Brooks: Tea Party, HFC Has Made GOP ‘Anti-Conservative,’ Lacks of Belief In Democracy, Has ‘Mental Problem’

New York Times columnist David Brooks blasted the Tea Party and the House Freedom Caucus for a lack of belief in democracy, making people be “anti-conservative” to get elected, and having a “mental problem” on Friday’s “PBS NewsHour.”

Brooks said of Congressional Republicans, “It’s not that they don’t believe in the Democratic president. They don’t believe in the democratic process. There’s a way you do elections. You have an argument. You have candidates. You evaluate the candidates. You have a vote, and the majority wins, and the minority says, ‘Well, we didn’t get the majority, but, OK, we’ll go along because we believe in the greater good.’ Well, there are 40 people who don’t believe in that. [Rep.] Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) would have had the majority. And they said, no, we don’t care. We’re still going to — we’re not giving up. We’re just going to roadblock. And there’s been a set of institutional practices that have been built up within that institution, and they’re just not playing by those rules. And so, as has been true of the Tea Party for a long time, they’re really good at destruction, they’re not so good at construction. And this is — to me, it’s deep. This has been a party, and particularly our entire political system, that has lost the art of deliberative argument and then coming to…conclusions. And to get elected, especially as a Republican, you have got to be anti-conservative, you’ve got to be radical, you’ve got to be revolutionary, you’ve got to be an outsider, your language has to be totally radical.” Brooks added that the problem is a “mental problem.”

He also argued attacking the establishment has “become a cheap applause line. But I have a sort of counterintuitive view. If you look at the polls, and you ask do you want there to be a government shutdown? Vast majorities of Republicans do not want a government shutdown. They do not want chaos on Capitol Hill. And so they’re sitting out there, a silent majority, sitting out there, taking a look at this, and think, this is my party? Oh, my goodness. And I happen to feel that, come winter, there is going to be a little reaction against all this, as there was against [Sen.] Ted Cruz (R-TX) the last time he and his ilk did the government shutdown, and there will be a swing toward the more normal candidates. … When he did a government shutdown last time, the party, the establishment wing of the party was strengthened. And I think this mayhem, with Ted Cruz involved, by the way, is going to, in the end of the day, strengthen the Rubios, the Bushes, the Kasichs, that kind of person.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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