On Friday's regular "Shields and Brooks" segment on the PBS NewsHour, pretend conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks slammed the North Carolina bathroom law -- which tries to protect women and girls from men intruding into women's restrooms in state buildings -- as he declared that the law is "so bad now I have to praise Donald Trump" for the GOP candidate's criticism of the law on NBC's Today show.
He went on to complain that the Republican party "should have moved on" from "1980s socially conservative culture war politics," and concluded by lauding "moderate" Trump as "not stuck in Jerry Falwell land."
PBS host Judy Woodruff raised the issue:
One of the things that he said in I guess it was on the Today show yesterday, David, is he was asked about this North Carolina LGBT law, the public using public bathrooms, and he basically said that the Republican governor shouldn't have changed the law, that he should have left it the way it was, and now conservatives -- Ted Cruz and others -- are coming back to say this is not the Republican position.
Brooks began his analysis sounding like a liberal:
Yeah, so that law is so bad now I have to praise Donald Trump, you know, and so he's right. I mean, he made the obvious point: Is this really a problem here? Like, are there a lot of bathrooms in North Carolina where people are scared to go in. I don't think this is a problem. This is 1980s socially conservative culture war politics: Pick some issue that seems like something changing in the sexual revolution and try to mobilize the conservative base on the basis of it. That's what it is.
He then added:
And Donald Trump, to his credit, doesn't play that game. He's moved on, as the Republican party should have moved on. He's playing a different game. And so, to his credit, he's not playing that game. Now, it should be said, people are saying, "Oh, he's socially moderate." He's socially moderate but not in the way liberal Republicans are socially moderate or moderate Republicans are. He's socially moderate in a populist way, which is a different sort of moderation, but it does end up moderate on a lot of social issues. And to his credit, he's just not stuck in the culture war. He's not stuck in Jerry Falwell land.