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NYT: David Brooks on 'liberal inquisition' of Lieberman; Many Dems fear, 'despise' netroots

Published: Saturday July 8, 2006

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(Update at bottom includes reaction to Brooks' column from Daily Kos readers)

Two Sundays after taking on the founder of Daily Kos, David Brooks, a conservative columnist for The New York Times, lashes out at the netroots and many on the left for participating in a "liberal inquisition" of Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman, RAW STORY has found.

Brooks' latest column set for Sunday's Times also suggests that many Democrats silenty fear and "despise" the netroots movement.

To Brooks, Lieberman represents one of a few "heterodox politicians who distrust ideological purity, who rebel against movement groupthink, who believe in bipartisanship both as a matter of principle and as a practical necessity," offering former Mayor Giuliani and Senators McCain and Clinton as examples.

"In the 1930s, the Spanish Civil War served as a precursor to the global conflict that was World War II," Brooks writes. "And in a smaller fashion, the primary battle playing out on the smiling lawns of upscale Connecticut serves as a preview for the national conflict that will dominate American politics for the next two years."

"What's happening to Lieberman can only be described as a liberal inquisition," writes Brooks. "Whether you agree with him or not, he is transparently the most kind-hearted and well-intentioned of men. But over the past few years he has been subjected to a vituperation campaign that only experts in moral manias and mob psychology are really fit to explain."

"I can't reproduce the typical assaults that have been directed at him over the Internet, because they are so laced with profanity and ugliness, but they are ginned up by ideological masseurs who salve their followers' psychic wounds by arousing their rage at objects of mutual hate," Brooks adds.

Brooks singles out the netroots as helping to lead the brigade.

"Liberal interest groups that seek practical goals, like the AFL-CIO and the League of Conservation Voters, back Lieberman," writes Brooks. "But the netroots now seek to purge what's left of the Scoop Jackson Democrats, and to eliminate those who have had contact with the evildoers in the other party, because movements are deemed to prosper to the extent they achieve holiness unmarred."

Brooks suggests that many Democrats silently fear and "despise" the netroots.

"Over the past few years, polarizers have dominated Congress because people who actually represent most Americans have been too timid or intellectually vacuous to stand up," writes Brooks. "Even today many Democrats who privately despise the netroots lie low, hoping the anger won't be directed at them."

Two weeks ago Brooks took aim at Daily Kos and it's founder.

"The Keyboard Kingpin, aka Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, sits at his computer, fires up his Web site, Daily Kos, and commands his followers, who come across like squadrons of rabid lambs, to unleash their venom on those who stand in the way," wrote Brooks. "And in this way the Kingpin has made himself a mighty force in his own mind, and every knee shall bow."

In an appearance on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS the other night, Brooks gave a slight preview of his Sunday column.

"Because in my conversations --we're talking about the netsroots [sic], who are the real problems for Lieberman, people generated by the Daily Kos and other web sites-- I find privately most of the Democrats despise those people because of the way they practice politics so viciously that they don't want to get in the crosshairs," said Brooks, according to a transcript in a Daily Kos diary.

"And they don't want to offend the liberal base of primary voters," Brooks added. "So they want to support Joe Lieberman, but they don't want to get in the crosshairs. So a few have come out, Barbara Boxer, Joe Biden, couple others have come out strongly for him, others, Hillary Clinton has sort of been on both sides, others just won't commit."

(Crooks and Liars has a video clip of the Brooks News Hour appearance)


Mr. Brooks, this is DailyKos

On Sunday, one of the top recommended diaries at Daily Kos was written by a user named LithiumCola, and called "Mr. Brooks, this is DailyKos."

"Mr. Brooks has trouble reading polls," writes LithiumCola. "The netroots are not 'fringe' in regards to these issues. The netroots may well be outside the beltway, but hardly 'fringe.'"

"Mr. Brooks, this is DailyKos," LithiumCola continues. "And you are hereby challenged."

"We are smarter than you," adds LithiumCola. "We are more decent than you. We are more educated than you. We are legion."

Another Daily Kos diarist a gnostic asks, "Why give Brooks free advertising?"

"We sometimes give neo-cons a response, usually when they get blatantly caught raping, pillaging, torturing, etc.," writes a gnostic. "We occasionally give the Coulters of the world a quick drive-by 'fuck you' but this Brooks response is just nuts."

"But we let Brooks get under our skin because he targeted us," A gnostic adds. "Don't give him free adversiting?!?"

Booman at Booman Tribune wrote that "comparing the netroots to fascists" constitutes "fighting words."

"Last I heard, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead," wrote Booman. "He hasn't been reincarnated in the body of Markos Moulitsas Zuniga."

"And David Brooks might note that the Spanish Civil war featured Republicans (those people that believed in a Republic versus a dictatorship) and fascists," Booman added. "The Republicans "ranged from centrists who supported capitalist liberal democracy to communists or anarchist revolutionaries; their power base was primarily secular and urban (though it also included landless peasants) and was particularly strong in industrial regions". Which American Party does that description more closely describe?"