New York Times' conservative columnist David Brooks knows how to obscure underlying truth with shallow truths. That is, Brooks’ sins are sins of omission.
In this case (a column on the Tea Party movement) he has omitted the financial interests that profit from promoting the anti-intellectual redneck populism of the Tea Party movement--and which have propelled and shaped it.
That would be
Back in the 1950s
Today none of that is true. Our income distribution resembles that of
That didn't happen by chance. Key elements included a 40 year campaign that used anti-Communism and Ronald Reagan's faux populism to make ordinary Americans fear and distrust government. The hyper-rich don't need government services, after all, and they certainly don't want government regulation that might limit their limitless greed and sense of entitlement.
It was a master stroke to co-opt populism to make the little guy vote against what they imagined to be the Big Guy (big government), when that was the only force strong enough to protect them against the real Big Guys.
Lyndon Johnson helped by committing the Democratic Party to helping Blacks achieve legal equality. That guaranteed a White Southern anti-Federal government block vote that persists to this day, and shows up in the character of the nonstop attacks on Obama's citzenship, inteligence, family, etc.
The most telling was a poster imitating the famous "Yes we can" poster, only showing Obama uplifted chin, looking down on us, captioned "Snob: It's an elitist thing. You wouldn't understand." This combines Southern Whites' bete noir, the uppity Black, with general-purpose anti-intellectualism.
Because above all else the hyper-rich need Obama and the Democratic Congress to accomplish nothing. It's not that they love Republicans. They have nothing but contempt for the average Tea Partier, and treat Republican Congressmen as their house servants. Our ruling class isn't fundamentalist or ignorant. Just self-absorbed and brimming with a sense of entitlement that would make Paris Hilton envious.
These people like to stay out of the light, but I've seen interviews of some of the ones who are CEOs. They look upon the rest of us like you'd look at bugs.
Of course there are fellow travelers who don’t share the hyper-rich class’s narrow focus on its money and privileges and freedom from government interference.
The Christianists made a Devil’s Bargain with these people in the Reagan era, and it has served them well, even as it has corrupted them more and more.
And every right wing talk show host and think tank pundit is an entrepreneur out for himself ultimately, but more often than not it also serves their interests to play footsie with those who can bankroll them and hand them a megaphone. And make things very hard for them if they don’t play ball.
The hyper rich have spent a fortune in marketing aimed at making Americans reject government (this doesn’t excuse government’s failings, but this campaign goes on regardless of whether government serves the people or not).
Then, building on this foundation campaign, we get more specialized multimillion dollar campaigns designed to thwart reform of particular sources of the hyper-rich class’s riches.
Hence the anti-healthcare reform campaign that’s in full song now, swamping the cable news channels with advertising (against a dribble of pro-reform ads), along with much greasing of palms behind the scenes, along with whisper campaigns and chain email campaigns that say things that would be challenged in court if they were said in ads.
And rank and file Republicans and Independents fall for all of this because they’ve had no training in spotting manipulative political campaigns. They sure don’t get it in school. The Far Right wants nothing but the 3Rs taught in school, after all. And it has been remarkably successful in reducing the education system to vacuous pablum (aided by liberal demagogues who do the same pablum-ification in their areas of concern, in the name of Political Correctness).
So when David Brooks talks about public opinion swinging against healthcare reform and the burgeoning Tea Party movement, it’s telling that he leaves out all of this. Public opinion isn’t formed in a vacuum. It’s shaped by experts working for people with big fortunes and no scruples. None.
How could Brooks ignore all of this? Unless he’s the genteel, smiley face of this operation…the Good Cop.
[This comment--#169--was a New York Times editor's choice and got 120 reader recommendations]