Friday, February 25, 2011


It's the least surprising thing in the world that David Brooks is rooting for Mitch Daniels to run for president (and is having a sad because Daniels probably won't run this time around): Daniels is a privatizer who poses as a wonky, competence-obsessed deficit hawk (he certainly isn't the latter), and he covers his conservatism with a fig leaf of phony compassion. All of this is almost perfectly calibrated to win the all-important David Brooks primary. What's bizarre is that Brooks can't even bring himself to acknoweledge why Daniels isn't likely to run. The only answer we get is:

Yet because Daniels is a normal person who doesn't have an insatiable desire for higher office, he's thinking about not running.

Um, no, David. That's not why Daniels isn't running. This is why Daniels isn't running:

That tweet from a typical modern-day Republican voter was presumably in response to Daniels's announcement that he wanted Indiana Republicans to drop a right-to-work bill and wouldn't send state cops out to round up fleeing Democratic legislators opposed to the bill -- but it could have just as easily come in response to his call for a "truce" on social issues, or his assertion that, for Republicans, "it is time to let Ronald Reagan go ... as our touchstone, as our icon, as our hallmark and our reference point," or his recommendation in his recent CPAC speech that "purity in martyrdom is for suicide bombers" and that Republicans "will need people who never tune in to Rush or Glenn or Laura or Sean" in order to win. Brooks acknowledges the latter, as "a passage that rankled some in the audience and beyond," but shrugs off any disgruntlement, saying of Daniels, "He spoke as a practical Midwesterner, appealing to hard-core conservatives and the not so hard-core."

The hell he did -- you don't appeal to hardcore conservatives unless you are hardcore. But Brooks can't acknowledge that -- he can't admit that his party has been completely taken over by insane purist zealots who impose half a dozen litmus tests before breakfast every day. Mitch Daniels would be one of the most right-wing presidents of modern times, but he's not crazy enough for his party, so he can't run. It has nothing to do with what he wants -- except to the extent that he doesn't want to be drummed out of the party altogether. And Brooks either doesn't notice the obvious or can't bring himself to acknowledge it.

No comments: