You Can Take Entire Paragraphs David Brooks Wrote and Easily Prove Them Wrong: May 24 2011

Simple Google searches would greatly improve Mr. Brooks’ columns.

“The United Kingdom seems to be in the middle of that sort of constructive quarrel now. Usually when I travel from Washington to Britain I move from less gloom to more gloom. But this time the mood is reversed. The British political system is basically functional while the American system is not.”

Really? Because support amount the populace for the coalition government is at an all-time low. Only 28% expect the coalition (between Liberal Dems and Conservatives) to last a full-term. Such optimism these British people have!

Britain is also blessed with a functioning political culture. It is dominated by people who live in London and who have often known each other since prep school. This makes it gossipy and often incestuous.

Uh, DC also dominates the political culture, so dominating in fact, that most aspiring national politicians runs against it. Like in London, lots of people also live here… Is he inferring that a functioning political culture is indicated by long-term business relationships that are gossipy and incestuous? This is an impressively stupid written sentence. It’s not even off the cuff!

In DC, there are entire newspapers entirely devoted to the political gossip mid-level politicos feed to reporters (Politico, The Hill, countless small consultancy e-newsletters, etc), and websites such as, which became famous for outting a Hill staffer who whored herself out to male DC VIPs.

By these standards, have no fear America, our political class functions at least as well as Britain’s.

British leaders and pundits know their counterparts better. They are less likely to get away with distortions and factual howlers. They are less likely to believe the other party is homogenously evil. They are more likely to learn from a wide range of people. When they do hate, their hatreds are more likely to be personal and less likely to take on the tenor of a holy war.

Cue the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable on May 7th, just 17 days ago: “Some of us never had many illusions about the Conservatives, but they have emerged as ruthless, calculating and thoroughly tribal.” I guess this Liberal Dem Cabinet secretary knows each Conservative so well, that he can make negative generalizations.

It could be Mr. Brooks is misunderstanding verbose British putdowns for the more crude American ones, and not that they’re any less hyperbolic. Maybe there is a comparative relationship, but did he cite evidence? Put in one hyperlink? No. Google makes it so easy to break up his entire op-ed so quickly, it’s almost unnecessary to do it.


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