David Brooks apparently has a personality. I’ve seen it exhibited on NPR and in his weekly online “chats” with Gail Collins, my beloved NYT columnist. But he doesn’t use it to great effect in his own twice-weekly columns. Why, David? Do you purposely try to be really dry and serious?
I am going to give him props for his excellent use of SAT vocabulary in his Friday column about health care. He appears to be stealing a trope from Gail, though, by referring to stampeding animals. In his case, he uses rhinos; Gail memorably described Senate Democrats as “Herding rabid guinea pigs in a thunderstorm.” Regardless of the animals in question, David Brooks pulls off four, count ’em, four fancy vocab words in a row, although he gets no additional points because he provides no sentence context. You have to be smart like he is to understand these pesky rhinos:
Forget the wonkery. Let’s get primeval. Rising health care costs are a stampede of big ugly rhinos. They are trampling your crops, stomping on your children’s play areas and spoiling your hunting grounds.
President Obama wasn’t exaggerating when he said this cost onslaught is unsustainable. The rhinos have been roaming unchecked for a generation. We’ve thrown research projects, legislative and corporate reforms at them, all in an effort to tamp down health care inflation. But the rhinos keep coming. They are ubiquitous, powerful, protean and inexorable.