The Strange Romance of Hillary and David Brooks

A day after the annual festival of hearts and roses, cupid’s arrow was still lodged in the back of David Brooks, the conservative columnist of the New York Times. Only his punch-drunk love was directed at a most unlikely candidate: Hillary Clinton.

In a piece for yesterday’s Times entitled “No Apology Needed,” Brooks sought to defend Clinton from “the liberal wing of the Democratic Party,” which continually, and in his view, mistakenly, seek the Senator’s apology for voting in favor of the Iraq war. The article came one paragraph short of becoming an official endorsement of Hillary’s presidential aspirations.

You may ask why someone who has William Kristol’s “The Weekly Standard Reader” on his “What I’m Reading” list would stick his bespectacled head out for Clinton. Well, if you’re to believe Brooks, the change of heart came after he went back and “investigated” some “public comments” Clinton made prior to the war. And, having done so, Brooks has now come to see the Senator, not as a “classic war supporter,” but as “a person who [in the run up to the war] was trying to seek balance between opposing arguments” (in other words, an opportunist), “a person who deferred to the office of the presidency” (like Congress had not ceded enough power to the president post-9/11), and “a person who, as president, would be fox to Bush’s hedgehog” (she, along with the American and Iraqi people, became the real hedgehogs after Bush unilaterally launched his catastrophic war).

But something far more pernicious is at work here. As it turns out, Brooks, in his half-hearted defense of Clinton, is less concerned with shielding a public figure from unjustified attack than he is with installing a like-minded politico to the presidency of the United States. At its core, this moment-of-revelation-turned-love-fest is nothing but insurgent political warfare at its best and, when exposed, should be seen for what it really is: a cry of distress by a Republican who, barring a significant shift in the political winds, can’t bear to see his party evicted from the White House in 2008. Thus, to cure the Bible belt blues, Brooks has resorted to a rather unique cure: jumping ship and getting on the Hillary for 2008 bandwagon, the next-best alternative to a Republican presidency.

Instead of relying on political and historical sophistry to ease his pain, however, Brooks should ask his now departed Times colleague, William Safire, about the Senator’s real stance on the Iraq war from which he will learn facts truly comforting to a conservative. In a column titled “Hillary, Congenital Hawk,” written during less turbulent times for the Republican party (December 8, 2003), Safire described, accurately, the former First Lady’s Bush-like positions on America’s burgeoning military conquest in Central Asia, i.e., stay the course, failure is not an option, more troops. As Safire recounted in his article, when asked by Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” whether she felt she had been misled into voting for the war, Clinton flashed her true hawk-like colors, answering that “There was certainly adequate intelligence without it being gilded and exaggerated by the administration to raise questions about chemical and biological programs and a continuing effort to obtain nuclear power.” At that point, even the White House, perhaps with the exception of Vice President Cheney, started to back-peddle from employing WMD-related propaganda.

In seeking to quell the many calls for yet another Clinton apology, Brooks himself should seek absolution in his attempt at a bit of revisionist history. More importantly, however, Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, should recognize Clinton for what she really is, not for what’s most pleasing to the partisan eye. To that end, one thing is for certain: Hillary won’t apologize anytime soon.

ALBERT WAN, a lifelong New York, is a lawyer currently clerking for a federal judge. He can be reached at: albertkwan@mac.com


More articles by:

December 18, 2018
Charles Pierson
Where No Corn Has Grown Before: Better Living Through Climate Change?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Waters of American Democracy
Patrick Cockburn
Will Anger in Washington Over the Murder of Khashoggi End the War in Yemen?
George Ochenski
Trump is on the Ropes, But the Pillage of Natural Resources Continues
Farzana Versey
Tribals, Missionaries and Hindutva
Robert Hunziker
Is COP24 One More Big Bust?
David Macaray
The Truth About Nursing Homes
Nino Pagliccia
Have the Russian Military Aircrafts in Venezuela Breached the Door to “America’s Backyard”?
Paul Edwards
Make America Grate Again
David Rosnick
The Impact of OPEC on Climate Change
Binoy Kampmark
The Kosovo Blunder: Moving Towards a Standing Army
Andrew Stewart
Shine a Light for Immigration Rights in Providence
December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Vacy Vlanza
The Australian Prime Minister’s Rapture for Jerusalem
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek