Wednesday, January 13, 2016

David Brooks on Ted Cruz and the Haley Case Is Either "deliberately deceptive or recklessly ignorant"

David Brooks - December 2015
James Taranto in the Wall Street Journal dismantles David Brooks' vicious criticism of Senator Ted Cruz in a recent column.

David Brooks takes some below the belt swings at Senator Ted Cruz in the column calling Cruz the purveyor of "pagan brutalism" because "[t]here is not a hint of compassion, gentleness and mercy."

Brooks' Exhibit A is a legal case Cruz prosecuted against Michael Wayne Haley which made its way to the Supreme Court. Brooks quotes Justice Anthony Kennedy: “Is there some rule that you can’t confess error in your state?” But, Brooks uses his own "pagan brutalism" in leaving out important evidence that vindicates Cruz who prevailed in the decision of the nation's highest court. Taranto:
The vote was 6-3, with Kennedy among the dissenters. The majority opinion was written by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and joined by, among others, Clinton appointees Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.
Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Thomas, Souter,
Kennedy, O'Connor, Scalia, Stevens in 2005
If arguing against Haley’s legal position “reveals something interesting about Cruz’s character,” what does deciding against it reveal about the character of O’Connor, Ginsburg, Breyer and the others in the majority? 
Oh. Brooks conveniently leaves out that Ginsburg, Breyer and O'Connor have rarely been accused of "pagan brutalism" for their judicial opinions--except by David Brooks' own implication (not directly expressed because even New York Times readers would find it ludicrous).

Taranto says Brooks uses the Haley case, which does not deal with Haley's guilt or innocence but procedural matters, in a manner either "deliberately deceptive or recklessly ignorant". Brooks implies that Haley is innocent and was railroaded. But, the case hangs on a technicality. And the Supreme Court found that Haley would not be incarcerated while he pleaded his case on the technicality.
And because petitioner has assured us that it will not seek to reincarcerate respondent during the pendency of his ineffective assistance claim, Tr. of Oral Arg., at 52 ("[T]he state is willing to allow the ineffective assistance claim to be litigated before proceeding to reincarcerate [respondent]"), the negative consequences for respondent of our judgment to vacate and remand in this case are minimal.
Senator Ted Cruz 2016
Taranto ends his column with a notation that Brooks' use of this case does not bring into issue Ted Cruz's character.  It actually calls into question David Brooks' character.
Brooks means to denounce Cruz, not to vindicate Haley. Criticizing politicians, even denouncing them, is part of the job of an opinion columnist. But Brooks’s treatment of this case is either deliberately deceptive or recklessly ignorant. It may raise questions of character, but not Ted Cruz’s.
What a fall. Brooks goes from deciding if a candidate is presidential material by the crease of his pants to misrepresentation of a Supreme Court case and decision. Brooks was far superior morally as a fool than he is as false witness.

Update: Here's a more kindly view of David Brooks, who is trying to the kind of person people will feel comfortable confiding in--except Ted Cruz and the millions of Americans who want Cruz to be president.


MAX Redline said...

Brooks has never been as bright as he thinks he is. He's demonstrated that repeatedly, and going after Cruz regarding a case that Cruz won is simply the latest iteration.

T. D. said...

Beyond his deceit with the facts, what amazes me is the intemperance of Brooks' rhetoric. He's supposed to be this good-natured intellectual who admires measured, careful phrasing and supposedly supports charity and compassion--except as regards conservatives like Ted Cruz who are "brutal" because they don't support Brooks' view of the world. I find Brooks appalling and all the more because he presents himself as a kind, thoughtful person.