Mother Jones has a big piece about Chunky David Brooks. Like it or not, he’s going to be with us in the NYT opinion pages, promoting holy wars and railing against animated films, for the next 40 years or so. If he starts shaving regularly, he may even be on television. I can’t speak for all of you, obviously, but there is also a very good chance that I will have to spend many of these years explaining to friends, family, and colleagues why he is awful despite his pseudo-reasonable demeanor, the way I do now with David Brooks.
So I’m reading the article. It turned my stomach a few paragraphs in, but I’m sticking it out.
Update. The close of the article is very good, fair-minded but critical:
Some of his columns contain what blogger Yglesias calls “a characteristic Douthat-ian error…a powerful desire to believe, contrary to the evidence, that some or another Republican Party blowhard is secretly an ambitious policy wonk.” It is this faith in people that trumps his sense of sin just when we need it most—to call to account a dissembler like Palin or a warmonger like Cheney.[…..]
What Douthat envisions falls into the realm of the utopian—it’s magical, Tolkien-like thinking. Few of today’s Republicans would be so concerned with the welfare of those babies after birth, or be so lenient with the doctors. Still, it provides a glimpse of the real Ross Douthat, a young man who is still very much interested in the impossible.
I’m sorry to inflict this on you, but I find the Douthats of the world fascinating: on the one hand, I feel sorry for them for having to defend something like contemporary conservatism, on the other, I think it’s ridiculous that they can have such cushy careers simply by be wiling to do so.