Paul Krugman’s articles, one begins to suspect after a while, are intended to provide employment for Bob Murphy. Is David Brooks, the Times’s house conservative, my own personal make-work project?
Here’s a good rule of thumb. The phrase “New York Times house conservative” should never fill anyone with confidence.
The worst part of Brooks’ column “The Second GOP,” though, come when he (favorably) cites others:
As Bill Kristol pointed out at the National Review event, the G.O.P. fiercely opposed the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law but never offered an alternative. The party opposed Obamacare but never offered a replacement. John Podhoretz of Commentary added that as soon as Republicans start talking about what kind of regulations and programs government should promote, they get accused by colleagues of being Big Government conservatives.
Poor babies. Here they are just trying to be reasonable and pragmatic, and the stupid peons keep attacking them!
Moreover, given all the antigovernment rhetoric, [Americans] will never trust these Republicans to reform cherished programs like Social Security and Medicare. You can’t be for entitlement reform and today’s G.O.P., because politically the two will never go together.
Brooks lives on a planet where the GOP wants to abolish entitlement programs or at least refuses to reform them. He also thinks programs whose combined unfunded liabilities are $222 trillion can be reformed. They can’t, and no one in either party has any intention of trying.
The rest of the article is a plea for a less ideologically rigid GOP. Less ideologically rigid than the party of Mitt Romney? Who would be the nominee? Perry Como?
The existing Republican Party considers it cheeky to propose spending cuts one would need a microscope to perceive, and whose two-term president endorsed a whole sheaf of government programs after the Panic of 2008. This supposedly antigovernment party hasn’t lost a whole lot of sleep over the war on drugs, the growing surveillance state, or the wars of the past dozen years.
It’s all this ideological rigidity, according to David Brooks, that the GOP needs to shed.