Monday, October 13, 2008

Sleeper 1 Brooks 0

Over at Talking Points Memo Cafe Jim Sleeper puts the smack down on David Brooks. A sample:
He pirouettes like this constantly to maintain some intellectual self-respect, on the one hand, and to hold onto his market niche as a conservative Republican apologist, on the other. He has tried to square this circle with forced geniality throughout Republicans' Iraq War lying, torture and warrantless surveillance, borrow-and-borrow, spend-and-spend fiscal policy, bottomless corruption, and, lately, national socialism. But John McCain is stopping Brooks' game.

Ever since it has become clear that McCain is unstable and incompetent as commander-in-chief of his own campaign, not least by choosing his horror show of a running mate, Brooks has been squirming and stumbling furiously toward a reckoning that should be of some interest to every Times reader and would-be public intellectual.

This time, the choice facing Brooks is too stark and time-bound for his usual gyrations. He can maintain his intellectual self-respect only by breaking openly with McCain/Palin in the next couple of weeks.

It comes as no shock that David Brooks has little intellectual core. But as we watch him and other conservative columnists squirm as they wrestle with their intellectual barrenness, let us keep in mind that there are three weeks left in this campaign.

I would thus encourage my fellow Democrats not to be too effusive yet and not to start the touchdown celebration before we reach the goal line. Our party has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory before. The polling data looks good for Obama supporters, but I would be willing to bet that those numbers tighten, that the gap closes, in the next three weeks.

Were the election to be held tomorrow, Obama would win handily, quite possibly in a landslide. But election cycles have their own nearly-organic development, and when hubris begins to build I try to remind myself of the 1948 election, when all polling data indicated that New York Governor Thomas Dewey was bound to win handily, a sentiment that prevailed until election night, when the pollsters were humiliated. Polling is methodologically better today and we have much more data to work with, especially for those of us who like to look at aggregates rather than place our faith in any single poll. But now is not the time to be planning victory dances for an endzone we have not yet reached and it certainly is not the time for complacency to prevail.

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