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Saturday, October 16, 2004

David Brooks summarizes the debates

In the past three years, I've read a lot of columns written by the NY Times stable of pundits. Paul Krugman and Bob Herbert are always good. Nicholas Kristoff is what Tom Tomorrow calls the "sensible liberal," finding the good points in Bush plans which have none. William Safire writes a good column about three times a year; the rest of the time he's busy defending the indefensible (usually the war in Iraq). When it finally becomes at least slightly obvious to him that all of Bush's reasons for war were bogus, he resorts to "But look at the French! And the UN! They've done some sleazy things!" The other two columnists are liberal Maureen Dowd and conservative David Brooks. Dowd is at her most readible on the rare occasions when she's not trying to be funny; Brooks is definitely at his best when he is trying to be funny.

Like today. While most pundits were grading the candidates on their style, or on the few facts mentioned which could be checked, Brooks gets to the fundamental nonsense that was at the core of the debates.(If you're a big Kerry fan, be sure to read past the first paragraph--Brooks ridicules Bush, too.)

Some excerpts:
KERRY: Bob, when I'm president, we're going to have a president as gloomy as this country should be. But the difference is that I have a plan to balance the budget. In fact I have seven plans. Seven and a half if you count the one I was working on in the limo, not even counting subclauses. When I'm president, our country is going to marry a really rich country, which will pay for everything. Thank you.
BUSH: You need a plan. I know that. I'm president. I wake up every day looking for a plan. In fact, I supported Mitch McConnell's plan. But my opponent voted to raise taxes 1,500 gazillion bazillion times. He even voted for some of my budgets, which have created deficits as far as the eye can see! He's a liberal!
SCHIEFFER: As I was driving in tonight one thing occurred to me: All three of us are surrounded by strong women. What the hell are we doing up here? Why aren't they running the country?
The whole column.