David Brooks on Charlie Rose, Tea Parties, Defense Spending Cuts.

David Brooks is one of the most thoughtful pundits practicing punditry, and I especially enjoy him on Charlie Rose where he’s not having to counter Mark Shield’s silly and often irrelevant points made on PBS’ “The News Hour”.     Despite the obvious ideological differences, even President Obama isn’t immune to the intelligent observations of Brooks, who has met several times with the President.


I especially enjoyed his point about the wisdom of *moving slow*.    I tend to be in the group that says “let’s try something new and bold”, but Brooks makes the case that slow, gradual change is the best course and one of the reasons for the great success of the American experiment.    He also seemed to feel this was by design – the founders wanted checks, balances, and thoughtful innovations rather than radical ones.      One could reasonably say that the US was born, revolutionarily, from a movement that advocated huge change in a short time, I think it’s also true that the founders recognized their own limitations and the limitations of government, which was why our new republic was designed more to temper the powers of Government and the ruling class than to enhance them.    This point is currently lost on many Americans but soon it’ll be clear to most that big Government is going to fail us … again.    Not out of bad intentions, rather from what the founders understood so well –  Government that governs best, governs least.

Unfortunately it’s the Tea Party movement that has become the main advocate for small Government, but the Tea Party folks are carrying the baggage of two unsustainably dumb ideologies along with them.    The first is their hypocrisy with respect to spending.  There are calls for cuts in entitlement programs (important) and also for trivial things that don’t matter (dumb), but Tea Party has NO calls for the necessary large cuts in defense  spending – one of the few big ticket budget items that eventually MUST be cut and SHOULD have been massively cut years ago.      We spend over half the global military spend – about $550,000,000,000 each year – and the return on this extraordinary investment is not even clearly positive.     Massive military responses often spawn more ferocious counterinsurgencies, so the idea that we must “root out” terrorism or face greater terror is unproven.     We don’t have enough data to know how our trillions in anti-terror spending will shake out so I’m not advocating anything here other than cuts in spending, which at least free up funding for things that have a proven return on investment.   [NOTE – Brooks and Obama would disagree with massive cuts in defense budget, though I think one of the great military minds of the century, President Dwight Eisenhower, is rolling in his grave watching how his predictions about the rise of a “military industrial establishment” have come true and, along with entitlements, have completely broken our bank. ] The second huge problem with the Tea Party movement is their remarkable enthusiasm for intolerance.   Sara Palin?   Tom Tancredo?   The people who are now clearly speaking for many in that movement are generally not very bright or capable, and also they are frequently using the kind of confrontatational, intolerant speech that should have been abandoned long ago, though it’s also true that the American left – now in power – is reaping some of what they sowed with the huge disrespect they showed the Bush Administration.

Ironically the solutions to many American problems are very clear, we just don’t have a party that reflects what we need which is a small and innovative government and a smart and innovative private sector.    Liberals need to abandon so much “hand holding” and demands for big Government and conservatives need to abandon their love of massive defense spending and social class warfare.

Nope, not holding my breath!

23 thoughts on “David Brooks on Charlie Rose, Tea Parties, Defense Spending Cuts.

  1. Terrorism or Communism, I don’t think it makes much difference at all. Its just a different set of slogans and a different flavored gravy, but its still a gravy train.

    Tea Party Candidates… someone felt the name Libertarian was out of date and that the real Libertarians were too well organized.

  2. FoolsGold I’m skeptical that Tea Party = Libertarian, though I’m not familiar with many of the candidates who are latching on to the Tea Party Tails so maybe they are similar folks.

    In the same way the Dems co-opt terms like “justice” and then implement massive inefficient social programs, I think the Tea Party co-opts terms like ‘individual liberty” and “small Government” and then promotes “religious / cultural intolerance” and “big defense spending”.

  3. The tea party movement isn’t about one issue or another in regard to spending, conservative or liberal ideologies.

    The tea party movement is about people standing up and saying…hey political class you have absolutely NO CREDIBLITY with me anymore.

    You can forget about solving any spending problems we have or the elimination of stupid ideas until we replace this crowd in DC.

    The tea party movement is made up of Conservatives, liberals and independents. It is far more about a corrupt system involving two locked in parties than it is about run-away spending. The spending may be the straw but the real reason is because of WHO is in office.

    Just like the founders of our country people today are completely sick of a government that doesn’t listen to them, that just does whatever it wants and hurts the honest hard-working people all the while propping up the useless dregs and crminals in our society.

    How does Rangel stay in office?

    How do we have a spreaker of house demanding that bills be passed that are not supported by the majority in this country? In fact over 75% of the people are against what policies are being implemented. In fact they are pissed, not just disappointed they are really angry.

    You can’t go to the MSM to get any truth about this Joe – Charlie Rose and crew are very much part of the machine that has brought us here. They believe in the ideologilly that the majority of America is clearly REJECTING at this point.

    We have a president who promised so much and yet has failed to deliver on the majority of his promises and has almost broken all of his promises. Where people hated Bush he is more of the same (just like people said he would have to be), where he said he isn’t a socialist he is acting more and more like a socialist every day (meanwhile trying to say the opposite). Middle class tax increases are NOW on the table.

    We have a VP that wanted to break Iraq into 3 countries, voted against the surge along with Obama, etc…both were very outspoken about it and NOW they have the audacity to claim that victory in Iraq is probably Obama’s biggest achievement in office…SERIOUSLY WTF!!! Biden should be able to impeached over making such an outrageous statement.

    A lot of people were fooled by the Obama machine, but anyone with a clear mind that understands Chicago knows for a FACT that someone doesn’t rise to power in Chicago and then on to the national front without serious corruption behind them. There was no way Obama could be successful with the Chicago machine behind him not to mention Soros and Podesta in the mix.

    America is done with these clowns and thankfully now the progressives like the Clinton, Reid, Pelosi, Obama et al are going to be forced to climb back under the rocks from where they cam.

    This is a revolution and hopefully it will stay peaceful but if the political class doesn’t finally wake up, eat some crow, clean up their shop, hold their brethren accountable this is only going to get worse this year and next.

    The Democrats have been inflitrated and overtaken by the progressives, socialists, marxists, etc and Obama is all too happy to go right along with them. Anyone that honestly reviews social security knows that it is a ponzi scheme and like any ponzi scheme it will eventually collapse and people will be hurt. You just have to look at the history of what has been done with social security to understand that we cannot let healthcare pass…it will be 10x’s worse than social security. The people in DC just cannot be trusted. Every major program like this is a trojan horse that enables future abuese that continually weaken our country.

  4. Just follow the money…this is ridiculous on what is going on! Crony capitalism 101. This should totally piss you off and if it doesn’t you need to book some time with a therapist!

    It isn’t hard to find the truth you just have to be willing to do it and then accept it when it is right in front of you and then let our elected officials understand just how pissed off you are when people like Barney Frank, Paulson, etc can cut deals like this.

  5. Edited, and PC’ed, tea-baggers of Duckville—

    Brooks seems like a well-spoken gent. He’s sort of WF Buckley’s replacement. Like Buckley, he sounds reasonable, at least to millionaires. The execs of America probably approve: Confound it, I do like this Brooks chap….. He’s no tea-bagger, more like a …Tory.

    Tea-baggers demand lower taxes and cuts in govt. spending but refuse to take on the DoD budget. Instead they whine about welfare, social programs, health-care, etc, which account for a smaller portion of govt. expenditures than defense. No one likes taxes, yet the tax rates are still quite lower than they have been: Bushco outdid Reagan in his tax cuts of 2002, for both income, and capital gains. The upper brackets were around 70% + until Reagan. BO hasn’t increased rates to Clinton levels ( Clinton was a centrist, according to most reasonable estimations (ie, non-teabagger).

    The govt. debt grows by leaps and bounds because there aren’t sufficient tax revenues. The capital gains rate could be kicked up 10% or so and the US could actually pay for programs, instead of taking out loans from china.

    • Clever as usual Horatiox – Brooks the nouveau Tory. But I don’t really agree with that – he’s no populist but he sincerely believes along with many that the founders basically had the right ideas with small govt, disdain of bureaucracy, love of entrepreneurial freedoms and individual liberties. I think these views probably reflect those of perhaps a third of the folks in the country, with the remaining 2/3 spanning the spectrum from massive social welfare state to apathy to isolationist big military no immigration intolerance. The last category would not be all Tea Party folks but I think it would be about half. Glenn I know you favor across the board budget cuts and general social tolerance so I’m not talking about you there.

  6. Since the founding in 1620, everyone “nullified” any law anywhere that intervened in the jurisdiction of the local government, usually the county. Government was to be no further than one day’s horseback ride from the governed, and they took it seriously in voting, town hall meetings, even vigilante movements if all else failed, something that justifies today’s Tea Party movement, as cited in The Changing Face of Democrats on Amazon as well as claysamerica.com. 19th century Democrats were the libertarians following Jefferson and Madison who stood firmly on the State’s Rights issue to preserve local government. It was the Hamilton, Clay, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt on up to McCain, minus Reagan, Republicans who stood for nationalism and Washington over the counties, and modern Democrats who follow Rousseau and Marx. claysamerica.com

  7. Thanks for checking in Clay. I think this is an excellent historical note that talks to the legitimate concerns of many about how detached the Govt has become from regular folks:

    Government was to be no further than one day’s horseback ride from the governed

    HOWEVER, you seem to have a sympathy for the Tea Party movement as if it’s really reflecting founding principles, which were small (as in EXTREMELY SMALL) national military and high tolerance for different cultures and ideas. Neither of these even remotely characterizes the Tea Party movement, which is why it will remain on the fringe of change and never drive it forward.

    As Brooks very correctly notes Obama is a guy who could drive some amazing bipartisan change forward. Unfortunately this is not yet happening due to a combination of ridiculous bashing from the right combined with Obama’s adherence to some junky ideas from the left about big government.

  8. The Tea Party movement is the Republican party in sheepskin clothing.
    They say they want smaller government except “Don’t touch money for defense”.
    There’s nothing new there. Everyone is for cutting everything except their own pet projects.
    It’s a myth that you can call for fiscal responsiblity without making deep cuts in the defense budget. The defense budet overshadows all other programs. Welfare is a drop in the bucket compared to defense. You don’t balance the budget unless you can attack a program that soaks up 600 billion dollars each year.
    We spend three times as much on defense as China…and they have 3 times our population.
    I’m not sure how much the Taliban spends on defense. They have no navy, no air force, no missiles, no fancy armored vehicles.
    In fact when you see them in their training videos, they don’t even wear combat boots.
    Yet for 9 years now they have been able to tie up our superior forces in a war where there is no light at the end of the tunnel…despite the fact that our forces outnumber them by 4 to 1.

    Tea Baggers, get serious.

    If you really want credibility you need to say “Less government. Period”…and that includes in defense.

    Otherwise you are just repackaging a failed Republican platform: Less spending when the other guy is in power. And Back to business as usual when we hold the white house

  9. hey Glennster, your man Ron Paul has been doing some representin’ to the Tea-bagCo. He’s actually outpolling the GOP gang now for Prez in 2012. Paulski also reportedly told the faithful he did not order Mr Stack to pilot the Cessna into the IRS building…

    • LOL…I am not a Ron Paul supporter…however I would take practically anyone over what we are burdened with now.

      I am all for limited government, limited spending (mostly on defense and infrastructure just like the Founders had intended).

      Anything we do has to start with personal responsibility and that includes Main St, Wall Street and in DC.

      However when I doubt I would probably choose the libertarian path but only because it keeps the idiots in DC out of our lives.

      You know Horatiox is people really understood the strings attached to the progressive agenda there would be less than 10% support for them in this country how else can you explain how they have to manipulate to get anything done? None of their ideas and programs can ever stand the light of day. Aren’t you sick of being lied to?

  10. It cracks me up Horatiox…you don’t seem to cling to all the ideals once the truth is out but I can’t figure out how Joe continues to rationalize his support for these clowns and for things like global warming.

    Have you seen the latest? The climate scientists have withdrawn their claims of sea level rising…ROFL. Guess they were wrong about that as well. Seriously the majority of people that received taxpayer money and benefit through this scam should spend the rest of their lives in jail – they can start with Gore.


    • There you go again Mr. Glenn! All that happened was a retraction of a *single study* due to some errors. There’s plenty to be skeptical of wrt SLR, but the fact it’s happening is NOT one of those things. The big question is how much of the problems are due to subsidence of land vs SLR as in the case of the Caterets Islands where they’ll be evacuating people due to SLR.

      There is ongoing and probably accelerated sea level rise, there is probably no reasonable way we can stop it, but fortunately it’s not going to be catastrophic except in a few cases like Maldives, Tuvalu.

      • There I go again Joe…it is the fifth report at least that has been either retracted or dismissed because of the errors in over 11 countries were temperatures were taken.

        Where are you getting you news?

        Even NASA, NOAA have admitted to the problems in their data collection. There were over 6,000 data collection points that they were using. Too many were showing cooler temperatures so they just removed them from the list. Guess how many? 4,500 of them were removed from tracking…seriously Joe what are you smoking?

        Al Gore personally made 10’s of millions off this fraud, how is he any different than Madoff?

      • As I have always believed…the climate patterns are just part of cycles that correlate to everything BUT MAN.

        Adapation is the solution, always has been and always will.


        That is exactly why people like Al Gore should spend the rest of their lives in jail Joe – they knew what they were promoting was false and was designed to establish a prgoressive agenda of governmental control. It is criminal what they have tried to do to us and for some reason you are not outrageously pissed about it.

        Almost everything in Al Gore’s movie has know been proven false…how can anyone be that irresponsible with that much at stake? They need to be held accountable.

      • It’s funny Joe but I remember crazy weather like we are seeing today back when Carter was President. Outrageous blizzards, states closing, etc…ironic how these weather patterns coincide with horrible Presidents.

  11. More storytelling by King Obama hisself…

    President Barack Obama told business leaders Wednesday that he’s no socialist plotting a government takeover of the economy.

    His administration isn’t anti-business, he said in a speech to the Business Roundtable, an organization of chief executive officers of major U.S. corporations. “It’s pro-America and I don’t apologize for it.”

    “Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, I am an ardent believer in the free market,” Obama said. “I believe businesses like yours are the engines of economic growth in this country.”

    I firmly believe that America’s success in large part depends on your success,” Obama said.

    Ok one year after he began his dynasty.

    2/3 of US automobile manufacturers are nationalized

    private mortgage industry is nationalized

    trying to nationalize the student loan industry

    energy is nationalized and controlled through the EPA

    unions are given preference over bond-holders

    trying to nationalize healthcare to grap another 18% of our total economy

    Yeah Obama is just a screaming free market capitalist.

    Perpetual opposite day lives on…in regard to the scorecoard he is scoring far more like a socialist than a free marketer. Yet the sheeple believe what he says…well some do…most with a clear objective mind don’t.

  12. Time for some more truth…

    2/3rds of the so called jobs saved by the stimulus were in the Dept of Education.

    Think about that…LOL. The vast majority of the stimulus money went to…the Department of Education.

    Gee let’s connect the dots.

    Andy Stern (ACORN, SEIU), the union boss was appointed by Obama to be on the debt commission.

    1/3 of ALL union jobs in this country are … guess where?…yes in education.

    33% of the entire education industry is unionized.

    Now we find out…for the first time ever. More public sector employees belong to a union than private sector despite there being five times more wage and salary workers in the private sector.

    Yeah nothing funny going on here for this bought and paid for POTUS.

    What have you fools that voted for Obama done to this country?

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