Sunday, November 11, 2012

A quantum of umbrage: David Brooks and his all-hat-no-cattle American creed

This morning, the biggiest foof on the NYTimes editorial page (in an article titled “The Party of Work,” but we haven't time to savor the irony of that right now) gives us his Hall-of-the-Presidents tour of “the American creed,” including such virtues as “liberty, individualism, equal opportunity, populism and laissez-faire.” Beginning with the Pilgrims and continuing through the frontier days, Brooks eventually arrives here:
Starting in the mid-20th century, there was a Southern and Western version of it, formed by ranching Republicans like Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
Oh, for Pete's sake, Mr. Brooks:

Barry Goldwater's wealth came from his family-owned department store in Phoenix. Google the keywords “barry goldwater ranch” and you get listings for half-million dollar ranch homes in Scottsdale.

Ronald Reagan acquired “ranch” property in the Santa Monica mountains to accessorize his cowboy manqué, not to be a working ranch steeped in the American creed. And anyway, he sold it in 1966 to pay off campaign debts. (Want to see it? Watch the opening credits of “M*A*S*H.”)

George W. Bush bought a ranch in Crawford TX when he ran for president, and put it up for sale almost immediately after his second term ended. Like Reagan's “ranch,” it was a place for photo ops, something to mark and strike once the show closes.

That quote was actually only the sixth sentence of the article, but I'm afraid I quit reading after that.

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