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DRIVING MISS NANCY! Brooks wants a “dimwit over-class”—and proves that he’s already in one: // link // print // previous // next //

DRIVING MISS NANCY: David Brooks feels the lift of a driving dream. In the final paragraph of today’s column, he lets us know what he longs for:
BROOKS (1/4/07): I harbor my dreams of reconciliation, but in the meantime, why oh why can't we have a decent overclass in this country—a group of highly attractive dimwits who spread bland but worthy stability over our political scene.
Brooks wants “a decent overclass in this country—a group of highly attractive dimwits.” To this, we’d offer a word of warning. Dude, be careful what you wish for. You may already be in it.

Is David Brooks part of a “dimwit over-class?” The thought had already entered our heads as we read the start of his column this morning. There he was, playing the dimwit game—the game we liberals must learn to confront:
BROOKS: I have a dream, my friends. I have a dream that we are approaching the day when a ranch-owning millionaire Republican like George Bush will make peace with a vineyard-owning millionaire Democrat like Nancy Pelosi.

I have a dream that Pelosi, who was chauffeured to school as a child and who, with her investor husband, owns minority shares in the Auberge du Soleil resort hotel and the CordeValle Golf Club, will look over her famous strand of South Sea Tahitian pearls and forge bonds of understanding with the zillionaire corporate barons in the opposing party.
Was Nancy Pelosi “chauffeured [i.e., driven] to school as a child?” We don’t have the slightest idea. (A Nexis search on “Pelsoi AND chauffeur!” failed to produce any meaningful matches. Other searches got us nowhere.) But Brooks’ crafting is sadly familiar; he pictures Pelosi as a pampered child, just as his class contrived to do, in various ways, to Gore and Kerry before her. Indeed, this very image—the image of the child being driven to school—was often used, in precisely this way, to drive the image of rich, pampered Gore. We weren’t told that he was “driven to school” (at St. Albans) by a DC transit bus. Over-class craftsmen chose their words well—and we rubes were encouraged to conjure.

In this passage, Brooks conflates Pelosi’s wealth as a married adult with her life as a child—when she lived in Baltimore’s (working class) Little Italy, with her father, then Baltimore’s (working class) mayor. Was Pelosi a child of the pampered rich—the image one takes from Brooks’ paragraph 2? You can judge that for yourself; see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/10/06. But our over-class is gearing up for its latest run—its latest attempt to frame our perceptions. And of course, the framing of Pelosi won’t matter as much as the framing of the next White House nominee—Clinton, Obama or Edwards. (Regarding Pelsoi’s upbringing, we again recommend Lynne Duke’s profile from the Washington Post.)

Libs and Dems on the web (and in “liberal” journals) have to rise to this new challenge. In 1999 and 2000, our “leaders” didn’t say a word as this dimwit class spun its tales about Gore. In Campaign 04, we performed very poorly, moving slowly—if at all—when the framings of Kerry began to emerge. Will this third time be the charm? Or will we slumber and fail once again? Brooks’ class is going to spin. Are we prepared for the challenge?

TOMORROW—FRAMING 08: Imus and Barnicle left something out when they chatted up Saints John and Rudy.

DIMWIT CLASS, PLAYING DUMB: Poor Brooks! In today’s column, he’s mainly disturbed by Pelosi’s installment events. We felt his pain, his confusion:
BROOKS: This week, witness Pelosi going on her all-about-me inauguration tour, which is designed to rebrand her as a regular Catholic grandma from Baltimore. Members of the middle classes never have to mount campaign swings to prove how regular they are, but these upper-bracket types can't help themselves, and they always lay it on too thick.
But why does Pelosi have to “rebrand” herself? Duh! In large part, because our over-class has already branded her in its own preferred dimwit manner, as Brooks, of course, understands full well. “Some people believe that Pelosi is an airhead, but that is wrong,” he writes in his piece. “Some people believe she is a radical San Francisco liberal, but that, too, is wrong.” But it’s weird! Why would people believe that Pelosi is a “radical San Francisco liberal” when she actually isn’t? Duh! Because members of Brooks’ dimwit class have been working to make them think so. They want to produce a stupider world—a world in which over-class interests are served. This morning, Brooks, slickly typing “chauffeur,” caters to these interests.

When they did it to Gore—when they did it to Kerry—we failed to react. Today, they’re already crafting (and spreading) their tales about the next Democratic nominee. If we plan to counter their dim-witted efforts, we need to start countering. Now.

OUR ONGOING FAILURE: Yes, they pictured Gore as a pampered child too—a spoiled brat perched in a fancy hotel, driven to school every morning. And we didn’t just shut our mouths in real time; to this day, our liberal “leaders” avoid discussing what happened back then. To state the obvious, this makes it easier for Brooks’ class to perform comparable framing again, whether it involves Pelosi or the next nominee for the White House.

They’re going to build a string of tales around the next Democratic nominee. In the last two White House campaigns, such tales have determined who sits in the White House. The time to challenge these tales is today. Tomorrow—more spinning RE Clinton.

A PERSONAL NOTE: It’s hard to think of an grimier thing than making up tales about someone’s childhood—about their basic connections with their parents. In our view, Bill Bradley showed a failing heart when he began to spread inane, stupid tales about Gore’s upbringing. (Bradley had raised his own daughter in Washington, the complaint he lodged against Gore—a complaint which helped our dimwit class create their successful framing.) A big scribe’s inner chamber was empty too, when he penned his deceitful “Farmer Al” column. Being moral dimwits, this class will say and do anything. This time, will we finally prove that we’re willing—and know how—to respond?

CHERCHEZ THE CHILD: Why do they go after the child? All the way back in 1988, Kevin Phillips told Gail Sheehy (Vanity Fair) how the over-class would frame Gore, who was then staging his first White House run. Yes, this shit actually works:

SHEEHY (4/88): The first hint of Republican nervousness over the young senator from Tennessee surfaced when G.O.P. strategist Kevin Phillips warned that his party had better begin to put Gore down by "describing him as a spoiled rich kid from St. Albans who smoked marijuana and had a soft job in Vietnam.”
Eleven years later, they did just that, helped along by the silence of our “leaders.” Today, we read that young Nancy was “chauffeured” around too.

But then, this is the way our over-class conspires to maintain its power. We need to start thinking and planning—today—for what will be said in Campaign 08 about the Dem nominee.