Thursday, November 06, 2008

Like Clockwork

David Brooks was on NPR yesterday--indeed, he seems to be ubiquitous these days--talking about a variety of things. What interested me most were his comments on what would happen to the Republicans in the near future. His assessment was that they are in bad shape and will be reeling for the next 10-15 years.

The main reason for the struggles, according to Brooks, is going to be the hard-right base of the GOP claiming that they lost this election because Bush and McCain weren't conservative enough: Bush spent too much and McCain was too liberal on social issues. As a result, there will be a move even further right by Republicans in an effort to rejuvenate their conservative agenda.

And sure enough, talk radio has been buzzing with exactly that sentiment over the last few days. Sean Hannity opened his show on Wednesday with a rant/speech that, if it weren't so profoundly misguided and self-serving, could have been rather inspiring. To paraphrase: "Conservatism is alive and well! The Republicans have abandoned their principles! Go back to Regan and take over the world!" (Or something along those lines.) And this morning, Glenn Beck could be heard singing the praises of Sarah Palin and blasting the faux-conservatism and basic incompetence of John McCain.

For his part, Brooks thinks that this is exactly the wrong move for Republicans (and one that doesn't square with his own brand of (frankly) thoughtful conservatism). He has pulled no punches in criticizing the anti-intellectual strain of current Repubilcanism, going as far as to call Sarah Palin "a fatal cancer to the Republican party." It was therefore a fitting and humorous close to the segment when E.J. Dionne, giving his own take on the state of the GOP, said that the best thing the Republicans could do was lock themselves in a room and read two years' worth of David Brooks's columns.

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