RUSH: As you know, one of my big bugaboos — and it’s related to the whole Bobby Jindal reaction — is the fraying and fractious nature of what was once a vibrant conservative media. Many in the so-called conservative media have cashed out. They’ve checked out. They’re trying to be the smartest people in the room. These are the people saying, ‘Reaganism is dead. The era of Reagan is over,’ while they watch the Democrats co-opt it! One of these people is David Brooks of the New York Times.
David Brooks used to be so conservative that he was a cofounder, coeditor with Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard. Now he’s at the New York Times. He wrote a column yesterday in the New York Times entitled, ‘The Big Test.’ Here are excerpts. ‘Readers of this column know that I am a great…’ Oh, by the way, David Brooks last night on PBS referred to Bobby Jindal’s conservatism as ‘stale,’ ‘the stale conservatism of a bygone era.’ Translation: Reagan. While Obama is doing his best to sound like Reagan at strategic points in his own speech. ‘Readers of this column know that I am a great admirer of Barack Obama and those around him. And yet the gap between my epistemological modesty and their liberal worldviews has been evident over the past few weeks.’
Mr. Brooks, with all due respect here, admitting that all of a sudden now you’re seeing this gap between these people that you like and their liberal worldview..? You’re just now seeing it? See, this is the problem: just for the past few weeks you’ve been noticing it? David, some of us knew this years ago and tried to tell you when you were suggesting that we needed to nominate somebody who was going to have a lot of this liberalism in them (defined as ‘moderate’) in order to win constituencies rather than people. ‘The people in the administration,’ he writes, ‘are surrounded by a galaxy of unknowns, and yet they see this economic crisis as an opportunity to expand their reach, to take bigger risks and, as Obama said on Saturday, to tackle every major problem at once.’ Yes! This is what authoritarians do, David. Rahm Emanuel said it: A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.
What did you think they were going to do? What you think is right for America? How could you have ever been a conservative and not see who these people are? ‘President Obama has concentrated enormous power on a few aides in the West Wing of the White House.’ Yeah. This is what community organizers do, David! None of this is a surprise. We’ve been trying to warn the country about this. In fact, even today, Robert Byrd, in The Politico, a story by John Bresnahan. ‘Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the longest-serving Democratic senator, is criticizing President Obama’s appointment of White House ‘czars’ to oversee federal policy, saying these executive positions amount to a power grab by the executive branch.’ Bob Byrd is right. Robert Byrd is right about that infallibility summit.
Where’s the separation of powers fear on that? The president of the United States is bringing up a bunch of sycophant members of Congress in the Senate to work in a totally phony way in ‘breakout groups’ on solving problems — Where the hell is that? — and reporting back to him, all for his PR propaganda TV show? Byrd understands. He sent Obama a letter ‘complain[ing] about Obama’s decision to create White House offices on health reform, urban affairs policy, and energy and climate change. Byrd said such positions ‘can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances.” Duh! What is…? The Constitution, capitalism have been under assault by liberal Democrats right under our noses, right in front of our eyes for decades. The idea expressed by David Brooks and others that we need to somehow emulate this in our own smarter, more constructive way just to get votes?
It’s puzzling, because these people are smart. Friedrich Von Hayek, one of my most admired people, an economist, among the places he taught was the University of Chicago. He was a free market capitalist. His Road to Serfdom, great book. The Constitution of Liberty is a great book. George Will asked Friedrich Von Hayek in 1975, ‘Professor Von Hayek…?’ I’m paraphrasing. ‘Professor Von Hayek, how do you explain that so many intellectuals and particularly economists do not see right in front of them the success and bounties of capitalism, and want to do away with it?’ And Von Hayek says, ‘I have troubled over this for years, and the only thing I can conclude is that for intellectuals, the excitement is in controlling things — and you don’t control things in capitalism. You control things in socialism.’
Friedrich Von Hayek brilliantly laid it right out. It’s all about power. It’s all about control, and that’s what Obama’s about. And anybody paying half attention for the past two years and looking at Obama’s associations and his votes, would have to conclude that he is a man mostly at odds with his public pronouncements. Now for Mr. Brooks to say, well, I’m just figuring out here three weeks or so ago? My God! There’s a lot of liberals in there. Remember, I had lunch with President Bush a week before the immaculation in the dining room off the Oval Office. And, of course, most of these things are off the record, but one of the things he told me, he said, ‘I don’t know how he’s gonna govern this country. He’s going to have all these White House czars. He’s going to have all these people in the White House usurping the role of his cabinet guys.’
He said, ‘I don’t know how this is going to function. I don’t know how he’s going to get it done, all these czars,’ and that’s what President Bush called them: czars. That’s what Robert Byrd’s writing about. The way I interpret it is the cabinet nominees are there for show. The cabinet nominees are the people we see. The czars we’ll never see. The czars we won’t hear about it. The czars are going to do the work while the cabinet people are… It’s like Rahm Emanuel. Rahm Emanuel has taken over the Census from the Commerce Department. Now, this has happened before in another administration. Clinton took over the Commerce Department. He put Ron… Well, he actually gave to Commerce a State Department function so that one of his big contributors could give space secrets to the ChiComs.
That was Bernie Schwartz at Loral. This is what Democrats do, Mr. Brooks. This is what liberals do. Von Hayek was right. It’s about intellectuals wanting to control things. Only they have the answers. Everybody else is too dumb, unsophisticated. So now Mr. Brooks says, ‘President Obama has concentrated enormous power on a few aides in the West Wing of the White House. … If ever this kind of domestic revolution were possible, this is the time and these are the people to do it. The crisis demands a large response.’ You mean like someone tried to on Election Day, that revolution against all of this that you supported, Mr. Brooks? ‘These aides are unrolling a rapid string of plans: to create three million jobs, to redesign the health care system,’ Mr. Brooks, it’s ‘take over’ the health care system, ‘to save the auto industry…’
Right. They’re really demonstrating know-how to do that. How are we going to ‘save the auto industry’? Do you know how we’re going to save the auto industry? We’re going to put cap-and-trade! We’re going to put all kinds of CAFE standards on them, and Obama last night announced a federal lending program. To hell with the banks! The government is going to lend you money to go out and buy cars and pay off the credit card debt. It was in his speech last night. ‘[A]ll while cutting the deficit in half,’ by the way, and Mr. Brooks says, ‘If ever this kind of domestic revolution were possible, this is the time and these are the people to do it.’ (laughs) No. Well, in one sense, maybe. It’s not the time. It’s never the time for this kind of thing to happen. But these might be the people to accomplish decimating capitalism.
‘The crisis demands a large response,’ he says. ‘I worry that we’re operating far beyond our economic knowledge,’ Brooks writes. ‘Every time the administration releases an initiative, I read 20 different economists with 20 different opinions. I worry that we lack the political structures to regain fiscal control.’ Mr. Brooks, what we lack is anyone in government who knows anything about economics and business — and you helped elect them. That is what we know. Mr. Brooks ‘worries that we lack the political structures to regain fiscal control’? None in the Obama administration think that! They got us right where they want us. They want to be the fiscal control! They are the political structure. They don’t know what they’re doing. They resent, Mr. Brooks, achievement within the context of capitalism.
It was on display last night if you listened right, if you listened closely. The resentment for bankers, the resentment for Wall Street, the resentment for achievement, and it’s all over the place. It’s not just Obama. It’s John Kerry, who says, ‘I’ll be damned if bankers are going to sponsor golf tournaments and throw parties to increase their customer base. It’s not going to happen,’ and Barney Frank has said the same thing. And they’re passing legislation, Mr. Brooks! Now, I know it’s supposedly about TARP money, but the bank in question, Northern Trust, did not want the TARP money. They did not need it. They were profitable. This is their second year sponsoring the PGA event at Riviera, and they did the right thing. They hired a bunch of liberal performers. They had Chicago; they had Sheryl Crow. They were stimulating the economy in Los Angeles!
That didn’t meet with the approval of the central planners, Barney Frank and John Kerry, and certainly not Barack Obama. How in the world can you even say, Mr. Brooks or any of you, that these are great minds? These are great enemies. These are great enemies of freedom. These are great enemies of liberty. And they’re using populism and class envy to create a bunch of peasants with pitchforks hating people they don’t even know: bankers, people that have private jets, larger homes than they do. Mr. Brooks then says, ‘All in all, I can see why the markets are nervous and dropping.’ Really? Mr. Brooks, I’m not trying to sound haughty here and holier-than-thou, but none of this surprises a lot of us.
We instinctively and educationally know that what this administration is doing is antithetical to free markets. Right now the expression of ‘free market behavior’ is Wall Street, other investment places. We see that everybody is shorting the stimulus, Mr. Brooks. They’re shorting it. They’re selling out. They expect markets to plunge even further. NASDAQ is down 25.72 as we speak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 128. After the greatest speech we’ve ever heard? After the most uplifting speech we’ve ever heard? ‘All in all, I can see why the markets are nervous and dropping. And it’s also clear that we’re on the cusp of the biggest political experiment of our lifetimes.’ Yes, Mr. Brooks, and it started when we elected the least experienced, least accomplished person in the history of America to be president, and you failed to notice that.
We elected an agitator. We elected a community organizer. We elected an authoritarian. ‘If Obama is mostly successful, then the epistemological skepticism natural to conservatives will have been discredited. We will know that highly trained government experts are capable of quickly designing and executing top-down transformational change.’ Highly trained government experts? Is that an oxymoron, Mr. Brooks? Because I don’t know that we have ever had ‘government experts capable of quickly designing and executing top-down transformational change that’s for the better.’ ‘If they mostly fail,’ he says, ‘then liberalism will suffer a grievous blow, and conservatives will be called upon to restore order and sanity.’ Take a stand here, Mr. Brooks. It’s about time. ‘If they mostly fail…’? Mr. Brooks, here’s the great fear.
The great fear is that this economy is so powerful, so made up of great Americans with entrepreneurial spirit. We are a competitive people, Mr. Brooks. We tell our little kids not to keep score; they keep score. They know when they’re winning and losing. Americans know when they’re winning and losing. They don’t like losing. George Patton said it. There might be an economic uptick for which Obama will be able to claim credit, where none is due. If there is an economic uptick, sooner than people expect, it will be because of the American people, Mr. Brooks, because there’s no stimulus in this bill. There’s nothing. Mr. Biden was asked about what about the stimulus of small business? ‘Well, we’re going to build a bridge so you can get to your business.’ He was serious! ‘It’ll be interesting to see who’s right. But I can’t even root for my own vindication. The costs are too high. I have to go to the keyboard each morning hoping Barack Obama is going to prove me wrong.’ Well, if you want to be proved wrong by Barack Obama and you’re going to call yourself a conservative columnist, Mr. Brooks, you need to drop conservative from your title, ’cause the two don’t go together.