I was chatting with LeftyMN this morning about the emerging, relative sanity of Republican pundit David Brooks. After today’s Paul Krugman column, the NYTimes noted: “David Brooks is off today.” It was an open invitation, but I paused, mid-snark.
Over time, I’ve had published a few letters in the NYTimes about Brooks, with whom I historically take issue. Fundamentally, we will never agree, David and I. But as I said to Lefty, Brooks (like Krugman) seems to think, ponder and then speak – a radical difference from the radical right’s reflexive spewing.
Here’s what Lefty has to say about this:
Brooks represents what a large portion of the Republican party was prior to 1970.
For all intents and purposes his ilk (intelligent, moderate, but certainly filled with noblesse oblige) are marginalized in the party. They share the strain of low taxes and unfettered regulation that allows them to live.
A very nice life indeed…. But the party has essentially become (as Wege notes) the Southern Democratic party that existed prior to 1970. Now in bed with the Know-Nothings of the Tea Party who are essentially the radical states rights-libertarian, up with the bootstraps, nativist real American group that has been with us since the 1700s.
They trace their ancestry back before Shay’s Rebellion but essentially they are the heirs of the Scotch/Irish protestant western settlers of the 17th, 18th and early to mid 19th centuries. They thrive like hothouse tomatoes under the 24 hour news cycle and offerings of cable tv and the unlimited internet.
A friend said in response to this that it is the media making the extremist credible that has created the problem. And for this, I think historically it is cable tv and the internet to blame… if you think back to pre 1965-70, neither the John Birchers nor the radical leftists were given credibility by anyone and certainly not within the two major parties.
It was Nixon’s Southern Strategy and the cable tv news phenomenon that changed things, in my opinion.