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April 10, 2004

Name That Rogue

Posted by Phil on April 10, 2004 1:54 PM
In his column today, David Brooks is talking about one person. But make a few words generic--OK, and delete just a couple--and he could be talking about another. I wonder can you guess who?
The violence is being fomented by ______, a lowlife hoodlum from an august family. The ruthless and hyperpoliticized ______ has spent the past year trying to marginalize established figures, like ______, who come from a more quietist tradition and who believe in the separation of government and clergy. ______ and his fellow putschists have been spectacularly unsuccessful in winning popular support. The vast majority of ______ do not want a ______-style dictatorship. Most see ______ as a young, hotheaded ______ who terrifies ______ wherever he goes.
He and his band have taken this opportunity to make a desperate bid for power, before democratic elections reveal the meagerness of their following. He has cleverly picked his moment, and he has several advantages. He is exploiting wounded national pride. He is capitalizing on frustration with the occupation (they continually overestimate our competence, then invent conspiracy theories to explain why we haven't transformed ______).
Most important, ______ has the advantages that always accrue to fascist thugs. He is vicious, while his opponents are civilized. ______ and his band terrify people, and ride on a current of ______. They get financial and logistical support from ______. They profit from the mayhem caused by assorted terrorists, like ______, who are sowing chaos in ______. They need to spark a conflagration to seize power.
______'s domestic opponents are ill-equipped to deal with him. The ______ have revealed their weakness. Normal ______ are doing what they learned to do under ______; they are keeping their heads down. ______, who operate by consensus, do not want to be seen siding with outsiders against a fellow ______.
This fellow is strangely familiar, isn't he?