On the PBS NewsHour, New York Times columnist David Brooks is somehow expected to be identified as the conservative (or at least center-right) pundit, and he keeps sounding like a leftist instead. On Friday, he came out for reparations because "we're in a make-or-break moment on race" due to "the election of Trump."
DAVID BROOKS: On reparations, I support them, but not for the reasons Joe Biden says. It's not an act of guilt. It's not an act of, we did something wrong. It's a show of respect. It's a show of respect for the injustices that minorities, members of the African-American community have suffered in our society for hundreds of years, not just slavery, but red-lining and all the way up to the president.
So we show respect, and we do it as an act of regard and as an act of resetting. And I have just come to the conclusion. I changed my mind about it, because the practicalities of doing it are really hard. But I changed my mind about it because it just feels like we're in a make-or-break moment on race. The election of Trump, the atmosphere this has created has created a movement where aggressive gestures have to be taken to show that we're all part of the same country.
Elsewhere in the show, PBS produced an eight-minute segment on the Democrats discussing reparations -- "40 acres and a Tesla" -- and included an old 1975 quote from Joe Biden that expressed the classic opposing view on reparations: Why should today's Americans pay for a 300-year-old injustice?
Brooks was so far to the left that the Democratic columnist Mark Shields shot the idea down as impractical and a "nonstarter" and not a real issue for most voters.
AMNA NAWAZ: Mark, what about you? Do you think the candidates should have a stance on this, a ready answer if they're asked?
MARK SHIELDS: They can have a stance if they want it. I think it's a nonstarter as an issue in 2020, Amna....And you have a choice in politics. You can look forward or you can look backward. And I think, in 2020, this is not an issue that comes up voluntarily on the part of voters. I think David raises the question. It is next to impossible to do it.
I mean, the African-American girl who graduated from Sidwell whose father is a dentist and whose mother's a lawyer is not in the same position as somebody who is a direct lineal descendant at discrimination and servitude.
It is — what works in this country is when we include everybody in a program. And there's no question that African-Americans have suffered economically, socially and politically. But it ought to be a policy that's directed to lifting up all those who lag behind, who have been, through no fault of their own, left behind and hurt.
And I think that, in spending more money, it means an investment in city schools. There's no reason, as John McCain said, that a bad congressman should earn more than a good schoolteacher. And I think that's a good place to start.