I’ve been agreeing a little too much with David Brooks lately. That either means that I’m becoming more conservative (seriously doubtful) or the conservative movement is as flummoxed as I by the choices the Republican party has made this year. I’ll go with the latter.
Yesterday, I asked when exactly we decided in this country that it was better to have someone in the White House with zero intellectual curiosity over someone with a stellar brain. David Brooks is on the same path. In an Op-Ed in the New York Times this morning, he wrote the following:
The political effects of this trend have been obvious. Republicans have alienated the highly educated regions — Silicon Valley, northern Virginia, the suburbs outside of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Raleigh-Durham. The West Coast and the Northeast are mostly gone.
The Republicans have alienated whole professions. Lawyers now donate to the Democratic Party over the Republican Party at 4-to-1 rates. With doctors, it’s 2-to-1. With tech executives, it’s 5-to-1. With investment bankers, it’s 2-to-1. It took talent for Republicans to lose the banking community.
Conservatives are as rare in elite universities and the mainstream media as they were 30 years ago. The smartest young Americans are now educated in an overwhelmingly liberal environment.
Brooks believes that Palin is a symbol of this move away from intellectualism to governance by “Joe Six Pack.” She has, indeed, articulated this herself, hasn’t she? He writes:
She is another step in the Republican change of personality. Once conservatives admired Churchill and Lincoln above all — men from wildly different backgrounds who prepared for leadership through constant reading, historical understanding and sophisticated thinking. Now those attributes bow down before the common touch.
And so, politically, the G.O.P. is squeezed at both ends. The party is losing the working class by sins of omission — because it has not developed policies to address economic anxiety. It has lost the educated class by sins of commission — by telling members of that class to go away.
Another prominent Republican intellectual has also signalled a turning of the back on McCain and his new strategy of cess pool politics, which is where one ends when one has stripped oneself of all higher thought. George Will wrote yesterday,
Time was, the Baltimore Orioles manager was Earl Weaver, a short, irascible, Napoleonic figure who, when cranky, as he frequently was, would shout at an umpire, “Are you going to get any better, or is this it?” With, mercifully, only one debate to go, that is the question about John McCain’s campaign.
I think this is “it.” The McCain campaign has all but promised that it will continue the Ayers line and bring in other attacks (Rezko, Wright) on Obama in the remaining days of the campaign. If McCain were a more serious mind, he would enlist conservative intellectuals and gather the best economic policy team he could find to “talk smart” to the American people about how he will lead in these frightening economic times. Main Street is watching the Dow fall another 500 points as I write this. Folks recognize that they need someone smarter than their bartender to get us out of this mess. McCain has yet to prove that he is that person.