Friday, February 16, 2007

Greg Sargent: David Brooks And The Doctrine Of Pundit Infallibility

David Brooks' column in the New York Times today perfectly illustrates what can usefully be called the Doctrine of Pundit Infallibility -- or DOPI for short. Brooks writes:

Far be it from me to get in the middle of a liberal purge, but would anybody mind if I pointed out that the calls for Hillary Clinton to apologize for her support of the Iraq war are almost entirely bogus?...

Today, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party believes that the world, and Hillary Clinton in particular, owes it an apology. If she apologizes, she’ll forfeit her integrity. She will be apologizing for being herself.

Putting aside Brooks' argument about Hillary, this one sentence is worth dwelling on, because it perfectly captures our new DOPI -- pronounced "DOPEY." It shows that a pundit like Brooks, who did plenty of relentless cheerleading for the Iraq conflict, can freely operate in the full knowledge that he'll face no ridicule or derision whatsoever from valued colleagues for very visibly heaping scorn on the people who, unlike him, were right about the war.

Also amusing is the fact that Brooks says liberal Dems want the "world" to apologize to them. Actually, they want people like Brooks himself to own up in a serious way to getting it wrong. When Brooks writes a column about Hillary with this headline:'s hard to escape the conclusion that he's really talking about himself.

It's also instructive to take note of the way Brooks essentially mischaracterizes what war opponents now want. I'd say they don't want an "apology" so much as they want war supporters to acknowledge their mistake, partly so that, you know, this sort of thing doesn't happen again. Is that so tough to grasp?

Finally, note Brooks' assertion that liberal Dems want the world to apologize to them. Actually, I'd say that most opponents of the invasion want war backers to acknowledge their mistake to the relatives and friends of these people:

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