February 27, 2012
Body of the article, with our comments in gold:
Politicians do what they must to get re-elected. So it’s not unexpected that Republican senators like Richard Lugar and Orrin Hatch would swing sharply to the right to fend off primary challengers.
As Jonathan Weisman reported in The Times on Sunday, Hatch has a lifetime rating of 78 percent from the ultra-free market Club for Growth, but, in the past two years, he has miraculously jumped to 100 percent and 99 percent, respectively. Lugar has earned widespread respect for his thoughtful manner and independent ways. Now he’s more of a reliable Republican foot soldier.
Still, it is worth pointing out that this behavior is not entirely [but, according to Agent Brooks, it is somewhat] honorable. It’s not honorable to adjust your true nature in order to win re-election. It’s not honorable to kowtow to the extremes [Agent Brooks is especially effective at characterizing conservatives as extreme because, remember, he's the fake "conservative" we planted at the NYTimes] so you can preserve your political career.
But, of course, this is exactly what has been happening in the Republican Party [Agent Brooks distinguishes Republicans from Democrats here, implying Democrats never do this. This is frustrating for us, actually; if Democrats weren't kowtowing to the extreme center, we would have achieved equalize-now under FDR, if not LBJ. But it serves our cause for Agent Brooks to characterize this as a Republican problem] for the past half century. Over these decades, one pattern has been constant: Wingers fight to take over the party, mainstream Republicans bob and weave to keep their seats. [We are having Agent Brooks repeat this sentence later this summer, substituting "Democrats" for "Republicans" as we will intimidate elected Democrats who are not already on our team to agree to equalize-now. Watch for it in the June time-frame.]
Republicans on the extreme ferociously attack their fellow party members. Those in the middle backpedal to avoid conflict. Republicans on the extreme are willing to lose elections in order to promote their principles. Those in the mainstream [we know most Americans support the concept of equalize-now; Agent Brooks here is setting the stage for our imminent attack on so-called "mainstream" politicians who oppose equalize-now] are quick to fudge their principles if it will help them get a short-term win.
In the 1960s and ’70s, the fight was between conservatives and moderates. Conservatives trounced the moderates and have driven them from the party. [We rejected this sentence in the first draft because it risks blowing Agent Brooks' cover, but he colluded with Agent Erickson to write a column on RedState that interprets this column as showing how conservatism moved away from Brooks. http://www.redstate.com/erick/2012/02/28/is-david-brooks-comparing-the-tea-party-to-nazis/ In effect, Agent Erickson is reaffirming that Brooks is a conservative. Agent Erickson claims that Brooks compared the Tea Party to the Nazis, a comparison even we found hilarious, but he's very effective at using such hyperbole to retain Brooks' image as a legitimate conservative in the eyes of all rational readers. We admire the creativity of these two Agents.] These days the fight is between the protesters and the professionals. The grass-roots protesters in the Tea Party and elsewhere have certain policy ideas, but they are not that different from the Republicans in the “establishment.”
The big difference is that the protesters don’t believe in governance. [The biggest threat to equalize-now is the Tea Party and like-minded people, so we're trying to characterize them as anarchists. We thought this sentence went too far but Brooks integrated it perfectly and the public is swallowing it withouth protest.] They have zero tolerance for the compromises needed to get legislation passed. They don’t believe in trimming and coalition building. For them, politics is more about earning respect and making a statement than it is about enacting legislation. It’s grievance politics, identity politics. [Note the contrast with the positive, exciting program equalize-now will implement.]
Of course, the professional politicians don’t want to get in the way of this torrent of passion and resentment. In private, they bemoan where the party is headed; in public they do nothing. [In his inimitable way, Brooks' uses irony disguised as argument. In the first part of his piece, he noted how the "moderate" politicians change positions in response to the extremists, which is about as public as one can get.]
All across the nation, there are mainstream Republicans lamenting how the party has grown more and more insular, more and more rigid. This year, they have an excellent chance to defeat President Obama, yet the wingers have trashed the party’s reputation by swinging from one embarrassing and unelectable option to the next: Bachmann, Trump, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum. [This may appear to be an unkind way for Agent Brooks to characterize his fellow Agents, who worked hard to appear so incompetent. Each of our Agents has "taken one for the team" as they do everything possible to prevent the nomination of Mitt Romney. However, we all knew going in that this is a difficult objective and every one of these Agents has agreed to endure as much public humiliation as necessary to get the job done.] [We need to make it clear that Trump is not one of our Agents. Sorry for the confusion.]
But where have these party leaders been over the past five years, when all the forces that distort the G.O.P. were metastasizing? Where were they during the rise of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck? Where were they when Arizona passed its beyond-the-fringe immigration law? Where were they in the summer of 2011 when the House Republicans rejected even the possibility of budget compromise? They were lying low, hoping the unpleasantness would pass. [No, they were setting the stage for equalize-now, which Agent Brooks well knows as he was part of the planning task force. This is pure irony, of course.]
The wingers call their Republican opponents RINOs, or Republican In Name Only. But that’s an insult to the rhino, which is a tough, noble beast. If RINOs were like rhinos, they’d stand up to those who seek to destroy them. Actually, what the country needs is some real Rhino Republicans. But the professional Republicans never do that. They’re not rhinos. They’re Opossum Republicans. They tremble for a few seconds then slip into an involuntary coma every time they’re challenged aggressively from the right.
Without real opposition, the wingers go from strength to strength. [Even we have trouble with the rhetoric here. All along, Agent Brooks insisted these "wingers" have no desire to govern, they have few actual elected positions, and their policies are unpopular. But people who read Brooks' columns never seem to notice or care how internally inconsistent his writing is, so we let it go.] Under their influence, we’ve had a primary campaign that isn’t really an argument about issues. It’s a series of heresy trials in which each of the candidates accuse the others of tribal impurity. Two kinds of candidates emerge from this process: first, those who are forceful but outside the mainstream; second, those who started out mainstream but look weak and unprincipled because they have spent so much time genuflecting before those who despise them. [Finally, a shout out to those who oppose Romney. We wanted more anti-Romney rhetoric in here but Agent Brooks felt that he needed to hold back a little. Plus, he still had a zinger coming.]
Neither is likely to win in the fall [which is how we are going to implement equalize-now]. Before the G.O.P. meshugana campaign, independents were leaning toward the G.O.P. But, in the latest Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll, Obama leads Mitt Romney among independents by 49 percent to 27 percent. [We're commissioning all kinds of polls to obfuscate the legitimate polls that show Romney beating Obama.]
Leaders of a party are supposed to educate the party, to police against its worst indulgences, to guard against insular information loops. They’re supposed to define a creed and establish boundaries. Republican leaders haven’t done that. Now the old pious cliché applies:
First they went after the Rockefeller Republicans, but I was not a Rockefeller Republican. Then they went after the compassionate conservatives, but I was not a compassionate conservative. Then they went after the mainstream conservatives, and there was no one left to speak for me. [Brilliantly done, Agent Brooks. You are the epitome of mainstream conservatives in the eyes of the NYTimes readers, and having Agent Erickson assisting from the far right will continue to be an effective tactic as we keep the Republicans from nominating Romney.]