Today we’ll continue the Brooks theme in celebration of our renewed free access to the opinion pages of the New York Times (I’m still asking myself why I was supposed to pay for this). Yesterday he wrote:
>Say what you will about President Bush, when he thinks a policy is right, like the surge, he supports it, even if it’s going to be unpopular. The Democratic leaders, accustomed to the irresponsibility of opposition, show no such guts.
This remark is confused on many levels. In the first place, Bush has obtusely adhered to failed policies, and, more damningly, neglected to question whether those policies were justified in the first place. Sometimes supporting something unpopular is just plain dumb. It’s moronic to suggest that such obtuseness constitutes courage. Besides, to do so is to commit a variant of the ad populum fallacy in that you take the lack of popular support for your position as a measure in favor of your position.
At a more basic level, however, this is a variation of the “manliness” meme so thoroughly discussed by Glenn Greenwald. Brooks has remarked on this before with Bush–even claiming that John Kerry, a man who actually voluntarily served his country in combat, was a “fraud with a manly bearing.” He wrote:
>The coming weeks will be so tough because the essential contest – of which the Swift boat stuff was only a start – will be over who really has courage, who really has resolve, and who is just a fraud with a manly bearing.
Never mind, of course, the courage to say that you blew it big time.