Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Our Miss Brooks

There has been much key tapping over who will be chosen to succeed retiring NYT columnist William Safire. Apparently any number of bloggers, with characteristic humility and sense of proportion, have nominated themselves.

It seems to me that Safire’s replacement has already been piped aboard the Times in the person of David Brooks. Brooks has cultivated a reputation as a tame and palatable conservative. A pseudointellectual who strives for catchy turns of phrase and will occasionally concede a point, Brooks is the balding, bucktoothed face of the Bushie next door.

Brooks makes a show of independence, but he definitely gets the White House talking-points memos. When thinking conservatives and principled Republicans began to distance themselves from the imperious, dismissive Rumsfeld of the “Army you have” Kuwait press conference, Brooks toed the line.

“He’s confident,” Brooks said of Rumsfeld on the PBS News Hour, “Surprises happen.” Never mind that military analysts say that insurgencies have been a mainstay of warfare for the past 70 years, and could have been anticipated. But not by a leader who admits no error, takes no blame, won’t even consider alternatives, and calls faulty logistical planning “essentially a matter of physics” (Oh, we’d like to provide you with armor but the laws of the universe make it impossible!)

Besides, Brooks assured News Hour viewers, Rumsfeld isn’t chiefly focused on running this war, as author of the Quadrennial Review, he’s preparing for the next one. Isn’t that a comforting thought.


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