As I have mentioned several times before, David Brooks loves his dichotomies. His approach to almost every column is to reduce a problem down to two categories and then let those two categories duke it out until the one he agrees with emerges victorious. So, for Mr. Brooks, it used to be that there were two kinds of conservatives. One was your basic rapacious capitalist who exemplified the American spirit with his risk-taking derring-do. He just wanted the government out of his hair so he could exploit workers and befoul our rivers and streams. The other kind of conservative was a Norman Rockwell family man who liked things pretty much the way they were and didn’t want any radicals upsetting the family structure or having sex out of wedlock or experimenting with new-age religion and agnosticism.
But nowhere in this picture is the kind of conservative who would rather lynch a black man than let him look at his daughter or register to vote. There are no paranoid John Birchers or Tea Partiers screeching about fluoridation or birth certificates. Lunatic preachers who blame our country’s misfortunes on gay sex and secularism are lacking. There’s no resentment about integrated schools or busing or welfare queens and their Cadillacs. No one is freaking out about all the Mexicans who have overtaken the soccer field at the local park. If Mr. Brooks’ Burkean archetype is uncomfortable with women’s liberation, he isn’t calling anyone who uses birth control a ‘slut.’
And neither does Brooks include any warmongers who insist that we fight one land war in Asia after another, regardless of the meager bang for the buck we seem to gain from them.
There’s been a realignment in this country that has been going on since long before David Brooks joined the National Review in 1984. Pretty much every intolerant asshole in the country has moved to the Republican Party, if they weren’t already there. The only exceptions are a few holier-than-thou progressives who can’t enjoy one moment of life if even one person is going hungry.
With that lone exception, all the prudes and bigots and tsk-tskers and money-grubbers and polluters and religious freaks and misogynists and fraudsters and warmongers have aligned with the conservative movement.
Yankee Republicanism is dead. All we have is the reactionary right aligned with a bunch a greedheads. You won’t find an inch of daylight between Pat Robertson and Mitt Romney or Mitt Romney and Paul Wolfowitz or Grover Norquist and Mitt Romney. We have the worst of all worlds.