Several of you mentioned David Brooks’ column in Monday’s New York Times, and one even suggested I write about it. My initial response, of course, was that I will write about David Brooks’ column when he writes about mine. But on deeper reflection, it occurred to me that David has better things to do. I, on the other hand, do not. For those not familiar with him, Brooks is the Times’ conservative columnist and the right-of-center counterpoint to E.J. Dionne on NPR and Mark Shields on PBS. Hired by William F. Buckley at The National Review, he later wrote for The Wall Street Journal and The Weekly Standard. Brooks, like his intellectual hero Edmund Burke, is a sober, thoughtful, intelligent, and insightful spokesman for moderate conservativism – a movement so diminished in today’s GOP that the Times later hired Ross Douthat to speak for the hard right.
Brooks has written admiringly of Obama, and while he speaks out against his policies often and forcefully, his criticisms seem born more of disappointment than dislike.
In Monday’s column, Brooks, writing in an unusual satiric tone, sought to parody the media’s depiction of Romney as rich, aloof and shallow. The piece was so out of character for Brooks and so edgy about Romney, however, that in lampooning the pundits, he also roasted the candidate.
David Brooks’ ideal candidate is one who is pragmatic, thoughtful and represents a conservatism that builds on the best traditions of the past – one like the old Mitt Romney, the governor of Massachusetts. But, whether in jest or not, that is not the Romney he presented on Monday.