JONATHAN CHAIT JANUARY 20, 2010
Ezra Klein expresses his skepticism that David Brooks' column, raging at the Democrats for even considering trying to pass a bill that lacks public support at the moment, is motivated by genuine belief in direct democracy, as opposed to pure expediency:
[T]he big question here is how far does Brooks's commitment to the polls extend? If Brooks thinks that they should be ignored in other cases, then he needs to argue against this policy on its own terms. But if he thinks they should be heeded in all cases, he should make that argument more directly and grapple with its implications. I think it would be very interesting to have an advocate for direct democracy writing on the New York Times op-ed page, but I'm not sure Brooks actually is that advocate, or if it's just a convenient argument to bring about his preferred short-term policy outcome.
And the verdict is... convenient argument to bring about his preferred short-term policy outcome. Daniel Larison:
It is strange to see Brooks advocating on behalf of popular wisdom and the public’s sense of equilibrium. When we have seen opposition from across the spectrum unite against the immigration bill in 2007 or the bank bailout in September 2008, Brooks has been on the side of the arrogant, elitist and contemptuous. As I mentioned a little earlier today, when the House heeded some of that popular wisdom and correctly voted down the TARP Brooks dubbed them nihilists. Somehow the nihilists of sixteen months ago have become the spokesmen of American common sense today.