If you've ever wondered why I give David Brooks such a hard time, today's column should be filed in your records as Exhibit A. It's a perfect, almost archetypal example of everything he does wrong. The Republican party, he'd like us to know, is a great party full of transformational thinkers and lofty idealism and a creamy nougat center. But perfection and virtue, sometimes, are not enough for the American people. The American people, you know, are stodgy and small-minded. They like evolution -- not the darwin kind! -- rather than transformation.
Take Terry Schiavo, where "Republicans charged boldly forth to preserve her life", or Social Security where they offered Americans chances to control their retirement accounts (benefit cuts? What benefit cuts?). Despite the right's wings and halos, the American people opposed their plans because, well, they were too good, too brave, too virtuous. Ever had a rich chocolate cake that you couldn't finish because it was just so damn good and tasty that polishing it off would've made you ill? Yeah, it's kinda like that.
And Tom DeLay? Tom DeLay is in trouble not for being unethical, but for being aggressive and controversial. The American people are scared of leaders with strong convictions and a sense of daring, so they're abandoning Super DeLay long before he's saved them from the evils of modern life. Sigh. Poor Tom DeLay, a great man born in an era poorly disposed towards greatness in men.
But none of this should be misconstrued as helpful for the Democrats. They are in a "death spiral", for reasons far too complex for me to explain to you. White people hate them, and their leaders, "highly educated and secular university-town elites", scare white people all the more. Non-biblical books make Patio Man and Home-Depot Homey uncomfortable. To the great Caucasian race that populates this nation's suburban sprawl, these secular elites are Black Panthers with PhDs. The Democrats should be ashamed of themselves for resurrecting such a tough and troubling period from our history. And please, don't recall my column from mere days ago that demanded Democrats rediscover their intellectual heritage if they wanted to be viable, that's completely inoperative in the context if this piece.
So to sum up: Republicans are too deliciously fantastic for their own good, Democrats are gutter dwellers who hate the common man, and I'm David Brooks, that rare columnist with the courage to criticize both parties.