David Brooks isn’t a squishy liberal.
He’s no fan of progressive political policies. He believes in small government. He is, in my mind, the personification of what could be called a “traditional conservative” thinker.
He writes a column for the New York Times and is a regular panelist on National Public Radio and on the PBS NewsHour — which in the minds of many of today’s new found conservatives would categorize him as a RINO … a Republican In Name Only.
Well, his recent NYT column lays it out there. Conservatives have gone bonkers, Brooks writes.
Here’s a bit of what Brooks writes: “By traditional definitions, conservatism stands for intellectual humility, a belief in steady, incremental change, a preference for reform rather than revolution, a respect for hierarchy, precedence, balance and order, and a tone of voice that is prudent, measured and responsible. Conservatives of this disposition can be dull, but they know how to nurture and run institutions. They also see the nation as one organic whole. Citizens may fall into different classes and political factions, but they are still joined by chains of affection that command ultimate loyalty and love.
“All of this has been overturned in dangerous parts of the Republican Party. Over the past 30 years, or at least since Rush Limbaugh came on the scene, the Republican rhetorical tone has grown ever more bombastic, hyperbolic and imbalanced. Public figures are prisoners of their own prose styles, and Republicans from Newt Gingrich through Ben Carson have become addicted to a crisis mentality. Civilization was always on the brink of collapse. Every setback, like the passage of Obamacare, became the ruination of the republic. Comparisons to Nazi Germany became a staple.”
To be fair, much of what ails the GOP can be laid at the feet of Democrats, who fail to heed the warnings of their own bombast. Each party’s leader feel the need to play to their respective “base.” They seemingly neglect the great unwashed middle, comprising people who aren’t far left or far right, but instead see value in both ideologies.
I believe it was Colin Powell, another fine Republican, who once lamented that the extremes of both parties were talking past those in the middle who want their voices heard, too.
For now, though, the Republicans are controlling both legislative chambers of Congress. They want to take back the White House. They are seeking the clean sweep of the two government branches by bellowing at the top of their lungs that the nation is going to straight to hell and it’s because of the Democrat in the White House, Barack H. Obama.
It is doing no such thing.
Brooks laments the Republican “incompetence.” He writes: “These insurgents are incompetent at governing and unwilling to be governed. But they are not a spontaneous growth. It took a thousand small betrayals of conservatism to get to the dysfunction we see all around.”