Almost every week at the New York Times, house "conservative" David Brooks and liberal columnist Gail Collins have a public conversation. This week Brooks made a startling admission in The Conversation which really wasn't so surprising when one actually reads his columns. Here is the money quote:
At the moment, I feel politically closer to Barack Obama than to House Minority Leader John Boehner (and that’s even while being greatly exercised about the current health care bills).
Wow! So how could anybody who calls himself conservative feel politically closer to Obama who is trying to ram big spending government programs through Congress than to Boehner who is trying to stop those programs? Simple. by being a pretend conservative known as a New York Times house conservative. This would mean that even David Gergen would qualify in that category.
In the process of making the admission of affinity with Obama, Brooks unwinds and gives us some psychological and political insight into the inner David:
Gail, you made a reference in last week’s conversation that caught me up short. You said something about how badly my guys, the Republicans, have been behaving during this whole health care thing.
It made me wonder, are they really my guys? Do I have guys anymore?
Does the Republican senator who had his hand on your inner thigh count as "your guy," David? But I digress:
Certainly in childhood I felt a strong affinity for the Democrats. Everybody I knew was one. The Democrats were obviously forces for justice and morality. Then sometime in adulthood I did come to naturally assume that the Republicans were the vehicles for the things I thought were best.
But you never know the workings of your own mind until you get an unexpected cold blast from somewhere deep inside. The thought that I’m part of the G.O.P.’s fan base sent such a blast, though it’s complicated.
David Brooks makes himself sound like a political ping pong ball, conveniently moving with the the prevalent social breeze. And now comes his money quote:
At the moment, I feel politically closer to Barack Obama than to House Minority Leader John Boehner (and that’s even while being greatly exercised about the current health care bills). On the other hand, I feel politically closer to Lindsey Graham than to Henry Waxman.
The latter actually does make some sense. I mean who would want the hand of Henry Waxman to rest on his inner thigh?
Brooks continues to apologize for even seeming like a conservative as he unravels from the doctor's couch:
I could draw a sort of hot and cold chart, with various people in my inner rings. In the Senate, I’d somehow cram Lamar Alexander, Susan Collins, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Lieberman, John McCain, Chuck Schumer, Mark Warner and Ron Wyden into my ring of most admired, along with several others.
The first message is that the Republicans have disenchanted me a great deal over the past few years. I’m more likely to think of myself as a conservative independent.
Second, I’ve come to think that mentality is more important than ideology when judging a politician. The people on that list have styles that somehow appeal.
Ah! Appealing style which is so much more important than substance, especially if the person is a substantial conservative. Okay, back to David talking out loud from the couch:
Third, there is the repulsive force of teamism, which is the great corrupter in modern politics. It’s the way people crush their own personalities and views in order to fit in with the team.
And now David comes up with a great laugh line:
Fourth, there is journalism. Even those of us in the opinion business have a duty to stay aloof from the players on the field.
Yes, like the way the MSM (and especially David Brooks) has stayed "aloof" from their beloved Obama.
Should David Brooks unravel into complete incoherence, not to fear. The Times has a house conservative understudy ready to take his place in case of a Brooksian crackup. His name is Ross Who-That (or is it Douthat?) If you hadn't noticed Ross Who-That it is because since joining the Times a couple of months ago, he has made almost no impact as he managed to travel the road from obscurity to nonentity.
Perhaps now that David Brooks has made official his complete non-alignment with conservatism, Ross Who-That can take his place as their offical house conservative with no-impact columns that immediately fade into the ether.