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January 7th, 2007

The Casual Deceit Of The Right Wing Pundocracy…

Brad DeLong catches David Brooks in typical form

David Brooks says Nanci Pelosi is some kind of hereditary plutocrat, like George W. Bush:

A snit in first class – Opinion – International Herald Tribune: I have a dream that [Nancy] Pelosi, who was chauffeured to school as a child…. I dream of a great harmonic convergence among the obscenely rich…. [But] I know that both Bush and Pelosi are part of an upper-income whirlwind of strife….

This week, witness Pelosi going on her all-about-me inauguration tour, which is designed to rebrand her as a regular Catholic grandma from Baltimore. Members of the middle classes never have to mount campaign swings to prove how regular they are, but these upper-bracket types can’t help themselves, and they always lay it on too thick…

Here is a photo of Nancy Pelosi’s childhood home in Baltimore:

Nancy Pelosi grew up at the far end of this block of Albemarle Street in Baltimore. San Francisco Chronicle photo by Michael Macor.

Here’s a photo of the Bushes’ summer house on Walker Point:

Daughters of ethnic Democratic mayors in the 1950s did get driven to school. But hereditary plutocrats they were not.

I live not far from where Pelosi grew up and I can attest to the fact that this is not a neighborhood full of "obscenely rich" people.  It is Baltimore’s little Italy…thoroughly Baltimore working class.  People live in the usual Baltimore row houses there, and yes, some of those row houses are very nice, but there are nothing near the palatial splendor you see in the Walker Point photo.  Pelosi got driven to school because she was the mayor’s daughter, not because their family was filthy rich like the Bush clan. 

But Brooks, without a doubt, knows this.  What he’s counting on is that you don’t.  He can just say…oh…she was chauffeured to school as a child, just like the silver spoon brat in the White House now.  My next door neighbors drive their boy to the Friend’s School here in Baltimore every day and they live in the same working class Baltimore rowhouse neighborhood I do.  Maybe Brooks thinks that gives them the same childhood George Bush had too.  Maybe Brooks thinks that makes us all Obscenely Rich here in Medfield.  On the other hand, maybe Brooks is just pulling the same kind of fast one that the book that made him famous, Bobos In Paradise is full of.

As I made my journey, it became increasingly hard to believe that Brooks ever left his home. “On my journeys to Franklin County, I set a goal: I was going to spend $20 on a restaurant meal. But although I ordered the most expensive thing on the menu—steak au jus, ‘slippery beef pot pie,’ or whatever—I always failed. I began asking people to direct me to the most expensive places in town. They would send me to Red Lobster or Applebee’s,” he wrote. “I’d scan the menu and realize that I’d been beaten once again. I went through great vats of chipped beef and ‘seafood delight’ trying to drop $20. I waded through enough surf-and-turfs and enough creamed corn to last a lifetime. I could not do it.”

Taking Brooks’s cue, I lunched at the Chambersburg Red Lobster and quickly realized that he could not have waded through much surf-and-turf at all. The “Steak and Lobster” combination with grilled center-cut New York strip is the most expensive thing on the menu. It costs $28.75. “Most of our checks are over $20,” said Becka, my waitress. “There are a lot of ways to spend over $20.”

The easiest way to spend more than $20 on a meal in Franklin County is to visit the Mercersburg Inn, which boasts “turn-of-the-century elegance.” I had a $50 prix-fixe dinner, with an entrée of veal medallions, served with a lump-crab and artichoke tower, wild-rice pilaf and a sage-caper-cream sauce. Afterward, I asked the inn’s proprietors, Walt and Sandy Filkowski, if they had seen Brooks’s article. They laughed.

I called Brooks to see if I was misreading his work. I told him about my trip to Franklin County, and the ease with which I was able to spend $20 on a meal. He laughed. “I didn’t see it when I was there, but it’s true, you can get a nice meal at the Mercersburg Inn,” he said. I said it was just as easy at Red Lobster. “That was partially to make a point that if Red Lobster is your upper end?” he replied, his voice trailing away. “That was partially tongue-in-cheek, but I did have several mini-dinners there, and I never topped $20.”

Let’s be civil here: David Brooks is a goddamned liar. He does it for money.  Perhaps he believes in the republican party cause.  Perhaps he has his own emotional stake in the American Kultar Kampf.  But the first thing to remember about him, is that he lies for money.  Really…that’s all you need to know about him.

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