Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Conqueror Worm

Via Fritzi, Mae Busch in Rupert Hughes's Souls For Sale, 1923.

Shorter David F. Brooks, "Cory Booker Finds His Moment", 18 March 2019:
If you're tired of violent, angry demagogues like Donald Trump and Kamala Harris, you should be glad that Cory Booker is in the race, because although he's another socialist, so I couldn't actually vote for him myself, he is patriotic, religious, and grateful, which is what I need on my TV in this unpleasant moment. 
Comically, he doesn't provide any evidence that Booker is grateful, only that he should be, because his "family story" is a "success story", unlike Donald Trump or Kamala Harris I guess:

The third emotion is simple gratitude. Booker had to overcome challenges in life, and he has seen many more, but his family story is a success story. The church raised money for his grandmother to go to school. His parents worked at IBM. He was elected class president in high school before going off to Stanford and Yale Law.
I'd like to see some of the evidence that Harris lacks patriotism or simple gratitude—I'm not that curious about her religion if she's not interested in talking about it. On the bad writing front, I'm very curious about the many more challenges in life that Booker has seen but didn't have to overcome.

Speaking for myself, I can't help getting that hippie tingle from Booker's apparently genuine belief in love and kindness and comity, and it's not the reason I'm unlikely to vote for him in the primary, though I don't think it's going to help him win—Harris's "confrontational, prosecutorial style" as we see it in her examination of miscreant Trump creatures (you can tell Brooks must have been shaking in his shoes watching the Kavanaugh hearing) may be a better fit for the 2020 campaign, and I don't see how it conflicts with what Brooks calls "voters' basic decency".

The reason I'm not considering voting for Booker is the sense that he's not just very tight (as any New Jersey politician may need to be) with Wall Street and Pharma, and doesn't seem to have a lot of views on banking regulation (he's against predatory debt collection) or drug prices, but that he's way overly committed to the public-private partnership model, particularly his past with private school vouchers and charter schools, and what looks like the Brooksian theology of win-win rising-tide hope that the wealthy will never need to make any sacrifices, which I really can't live with at the moment. Brooks hears that and goes kind of tingly over it himself (for a much more unpleasant metaphor see Driftglass's headline); he's not just concern trolling in this piece. But concern trolling is definitely a part of it, and as I say there's not a chance he'd publicly endorse Booker any more than he did Obama (who's got things in common with Booker I'm not totally comfortable with, but seems to me so much more tough-minded and aware of the compromises he makes).

Of course I'll vote for Booker if he gets the nomination and it will be easy to work up some enthusiasm, but I'm not expecting it. You shouldn't let Brooks affect you either way.

Bonus best David Brooks editor fail ever, in the missing space in the third line below:

Doesn't sound like much of a choice to me, but not unappealing. Yours in the hope of seeing all the conquerors conquered soon!

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