David Brooks Frames Doubt About Dems' Direction Unfairly
In his NYT column today that weakly attempts to divide the Democratic party, David Brooks asks,
"Can a politics that evades the modern realities of Islamic extremism and the skill-based global economy really be the basis of a majority movement? I doubt it."
It happens far too often that columnists lump a whole bunch of Democratic candidates and leaders together and draw conclusions that encompass a whole bunch of false choices.
As things go, I happen to agree with Mr. Brooks' statement above, and, being one of the bloggers who pays the closest attention to the activities of Senator John Edwards, I can tell you that he fully comprehends the "realities" of extremism. You'd have to be as blind as a bat not to notice how the divide between the East and West has reached canyon-like proportions over the past five years. For all the "attention" to extremism in the Muslim world that Mr. Brooks may attribute to the Bush administration, an overwhelming number of average Americans believe it's a wrong-eyed focus and that we're headed in the wrong direction. It's the fear-mongering, war-failing, reality-denying kind of focus to which Democratic leaders like Senator Edwards would love to apply their own "corrective lenses."
Evading a national security issue and putting a more efficient focus on ways to tackle the issue are two totally different ways of describing the politics surrounding the issue. After his column gives a partial description of Senator Edwards' ideas regarding how to proceed with the Iraq war, Mr. Brooks has chosen to label that offer of an alternative solution as "evasion," and I don't see the logic in that statement.
Senator Edwards has been totally up-front about our new life in the skill-based global economy. Trade agreements with foreign nations and the organizing activities of American labor will continue to evolve and find new ways to coexist as we move forward in this century.
Our nation has moved from isolation to interdependence to a new and necessary need for cooperation. It's a no-brainer that we can never go back - regardless of how much we tap nostalgia. Naturally, Senator Edwards understands this and communicates his modern positions clearly. I'd wager you could ask anyone who's ever been in a room where he's speaking and they will tell you that he's no backward-thinking dreamer, but instead a promising and hopeful symbol of America's future who inspires college students and elderly citizens alike across America toward greater and higher aims and values with a keen eye upon our current reality.
We should be moving ahead bravely with our leaders reassuring us that American workers will not be lost in the outsourcing shuffle. Mr. Brooks speaks as if supporting the American worker is a successful political exercise of the past, and that's where I'm afraid he's missing the boat. Labor is evolving, but it will never disappear, for in many small towns across America, the union hall is still at the core of our community life along with the VFW and our church basements. These are our brothers, fathers, and sisters that we're talking about.
Speaking about Senator Edwards and others as if they want to send the nation to yesteryear is disingenuous talk, especially since the fellow who currently occupies the Oval Office has set the progress and good name of our nation decades backward and has presided over an economy where Business has been encouraged, through the public policies of the Republican party, to be socially irresponsible and to ignore labor standards in foreign nations where they've moved their offices and factories. The gap between rich and poor in America is reminiscent of the pre-FDR era. Talk about sickening ways of "going Retro!"
If any political party leaders are "evading," the GOP has surely won the crown by evading an honest debate with Democrats on Iraq; they've evaded the American labor movement while allowing business to run roughshod over American livelihoods and human rights in foreign nations; and they've evaded raising the federal minimum wage for the American worker.
Loose talk that creates a false impression of a leader like Senator Edwards is deeply unfortunate, and I know David Brooks is a smart gentleman. When I see comments that reflect what I see as intellectual dishonesty, I have to ask myself why such brilliant writers would employ what I view to be such division with such weak argument.
I would like to remind Congresswoman Jane Harman, who gave credit for presiding over the end of the Cold War solely to Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bush 41 this morning on Fox News, that it was President Jimmy Carter who painstakingly laid a hopeful and firm foundation for the end of the Cold War.
I regret she forgot to mention him, especially since today is President Jimmy Carter's birthday. James Earl Carter, Jr.was born October 1, 1924, in Plains, Georgia.
Here's wishing a very 82nd Happy Birthday to President Carter and a salute to him and to his wife Rosalynn for the great work they're doing at the Carter Center in Atlanta.