David Brooks keeps playing hard to get

brooksWhy I Turned Right is an essay collection that chronicles the ideological journeys of leading conservatives. It includes an entry from David Brooks, who described himself as a “Hamiltonian conservative” and twice cited John McCain as the type of politician who most aligned with Brooks’ own governing philosophy. This collection was published in February, 2007.

A year later, McCain became the Republican presidential candidate. As the self-proclaimed conservative voice at the liberal NY Times, Brooks had a tremendous opportunity to evangelize an entire segment of the population that typically did not embrace his view of government nor hear many of the arguments for that vision. However, instead of penning a column on the great leap forward in American politics that saw the Republican Party produce Brooks’ ideal candidate, he endorsed Barack Obama, a committed leftist, partly because he was impressed with the crease in the future president’s pants.

In other words, Brooks’ council might be more useful to the cover model selection team at Vogue or GQ than the kingmakers in the Republican Party. Also, chasing his political tastes is probably a fool’s errand.

It is in this context that a reader needs to engage Brooks’ latest column Continue reading