Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Goopy & Grumpy

David Brooks gets all gooey and goopy over the Iowa caucuses – how the Democrats are still idealistic after all the “anger” against Bush has been spewed and how their grand illusion “is out of proportion to the smallish policies on offer.” He’s saying, Gosh, I could really like these people if they all weren’t so wrong about everything. It sounds like he had to strongly resist the temptation to pat everyone on the head. Thank you for your patronizing, David – please call again.

Contrast that with Paul Krugman, who, when he’s not being called “shrill” by the Rightocracy, comes off to the casual reader as grumpy and ill-mannered: he uses words like “sinister” and “calculating.” Aw, c’mon, Paul, stop being such a grumble-bunny! Don’t you know that everything is just hunky-dory?

If anyone’s being cynical here, it’s Brooks. His sweetness-and-light is just a set-up for the long knives that will come out when the eventual nominee is chosen. We know the drill – how could the Democrats be so blind to the real problems in this country just so they can pick on affable and amiable George W. Bush? He only has the best interest of the nation at heart, you know. It’s morning in America! (Cue “Optimistic Voices” from The Wizard of Oz: “You’re out of the woods, you’re out of the dark, you’re into the light…”)

It’s a seductive call, and much as I’d like to be bundled up in the warm cozy security of smug arrogance and borrowed optimism, I’ll take the harsh reality of the tempered cynicism and tested faith of the Democrats any day. We’ll all come out stronger and more aware that the real threat to our nation is not just nebulous videos from a cave in Pakistan but the slow erosion of faith in our system of laws and rights – and worse, in our fellow citizens – by the current administration.