Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pet Conservatives

The usually laconic Glenn Reynolds, of the Instapundit blog, uttered one of the most withering remarks in the history of punditry, at the expense of erstwhile conservative David Frum:

"I’m watching David Frum on Kudlow... and I’m just deeply, deeply unimpressed. A guy who poses as the only smart guy in the room really ought to be, you know, smarter."

Ouch. Remind me not to get on Reynolds' bad side.

There are really only two ways for a conservative to acquire mainstream news media attention. One way is to say something completely outrageous (a la Ann Coulter). The other way is to criticize a conservative viewpoint or other conservatives (Frum). Frum seems to be, of late, auditioning for the role of MSM pet conservative. He'll have to get in line: David Brooks already owns that concession at the New York Times.

Brooks is indeed the conservative that liberals love to read, and it's easy to see why. He's a thoughtful man, an erudite man, who is not content to soil his polemics with thoughtless talking points or partisan attacks. He thinks more deeply than the typical conservative, witness this encomium to Barack Obama:

That first encounter is still vivid in Brooks’s mind. “I remember distinctly an image of--we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at [Obama's] pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,” Brooks says, “and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.”

I mean, it would be easy for conservatives to settle for the easy, roughshod characterizations of Obama as a socialist, when the only substantive evidence we have is his taking over auto manufacturing and the entire medical economic sector. But it takes a deep thinker -- someone as exquisitely sensitive to the nuances of political philosophy as David Brooks -- to conclude that, when looking for a good president, we should quit hearing what a politician says or watching what he does, and instead pay more attention to who does his ironing.

Brooks tries to help conservatism by championing its most implacable foe since FDR. Frum tries to help by demonizing Rush Limbaugh, its most well-known and effective spokesman. These men are conservatives only a liberal could love.