A sign of just how far the American right has drifted

David Brooks, the eminent New York Times columnist and leading conservative intellectual, dreams up a hypothetical Mitt Romney debate monologue:

The second wicked problem the next president will face is sluggish growth. I assume you know that everything President Obama and I have been saying on this subject has been total garbage. Presidents and governors don’t “create jobs.” We don’t have the ability to “grow the economy.” There’s no magic lever.

Instead, an administration makes a thousand small decisions, each of which subtly adds to or detracts from a positive growth environment. The Obama administration, which is either hostile to or aloof from business, has made a thousand tax, regulatory and spending decisions that are biased away from growth and biased toward other priorities. American competitiveness has fallen in each of the past four years, according to the World Economic Forum. Medical device makers, for example, are being chased overseas. The economy in 2012 is worse than the economy in 2011. That’s inexcusable.

If you’re wondering why that second-to-last sentence sounds wrong, it’s because it is. I suppose this was just Brooks’ attempt to channel Romney’s campaign, which will not be “dictated by fact-checkers.” Forgive me for thinking the Times still was.

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