The Corner

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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