 2009

    Geez. And this sort of hyperventilating is helping? Did you see the piece the other day on the similarities between here and now and Israel right before Rabin got shot?

    I think we need a little less stoking of the paranoia and hostility and a bit more realistic assessment of who and what these guys really are. They’re a fringe, a fringe that is legitimized by mouth-frothing on the other side.

    Since the mouth-frothing does nothing else constructive, how about we cut it out so at least we make an obvious contrast with the Becks of the world and don’t contribute ourselves to the rising tide of inarticulate raving.

    Anyone can talk about most anything they want: that’s democracy. Get used to it.

    I can talk about the social benefits of ritual human sacrifice if I want, and if you start bellowing about it, I smile.

  8. #8 ed
    October 3, 2009

    Elitist Fuckhead David Brooks (what? he is) has a job and it is to soft pedal Republican talking points. The party is shit scared that the mask might slip any further if more Youtubes of teabaggers and Sarah Palin rallies and their ilk get out there and even the Media Village will have to call out some scary realities instead of shrugging “well, both sides…” and “some say…” bulljive. Lindsey Graham said similar words to Brooks the other day. They want to score affirmation from the rest of the Village for speaking truth to power or whatever the cliche of the day is. We know better. The party of the Southern Strategy is the party of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, et al. Anyone who pretends otherwise is paid to say so.

    In a related story,if you haven’t yet, check out this stinkbomb from and American Enterprise Institute thinker Steven F. Hayward:
    He argues that Beck is smarter than the Hannitys and Limbaughs and Coulters and Savages and that this somehow dismisses Beck’s calling Obama a racist and championing the Teabagger Orc Cotillion (to borrow from the great Charles Pierce) and his lunatic paranoid rantings and Swaggarty weeping. Hayward employs the “Apes don’t read philosophy” defense. I shit you not. The entire article is an embarrassment, but that’s what he’s paid to do to.

  9. #9 JThompson
    October 3, 2009

    @Denice Walter:It helps if you read “Rogue” as the Dungeons and Dragons definition. A backstabbing sneak thief with no honor whatsoever. Makes perfect sense.

    @Oran Kelley: Actually, they’re not a fringe. They’re the voice of mainstream Republicans now. The only way you could realistically claim they’re fringe is because the only sane people are jumping off the Republican ship as if it were on fire. It’s already gotten to the point that it’s really rare to run into a sane person that identifies as a Republican because they’ve been pretty well run out of their own party. Not that I have any sympathy for them either, since they invited it with the Southern Strategy and fear/warmongering and race baiting.

    I’m so sick of the “Fascist Nazi Communist Muslim!!!111” crap. He can’t be all four. Most of them automatically exclude the others. Pick one and stick with it already.

  10. #10 mxh
    October 4, 2009

    I’m so sick of the “Fascist Nazi Communist Muslim!!!111” crap. He can’t be all four. Most of them automatically exclude the others. Pick one and stick with it already.

    But to idiot america, they all mean the same thing… “not like me”

  11. #11 DLC
    October 4, 2009

    Except that none of the repubicans I know believe any of the horse feathers Beck, Limbaugh and the others are spewing.
    Of course, I can’t point to a nationwide representative sample, but locally and among those I know, Beck & Co scoffed at and derided.
    So, who are these political vipers playing to ?
    That portion of the population who are most susceptible to such lies and distortions . . .

  12. #12 DLC
    October 4, 2009

    Oops. Edit time.
    I should have said : ” . . . Beck & Co are scoffed at and derided. ”

  13. #13 John Carpenter
    October 4, 2009

    If celebrities like Beck, Hannity, and Limbaugh are really lightweights why has the President mentioned one by name and congressional leaders cautioned Americans from listening to the others?

  14. #14 Shawn Connelly
    October 4, 2009


    I can answer the question who celebrities like Limbaugh and Beck are playing to.

    In part, to people like you. The more they irritate you the less likely you wil be able to consider matters dispassionately. The more emotionally-driven your thoughts, the greater the likely you can make decisions in your own-enlightened self-interest.

    So, to cut to the chase, they “play”–to a greater degree than you would imagine–the game of “let’s screw with the left” because in the end, the way you win any war is to
    irritate the hell out of the enemy.

  15. #15 DLC
    October 5, 2009

    Shawn Connelly @14:
    I can’t agree. First, the level of irritation I receive from
    such blustering fools lasts about 2 minutes after they’re done noise-making and then they’re off the radar. Hell, i don’t even watch or listen to them. Mainly I only find out what nonsense they’re spewing when someone like Rachel Maddow goes on the air to call them on it.

  16. #16 Katharine
    October 5, 2009

    I vote that everyone call Sarah the Manic Pachyderm.

  17. #17 Ms.Teek
    October 5, 2009

    John Carpenter ask:
    If celebrities like Beck, Hannity, and Limbaugh are really lightweights why has the President mentioned one by name and congressional leaders cautioned Americans from listening to the others?

    Because Mr. Carpenter, they too have fallen for the “Wizard of Oz” illusion that these talk show host present…

  18. #18 k
    October 5, 2009

    Oran Kelly:
    “They’re a fringe, a fringe that is legitimized by mouth-frothing on the other side.”

    Ah, so conservatives listen to Limbaugh *because* liberals are vocal about why he’s wrong. Because conservatives first look at what liberals are saying, so they can believe the opposite. In effect, liberals lead conservatives.

    Either that or you just haven’t thought it through. At all.

  19. #19 Kapitano
    October 5, 2009

    Shawn Connelly @#14:
    “the game of “let’s screw with the left”

    You think Limbaugh is talking to liberals?!

    Stop Press: Conservative pundits talk to conservative listeners. A few liberals listen in, and a few of them refute the talk.

  20. #20 ed
    October 5, 2009

    Media Matters notes:

    And three makes a trend
    October 05, 2009 12:32 pm ET by Eric Boehlert
    Can you say talking points? Somewhere inside the GOP, the message went out over the weekend that right-wing media and the “loons” on the AM dial don’t speak for the party, or “real Americans.”


    Who could have predicted…?

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