New York Times columnist David Brooks argued on PBS’ “NewsHour” Friday night that “Sen. Ted Cruz and similar legislators” are obstructionists who care more about undermining the Republican establishment than advancing legislation.
Note that I didn’t use “conservative” to modify “columnist” or “David Brooks,” though the Times and other mainstream media outlets routinely bill Brooks as conservative. Featuring a left-leaning moderate and depicting him as a conservative is a clever technique the liberal media employ to discredit conservative ideas.
Not to mention any names, but we see this technique in practice daily on NBC’s deranged stepchild, MSNBC, where a former Republican congressman habitually impugns conservatives in the name of conservatism.
But let’s not dwell too much on whether these liberal-enough-to-be-hired-by-bigshot-liberal-media-outlets-as-conservative-commentators are bona fide conservatives.
Instead, let’s take a look at what Brooks is asserting. Does it have validity? It’s important to quote a substantial segment to get the thrust of Brooks’ remarks and his accompanying attitude.
Brooks said: “What’s going on in the House and a bit in the Senate, too, is what you might call the rise of Ted Cruz-ism. And Ted Cruz, the senator from Canada through Texas, is basically not a legislator in the normal sense, does not have an idea that he’s going to Congress to create coalitions, make alliances, and he’s going to pass a lot of legislation. He’s going in more as a media-protest person. And a lot of the House Republicans are in the same mode. They’re not normal members of Congress. They’re not legislators. They want to stop things. And so they’re just being – they just want to obstruct.”
Perhaps you can detect the dripping contempt Brooks has for Cruz? But what’s worse is Brooks’ complete misunderstanding of what motivates Cruz and like-minded conservatives.
Yes, I assume Brooks is correct that Cruz’s lifelong goal is not to be a pro forma, obedient little junior legislator who aspires to acquire prestigious committee assignments, to become besties with powerful legislators and to see his name affixed to monumental pieces of legislation irrespective of whether they are beneficial or destructive for America. A conservative would find this refreshing rather than indicting.
But going in as a media-protest person? What does that mean? Sure, Cruz disagrees with the mainstream media worldview, but to say that he sought political office mainly to protest the media – as if he is just on some kind of power trip – is just bizarre.
Brooks accuses Cruz and his ilk of wanting to obstruct, which is code for “blocking the hallowed progressive agenda for America that will ultimately lead to Utopia,” as if that’s a bad thing.
Why is it obstruction for conservatives to block horrendous legislation, such as Obamacare, which is apparently one piece of legislation Brooks is indirectly defending here, but progress for Obama to destroy our health-care system and our economy with his legislation?
Let’s concede that Cruz and right-thinking conservatives (no redundancy) are trying to obstruct Obama’s agenda. But that’s because Obama’s agenda is – to coin a term – “obstructing” America.
Brooks should be applauding, not belittling, Cruz for eschewing senatorial perks in favor of doing the right thing for America. But Brooks can’t do that, because his Northeastern-corridor/Beltway mindset informs him that legislators ought to be about process and knowing their place in the pecking order rather than honoring their oaths of office to do what is best for this nation.
Brooks confirmed that when he said: “Ted Cruz is running against Republicans in the Senate. The House Republican tea-party types are running against the Republican establishment. That’s how they’re raising money. … And so they’re having a very obstructive role … and I think it’s going to make John Boehner’s life even more difficult.”
Yes, tea party-politicians oppose the Republican establishment when it refuses to stand up against Obama’s statism and promote conservative principles. But they don’t do so, Mr. Brooks, for the cynical reason you suggest – to raise money. They are not hell-raisers for the sake of hell-raising. They are just trying their best to stop this Obama juggernaut from finally and permanently taking America over the cliff into full-on socialism and bankruptcy. To the extent establishment Republicans are assisting Obama, if only by failing to competently oppose him, of course Cruz and other conservative legislators are opposing the Republican establishment and “making John Boehner’s life even more difficult.”
Need I remind you, Mr. Brooks, that the legislative chamber doesn’t exist for the benefit, prestige, power and ease of those who serve in it. It exists for the benefit of Americans, and when its members “obstruct” that purpose, then other members must “obstruct” them and seek to turn things around.
Brooks is apparently incapable of perceiving that Cruz and other conservatives are acting in America’s best interests, because in the end, Brooks fundamentally disagrees with conservatives about what policies are in America’s best interests, i.e., those that promote liberty, prosperity and peace through strength.
I said I wouldn’t dwell too much on whether Brooks is a bona fide conservative. I guess I lied. We should consider his condemnation of Sen. Cruz and other conservatives to be a powerful affirmation of the wisdom and virtue of their goals and achievements.