Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The 21st century's David Gergen?

Well, maybe the analogy is not precise, but I'm trying to figure out a way to peg NYT columnist David Brooks. He's the MSM's version of an acceptable conservative, who can offer presumably insightful platitudes to the chin pullers of PBS and the BosNyWash political class. Even though there's nothing really conservative about him (unless you think conservatism = martial state, because Brooks has long advocated some type of coerced government service as a rite of passage for young Americans). Brooks is the sort of guy who, like Gergen, gets invited to present the right-wing viewpoint on acceptable TV shows and in prestige newspapers. And though he can turn a phrase, he's pretty useless in that role, because in his heart of hearts he's hoisting his wet finger to the wind and trying to figure out how he can continue being invited to those really nifty public functions by the political elites.

Anyway, I typically don't waste my time reading him, but he was in the N&O today (it was yesterday's NYT column), and I had a couple of minutes, and, well, things happen before the first cup of tea kicks in.

Brooks recounts Obama's "National Foundation" speech from last week in a suck-up that must have made Gergen bow in admiration ("Obama then went on to describe his remedy in the soothing, understated manner of a country doctor prescribing a few small procedures." Must ... resist ... wretching ...). But nevermind that. What got me was this telling quote:

The first danger for the Obama administration, of course, is that his teams of experts may not be as farsighted as they believe. It may not be so easy to out-think the market.

Wow, ya think?

Brooks has officially become a Silly Person and I will no longer waste any time considering anything he has to say. I have regained an extra five minutes a week or so of my life.

Ross Douthat, the Times's new "conservative" columnist, has a lot of work to do to rise above the intellectual goo that Brooks considers insight.

The Times goes from Bill Safire to John Tierney to ... this?

P.S. If anyone can come up with a better mantle for Brooks to wear than Gergen's, I'm all ears.