If you read The New York Times "conservative" columnist David Brooks, you might better grasp the chasm between true and phony conservatives, between Reagan conservatives and establishment Republicans.
In his piece "I Miss Barack Obama," Brooks unwittingly humiliates himself in his latest paean to the president, just as when he revealed his perverse attraction to Obama's "perfectly creased pant."
Let me just share Brooks' words rather than trying to characterize them, for he does much more damage to his own credibility than I could. He writes, "As this primary season has gone along, a strange sensation has come over me: I miss Barack Obama. Now, obviously I disagree with a lot of Obama's policy decisions. ... But over the course of this campaign it feels as if there's been a decline in behavioral standards across the board. Many of the traits of character and leadership that Obama possesses ... have suddenly gone missing or are in short supply. The first and most important of these is basic integrity. The Obama administration has been remarkably scandal-free."
I could include every single surreal word of this column, but let me just add a few more sentences, because they illustrate what we're up against with Brooksian pseudo-conservatives.
Brooks swoons over Obama's "resilient sense of optimism. To hear Sanders or Trump, Cruz and Ben Carson campaign is to wallow in the pornography of pessimism, to conclude that this country is on the verge of complete collapse. That's simply not true. We have problems, but they are less serious than those faced by just about any other nation on earth."
I have repeatedly observed that one thing distinguishing Reagan conservatives from establishment Republicans is the latter's blindness to the reality and gravity of Obama's destruction to this nation and their lack of any sense of urgency as to the multiple existential threats looming over America.
We face an immigration problem that could wholly destroy the United States, not because people of different ethnicities are entering but because we are losing our national identity, terrorists and terrorist-sympathizers are among those entering, there are disruptions to the economy and harm to American laborers and it causes further strain on our colossally bloated welfare state.
If we don't begin to control our borders like any self-preserving sovereign nation must, it will eventually be the end of America as we know it. Demagogues and race-baiters despicably twist these arguments as grounded in nativism. But for America to survive as unique among nations, its citizenry must remain committed to the American idea.
The open-borders lobby is devoted instead to flooding the nation with new Democratic voters who will reject our founding ideals. You better believe this is an existential threat and, in turn, our struggle against the open-borders nation-destroyers is an existential struggle. It is precisely because they have no rebuttal to these arguments that they resort to categorical smears of racism. But it says a lot about these slanderers that they portray allegiance to America's founding principles as bigotry, when everyone acknowledges and celebrates that America is a melting pot of all ethnicities.
We face another existential threat from radical Islam. I would say it's incredible that anyone could deny this, except we've endured similar scoffers before, including liberals who denied Communism constituted such a threat. Maddeningly, they cite the Soviet Union's collapse as their vindication, though the reason it ultimately collapsed is that conservatives such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher treated it as a threat. ISIS is not contained and radical Islam is not limited to ISIS. Legions of people already in America are ripe for joining this cause and our president has tied our hands instead of empowering law enforcement, intelligence and security forces to optimally prepare against it.
Further, our panoply of entitlements objectively constitutes an existential threat, yet Obama and his party both deny it, and they obstruct all reform measures.
But David Brooks isn't just in denial over these and other perils. He also views the most divisive, polarizing, partisan, condescending and narcissistic president in American history as a model of bipartisan civility. Obama has bullied and lied about his opponents and has grossly exceeded his constitutional authority to impose an agenda that the American people oppose.
Brooks has no stomach for a spirited campaign among GOP rivals who seek to reverse Obama's transformation, but he is arrogantly indifferent to the devastation it has caused. It is instructive that he is more repulsed by intramural spitballs among political adversaries than by the character and behavior of Obama and his war on the republic.
Brooks closes with a surreal lament. "Obama radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I'm beginning to miss, and that I suspect we will all miss a bit, regardless of who replaces him."
Let us just say, politely and elegantly: Mr. Brooks, this depends on how you define "we." Everyone in your "ethos" bubble perhaps, those who don't mind wallowing in the pornography of unpatriotic perdition, but very few in my world.
David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book is "The Emmaus Code: Finding Jesus in the Old Testament." Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.