Friday, February 15, 2008


I see that David Brooks, the "nice" conservative, is quoting Mitt Romney approvingly in today's New York Times:

In the 19th century, ... American leaders expanded education and created the highest quality work force on the planet.

That quality work force was the single biggest reason the U.S. emerged as the economic superpower of the 20th century. Generation after generation, American workers were better educated, more industrious and more innovative than the ones that came before.

That progress stopped about 30 years ago. The percentage of young Americans completing college has been stagnant for a generation. As well-educated boomers retire over the next decades, the quality of the American work force is likely to decline. Mitt Romney captured the consequences in his withdrawal statement: "I am convinced that unless America changes course, we will become the France of the 21st century -- still a great nation, but no longer the leader of the world." ...

Now, nice-conservative Mr. Brooks has many nice-conservative proposals for turning this situation around -- health-insurance portability, national service for young people, and so on. He even wants more preschool and a bigger Earned Income Tax Credit.

So, er, why did he quote Mitt Romney, whose gloss on the foreseen decline is, shall we say, a tad darker?

Let's go to the Romney speech Brooks quoted:

"The threat to our culture comes from within. The 1960's welfare programs created a culture of poverty. Some think we won that battle when we reformed welfare, but the liberals haven't given up. At every turn, they try to substitute government largesse for individual responsibility. They fight to strip work requirements from welfare, to put more people on Medicaid, and to remove more and more people from having to pay any income tax whatsoever. Dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity. Dependency is a culture-killing drug. We have got to fight it like the poison it is.

"The attack on faith and religion is no less relentless. And tolerance for pornography -- even celebration of it -- and sexual promiscuity, combined with the twisted incentives of government welfare programs have led to today's grim realities: 68% of African American children are born out-of-wedlock, 45% of Hispanic children, and 25% of White children. How much harder it is for these children to succeed in school and in life. A nation built on the principles of the Founding Fathers cannot long stand when its children are raised without fathers in the home.

"The development of a child is enhanced by having a mother and father. Such a family is the ideal for the future of the child and for the strength of a nation. I wonder how it is that unelected judges, like some in my state of Massachusetts, are so unaware of this reality, so oblivious to the millennia of recorded history. It is time for the people of America to fortify marriage through Constitutional amendment, so that liberal judges cannot continue to attack it.

"Europe is facing a demographic disaster. That is the inevitable product of weakened faith in the Creator, failed families, disrespect for the sanctity of human life and eroded morality. Some reason that culture is merely an accessory to America's vitality; we know that it is the source of our strength. And we are not dissuaded by the snickers and knowing glances when we stand up for family values, and morality, and culture. We will always be honored to stand on principle and to stand for principle....

Forget the Earned Income Tax Credit, says Mitt -- just get rid of porn, Medicaid, gay marriage, and a tolerance for atheism and everything will be copacetic.

Gee, not so nice, hunh? (Although it sounds like a pale echo of the original German.) Do you suppose that pleasant Mr. Brooks ever wonders why none of his conservative friends is as genial as he is?

No comments: