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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Brooks: Jindal out of Touch

Another Jindal howler: attempting to portray "volcano monitoring" as pork (note Jindal's use of the word larded). I don't need to live next to a volcano to recognize spending $140M on monitoring volcanoes is a really good idea. You'd think a guy who lives in a state built on flood plains in Hurricane Alley would grasp the importance of watching for natural disasters.

Governor Jindal is an icon of a party out of touch. But don't take my word for it; see what conservative commentator David Brooks says about Jindal's "Happy Mardi Gras" chat:

"You know, I think Bobby Jindal is a very promising politician," said New York Times columnist David Brooks, appearing on PBS, "and I oppose the stimulus because I thought it was poorly drafted. But to come up at this moment in history with a stale "government is the problem," "we can't trust the federal government" -- it's just a disaster for the Republican Party. The country is in a panic right now. They may not like the way the Democrats have passed the stimulus bill, but that idea ... that government is going to have no role, the federal government has no role in this ... it's just a form of nihilism. It's just not where the country is, it's not where the future of the country is. There's an intra-Republican debate" [Sam Stein, "Bobby Jindal Response Panned By Pundits, Republicans And Democrats Alike", Huffinton Post, 2009.02.25].

Well, Governor Jindal had his shot. Speeches are done—now back to work!


  1. The country is in a panic right now. They may not like the way the Democrats have passed the stimulus bill ...

    ... and that is supposed to be good news for the Democrats?

  2. Hrm...

    We would probably agree that folks like Sarah Palin and Ronald Reagan are, for most right-wing cultural and fiscal conservative, important figure heads. Those folks represent an ideal for conservatives.

    So, when a "conservative" like Brooks argues against Reagan and Palin ideals (as in Palin is "a fatal cancer to the Republican party"), it is problematic to suggest that Brooks represents conservative thought as a whole.

    I think that the article you quoted actually suggests that rifts within the Republican Party. Media pundits like Brooks who call themselves conservatives are at odds with conservatives in the mid-west and rural red states.

    As support, I'd suggest that most conservatives in red states don't take their cues from pundits who write for the "New York Times" and "The Huffington Post." Rather, they're listening to talk radio and reading alternative narratives about the news.

  3. Minor point: as far as I know, Brooks doesn't write for the Huffington Post; I've only seen him quoted there.

    Major point: Brooks does represent a split in conservatism between the economic pragmatists (the Friedman camp?) and the Palin/Dobson(/Fastidious?) culture warriors. Brooks would say he's a conservative, but that there are some things more important than meddling in marriage and shooting moose. F, your party might want to resolve (or at least trucify) that schism by 2012... although I don't mind if you and Palin and Jindal and Pawlenty and Schwarzenegger take longer than that. Much longer. Knock yourselves out.

  4. Hrm... I guess I wouldn't classify myself as a culture warrior. And not a Republican lately, as McCain's nomination drove me right out. Nor do I find Dobson inspiring.

    Sorry about the confusion, though. I did not meant to suggest that Brooks writes for the HufPo. I meant to suggest that if one wants to know conservatives than editorials from institutions like the NYT or the HufPo aren't the places to look. Or Brooks, for that matter.

    But what do I know about conservatism? After all I just read D'Souza, Buckley, Weaver, Burke, Thatcher, etc. Listen to talk radio. Own several guns. Go to church. And generally just want the federal and state government to stay out of the private sector and let Americans just be.

    I wasn't trying to suggest that you were wrong or trying to undermine you. Just thought you might want to know how a fellow South Dakotan who leans to the right reacts to a someone like Brooks. That's all.

  5. Reaction well taken. Along the same lines, Brooks is Canadian. How conservative can he really be?

    Curious: must one own a gun and attend to church to qualify as an authority on conservatism?

  6. As an academic, I'm sure you're aware that creating an "essential" anything is problematic (black, white, conservative, liberal, etc). So, no, in order to be an "authority" on conservatism one does not have to own a gun or attend church on a regular basis. One does not have to be an American, for that matter. Political principles are transcendent.

    Again, though, I maintain that if you really want to understand conservatives, reading Brooks is not the way to go. The majority of us don't take our cues from folks like Brooks/NYT editors.

    I understand, though, the desire to only understand conservatism through the prism of rednecks with guns. For the most part, liberals haven't read folks like Sowell, Weaver, Buckley, et al.

  7. Perfectly reasonable. A lot of the "conservatives" who drop by here would profit greatly by reading more of the authors you cite... or by reading, period. Without claiming that Brooks is representative of conservatism, I will note that part of Brooks's appropriate disgust with the Palin wing of the party is the rampant anti-intellectualism that they espouse. Must get uncomfortable for you sometimes, f.


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