Ragged Clown

It's just a shadow you're seeing that he's chasing…


Dear Mr Brooks,

I don’t get to read David Brooks any more since TimesSelect made him premium content. I have to content myself with reading the letters to Mr Brooks. Like this one.

In “The Era of What’s Next” (column, Oct. 26), David Brooks posits that between 1980 and 2006, a conservative ideology held sway. This characterization of the chronology strikes me as unhistorical.

Does he really not see that instantly upon his inauguration in 2001 President Bush broke with longstanding foreign and domestic policies that had been supported by both parties, substituting a chaotic recklessness in every respect, a subversion of the Constitution, finally provoking with his ill-planned and maladministered actions in Iraq a universal disillusionment with America’s place in the world?

In the last six years, America has been led not by conservatives but by radical right-wingers, empowered by an astounding plutocratic machine, infused by a neoconservative ideology that believes in projecting American power — even in defiance of American interests and capacities.

Since 2001, genuine conservatives have seen the G.O.P. desert its basic principles; actually, the country is now in desperate need of leaders who truly represent the rectitude and realism associated with traditional conservatism.

Fritz Stern
New York, Oct. 27, 2006
The writer is university professor emeritus at Columbia University.