On Monday, two pseudo-conservative PBS NewsHour analysts came together as one in the nation's top liberal newspapers to declare that both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are the ruin of the Republican Party and must be squashed. Since New York Times columnist David Brooks insisted on PBS it was time for a “conspiracy” to stop these guys, it seems like Brooks got his PBS Mini-Me, Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, on board.
“Rarely has a party so passively accepted its own self-destruction,” warned Brooks in the Times. “Sure, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are now riding high in some meaningless head-to-head polls against Hillary Clinton, but the odds are the nomination of either would lead to a party-decimating general election.”
But then, David Brooks didn’t exactly get his “pragmatic” hero John McCain elected. Certainly, Gerson can’t claim that the second term of his employer President Bush led to Republican dominance in 2006 and 2008. In reality, they don’t really care about winning or losing. They care about stopping these two men.
Brooks wrote it in black and white in the Times:
The idea that the G.O.P. can march into the 21st century intentionally alienating every person of color is borderline insane.
Worse is the prospect that one of them might somehow win. Very few presidents are so terrible that they genuinely endanger their own nation, but Trump and Cruz would go there and beyond. Trump is a solipsistic branding genius whose “policies” have no contact with Planet Earth and who would be incapable of organizing a coalition, domestic or foreign.
Cruz would be as universally off-putting as he has been in all his workplaces. He’s always been good at tearing things down but incompetent when it comes to putting things together.
Trump and Cruz endanger America? As opposed to Barack Obama, who Brooks so egregiously admired when he was elected. This is the same PBS pest who proclaimed Sarah Palin a "fatal cancer" on the GOP in 2008, as his own "pragmatic" 2000 hero John McCain was the nominee. But Brooks couldn't stop talking about the thrill up his leg for Obama. Literally. He declared himself as feeling like Chris Matthews.
For his part, Michael Gerson attacked Trump’s talk of mass deportation of illegal aliens -- "the forced expulsion of 11 million people" -- and his vaguely formed proposal for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration as “extreme and obscene and immoral.” Then he then turned on Cruz as an ersatz conservative and an ersatz Christian:
Ted Cruz is particularly ill-equipped to play this role. He is actually more of a demagogue than an ideologue. So he has changed his views on immigration to compete with Trump -- and raised the ante by promising that none of the deported 11 million will ever be allowed back in the country. Instead of demonstrating the humane instincts of his Christian faith -- a faith that motivated abolition and the struggle for civil rights -- Cruz is presenting the crueler version of a pipe dream.
For Republicans, the only good outcome of Trump vs. Cruz is for both to lose. The future of the party as the carrier of a humane, inclusive conservatism now depends on some viable choice beyond them.
Despite the utter lack of a centrist "pragmatic" majority in the GOP, Brooks concluded "There’s a silent majority of hopeful, practical, programmatic Republicans. You know who you are. Please don’t go quietly and pathetically into the night." You know, the way Brooks did in 2008.