The Corner

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Re: The Brooks Column


That Brooks column is really outstanding
and important, and in a way that seems particularly true to me sitting here
in Dallas. Dallas has a reputation for being a conservative city, and it
generally is — but the establishment here is far more Republican, in the
sense Brooks means, than it is conservative. That is, to use Brooks
terminology, the Dallas Establishment Republican way is based on the idea
that there’s no bad thing that can’t be taken care of if people of good will
will come together and commit to dealing with that bad thing. The
well-respected Dallas journalist Jim Schutze, who writes for the alt weekly,
published a book some years back called “The Accomodation,” in which he
detailed how the business establishment here, which ran Dallas politics, got
together back in the day with the black leadership, and reached an agreement
to avoid racial unrest in the city, and to smoothly integrate black Dallas
into the political establishment. Today, Dallas is having a real tough time
dealing with its political, economic and civic problems, and a big reason
for this is the attitude that led to the Accomodation. The idea is that you
don’t talk about controversial issues, because it’ll just bring
divisiveness, and we absolutely cannot have divisiveness.

Brooks writes, “You know you are in establishment Republican circles when
the conversation is bland but unifying. You know you are in conservative
circles when it is interesting but divisive.” Exactly. From where I sit,
dutiful and undivisive Harriet “You’re the Best Governor Ever” Miers is the
embodiment of Establishment Republican Dallas. This is why Dallas proper, as
Republican as it is, is surprisingly liberal on social issues that make the
more conservative suburbs blanch: because maintaining social harmony is a
more important value than sticking by principles.


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