Maybe by this point in the night, you’ve read, as I have, a dozen posts about the irresistible loins of New York Times Opinionista David Brooks. If not, you can look at the video in this post. Basically, when asked by MSNBC’s Nora O’Donnell “what’s happened” to cause the “loss of dignity” in DC, Brooks recounts an evening spent with a Republican Congressman’s hand on his inner thigh—says Brooks, “it was there the whole time.”

The hand.

On his thigh.

Anyway, Brooks won’t name the guy—presumably a US Representative, assuredly male, and assuredly a Republican—and Nora and John Harwood don’t try very hard to figure it out. Instead, Brooks goes on—amidst a gaggle of giggles—to discuss the overall depravity and general lack of social skills emblematic of, well, if we are to take Brooks at his word, every male in Congress.

Now, I have very little doubt that there are a number of untoward, unpleasant, and possibly even illegal “relationships” beyond the Ensigns, Vitters, Craigs, Sanfords, et al., that fester inside the swamp—and I have little doubt that many a less powerful staffer or page has suffered in silence—but do you see what Brooks has done here?

Right now, at this moment, there are a few very big Republican sex scandals—scandals that involve not only hypocritical and less-than-upstanding personal behavior, but real dereliction of duty and abuse of office—and Brooks has turned them into something less important by rendering his own story (dalliance?) as synecdoche. David Brooks’ little part is supposed to stand for the Congressional whole. . . and so, what’s a press corps to do but laugh?

And isn’t that easiest for everyone? Easy for those who do abuse power, who are spared the isolation we usually accord criminals. Easy for the establishment Washington media, who get to laugh on air, and then laugh again later over skewered cocktail weenies with the weenies they earlier ever-so-gently skewered. And easy for you and me—for the American electorate—because, really, if they are all so creepy and corrupt, what’s the point of singling out and punishing a few? There are no “good” politicians, so why get hopped up about the bad ones? (Hell, why even vote?)

Except, you see, that is too easy.

Sure, there are probably bad ones, maybe many of them—like that Republican who measured David’s inseam, perhaps while using his day job to deny basic civil rights to LGBT Americans, in congress with his GOP brethren.

But there are good ones, too—like the nine Democrats that have now vowed to oppose any health care bill that does not include a robust public option. Yes, it’s a little more complicated—like life, there are some good ones, and some bad ones, and some ones that are good sometimes and bad others—and it takes just a little bit of your attention to figure out the difference.

But Brooks. . . and his pals. . . and his pants. . . would rather you didn’t pay that kind of attention or take that kind of time. You have better things to do.

Like maybe struggle to pay your medical bills—or maybe just laugh at that “home run” of a comeback that Brooks had for O’Donnell’s self-admitted softball. Forget your troubles, c’mon, get cynical.

Gregg Levine

Gregg Levine

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