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Posted at 9:17 AM ET, 12/ 3/2010

David Brooks vs. Paul Ryan, round 2

By Jennifer Rubin

Yesterday I shared some of the debate between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and David Brooks at the American Enterprise Institute, observing that Brooks's original characterization of Ryan as an anti-government conservative was inaccurate (a point proven correct in the AEI exchange). Today, Brooks again is misrepresenting the terms of the debate. He writes in his New York Times column:

On Thursday, I debated Paul Ryan at the American Enterprise Institute on the proper role of government. Ryan is the incoming House Budget Committee chairman and one of the most intellectually formidable members of Congress. I really admire many of the plans he has put forward to bring down debt and reduce health care costs.

But Ryan and I differed over President Obama and the prospects for compromise in the near term. Ryan believes that the country faces a clearly demarcated choice. The Democratic Party, he argues, believes in creating a European-style cradle-to-grave social welfare state, while the Republicans believe in a free-market opportunity society. There is no overlap between the two visions and very little reason to think they can be reconciled.

It is that last sentence that is inaccurate -- and Ryan has plainly rejected it. Yes, he says there is a clear choice between the Republicans' opportunity society and the Democrats' cradle-to-grave welfare state, but he emphasized that there is room for a deal, as embodied by his own entitlement-reform plan crafted with Democrat Alice Rivlin, the former Federal Reserve vice chairman. During yesterday's debate, Ryan touted the "centrist coalition" that is forming, concluding that "the progressive left will be separated" from the center-right coalition.

I'm not sure why Brooks fails to accurately relate the debate to his readers. Thankfully, the video is now available, so readers can judge for themselves.

(You can also watch the after-debate roundtable with my Post colleague Ezra Klein, Peter Sudermann of Reason magazine and me.)

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 3, 2010; 9:17 AM ET
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Ryan voted for No Child Left Behind, the Prescription Drug Benefit, and TARP. What kind of a limited government guy is that?

Posted by: Inagua1 | December 3, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure why Brooks fails to accurately relate the debate to his readers.

No, you are certain. It is the same reason you do not accurately relate the debate, the desire to highlight that which helps make whatever point you are trying to make.

Again, Rubin, you insult the intelligence of your readers. Why do you think that is acceptable?

Posted by: veritasinmedium | December 3, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer, why aren't you paying attention to the market this morning? A bad jobs report has guaranteed that all the tax cuts will be extended. Also, it all but guarantees the full 600 billion in QE2, and begins talk about a possilbe QE3 even.

Good news if you're an investor, bad news if you're une employed. Sorry making an effort to have some balance.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 3, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

If only more members of Congress had voted against No Child Left Behind and the bad-sausage of Medicare Rx Benefit created by Tom DeLay, still unreformed and made worse by Pelosi's House.

as to TARP? Yes, the need was there, but the first version to give any SecTreas a blank check to buy toxic assets was a bad idea. All the more reason why ANY WH needs to work with Congress.

As a registered, increasingly disillusioned, Democrat, I look forward to the "centrist coalition" that is forming, concluding that "the progressive left will be separated" from the center-right coalition.

Perhaps funds can be appropriated to send the "progressive-left" on a two-year study program in Finland, where they learn math, experience a functioning center-right EU country, and are prevented from voting on the Federal budget.

Posted by: K2K2 | December 3, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Will have lots to say on the jobs! The timing and order of posts don't reflect the importance of the day's news.

Posted by: Jennifer Rubin | December 3, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

in a debate certain assumptions must be agreed upon to make that debate meaningful. in this debate two assumptions were needed. one that spending not revenue is the problem in washington. i think that mr. Ryan and Mr. brooks would have come close to agreeing on that. two what Pres. Obamas actual political philosophy is. on this I know they do not agree. Mr. Brooks thinks that Obama is just an American liberal and he has supported him for whatever reason since the start of the presidential campaign. Not recognizing Obamas leftist leanings makes Brooks compromise issue not reliable or feasible. When the ultimate goal of one party is opposite the goal of another party true compromise is not possible.

Posted by: eddiehaskall | December 3, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse


TARP was unnecessary. The government should have guaranteed all bank deposits and securities in custody of brokers and then let the financial institutions reorganize under bankruptcy. Reorganization worked for the airlines and Texaco (and GM.) Why not banks and insurance companies? Why should public money have been used to bail out creditors and stockholders of Goldman Sachs?

Finally, the argument for TARP was, "If we don't do this the stock market will crash." Well, the Dow went from roughly 8500 to 6500 in the six months after passage. Or do you want to be like Obama and claim the counterfactual and unproveable, "It would've been worse?"

Posted by: Inagua1 | December 3, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Glad Pete Sudermann married an old woman whose parents have money. Otherwise, with his Lame Game, Sudermann would be working street corners in Podunk.

Is Sudermann always that pathetic or was that just an unusually incompetent day for the boy?

Posted by: MarkinJC | December 3, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Funny, but Jenny Poo did NOT give readers of The Washington Post the full, complete, and accurate story about Mr. Brooks's comments regarding Mr. Ryan.

Here's a very interesting, direct quote from Mr. Brooks at AEI regarding Mr. Ryan and Conservatives now in federal office that Jenny Poo failed to provide to readers of The Washington Post:

Per David Brooks:

"And my problem with the Republican Party right now, including Paul, is that if you offered them 80-20, they say no. If you offered them 90-10, they'd say no. If you offered them 99-1 they'd say no. And that's because we've substituted governance for brokerism, for rigidity that Ronald Regan didn't have.

"And to me, this rigidity comes from this polarizing world view that they're a bunch of socialists over there. You know, again, I've spent a lot of time with the president. I've spent a lot of time with the people around him. They're liberals! ... But they're not idiots. And they're not Europeans, and they don't want to be a European welfare state. ... It's American liberalism, and it's not inflexible."

VERY INTERESTING. Wonder why Jenny Poo declined to provide this quote to readers of The Washington Post? Sick Willie Kristol just gets the facts wrong. Charlie The Kraut flip-flops like an Olympic gymnast. Georgie Boy Will makes it up as he goes along.

Jenny Poo, it seems, simply omits those facts that fail to conform to her polemic.

Posted by: MarkinJC | December 3, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

It would not be proper for David Brooks, an NYT employee, to admit that a Republican was open to compromise. That just does not fit the narrative that has been established by his employer and his comrades. David knows who pays him.

Posted by: d1carter | December 3, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

MarkinJC-POO apparently thinks it's Jennifer Rubin's job to print everything David Brooks babbles on about.

Even Sisyphus would labor under that tedious rock. Maybe that's why she declined to print that specific example of Brooks erroneous and misguided babbling

Oh, and "Marty Poo," what's with the excrement obsession?

Too much Winnie at potty time?

Posted by: espresso | December 3, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I watched the debate online and I'll make a point of checking out the round table. One of the points I wish that Paul Ryan had made in rebuttal to David Brooks was that most government spending these days isn't for things like the internal improvements he cited from previous eras but rather for transfer payments to individuals.

Brooks cited canals, railroads, roads, schools, etc in his argument for an activist government but he doesn't address the fact that those things are being crowded out by pensions and other transfer payments. See Chris Christie in NJ and the tunnel project being canceled.

Posted by: jnc4p | December 3, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: K2K2 Perhaps funds can be appropriated to send the "progressive-left" on a two-year study program in Finland.

They deserve to be sent to Venezuela, Cuba and Zimbabwe. In that order.

Not to learn anything. That's impossible. Just to get them the hell outta here.

Posted by: espresso | December 3, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse


Nah, Jenny Poo's only job is to blog about the list of items given to her each morning and update three times a day by Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas, Likud, AIPAC, Heritage, and AEI. These six organizations provide ample offshore compensation to Jenny Poo and, in turn, she types only about what they dictate and in accordance with their strict, Settlers-first standards.

Posted by: MarkinJC | December 3, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Funny how it always comes back to the Jews for people on the far left.

Posted by: PaddyWagon | December 4, 2010 3:06 AM | Report abuse

Les extremes se touchent, I suppose.

Posted by: PaddyWagon | December 4, 2010 3:07 AM | Report abuse

Funny how it always comes back to the Jews for people on the far left.

Posted by: PaddyWagon | December 4, 2010 3:06 AM


Honey, it's Neoconservatives. Not Jews.

Or is everyone at Heritage and AIPAC Jewish?

And is every Neoconservative a Jew?

One can be Jewish and NOT be Neoconservative. Yitzhak Rabin comes to mind. Of course, we know what Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas, Likud, and AIPAC did to him. Gideon Levy is Jewish. Surely you do not consider him Neoconservative. Same for Dianne Feinstein, Herb Kohl, Anthony Weiner, and the late-Tony Judt. All Jewish. Not a Neocon in the quartet.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of Neocons that are not Jewish. Richard Milhous Cheney, his attack dog David Addington, and ex-CIA boss and current think tank hack Jim Woolsey are all Neocons. None of the three is Jewish.

In the future, Paddy, would it be too much to ask for you to be a wee bit accurate with your declarations? Try facts, Paddy. Ditch the Jeff Goldberg manner of debate. Scrap the John P. Normanson shtick. Really it won't hurt but a bit.

Posted by: MarkinJC | December 4, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

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