In yet another example of a pundit projecting nefarious motives onto his opponents, David Brooks claims in his column today that "[t]he idea was to cause maximum suffering" when Democrats ended a school voucher experiment in Washington, DC:
Democrats in Congress just killed an experiment that gives 1,700 poor Washington kids school vouchers. They even refused to grandfather in the kids already in the program, so those children will be ripped away from their mentors and friends. The idea was to cause maximum suffering, and 58 Senators voted for it.
Whose idea? Can Brooks provide any evidence that any member of Congress intended to cause "maximum suffering" for children in the program?
Brooks is pulling a classic pundit trick where you claim that your opponent wants the worst possible outcome of a policy decision. For instance, back in 2007, Eric Alterman interpreted George W. Bush's health care policies as evidence that Bush has a "preference for allowing poor kids to get sick and die" and that he "wants children to get sick and die." Like Brooks, Alterman had no evidence that Bush actually held those preferences or motives (as he eventually conceded), but it didn't stop him from engaging in the smear.