Fighting for the Heart of David Brooks

In the ongoing battle, the left lays claim to one of the nation's most popularly beloved--and ideologically battered--columnists

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Call it the curse of centrism. David Brooks, for years a leading conservative luminary as a writer for The Weekly Standard, has been batted back and forth like an ideological shuttlecock since joining the New York Times in 2003. During George W. Bush's presidency, Brooks was one of the more militant supporters of the Iraq invasion, and then an early supporter of John McCain. These days, he's swung back into the left's graces, and it's the right where you'll find his most fearsome critics.

A piece by Gabriel Sherman in the New Republic--itself a bastion of contrarian leftism--documents Brooks's courtship by the Obama administration, concluding that Brooks appears to finally landed firmly in the pocket of liberals:

It is an odd situation to say the least: David Brooks, prominent conservative, has become the most visible journalistic ally of arguably the most liberal president of his lifetime...As much as any columnist, Brooks speaks to these left-of-center suburbanites. After all, he is known for attracting liberal readers who normally can't stand conservative pundits.

Sherman's reiterated his views on MSNBC this morning:

Responding to Sherman, the right lashed out at Brooks with vehemence. Many of their criticisms used variations on sexual innuendo and the word "vomit" to describe their attitude toward the falling conservative star:

  • "Emetic of the Day,"declared Michelle Malkin, making a more erudite reference to a vomit-inducing medicine. "Get out another airsickness bag," she warns.
  • "Vomit, Reader, Vomit," urged Robert Stacey McCain at his blog The Other McCain. He gives Brooks one of the more colorful drubbings, calling his relationship toward Obama a "man crush." He teases out one of the funnier admissions in the interview, when Brooks confessed said he first thought that Obama would be president while while admiring the pleats in the then-Senator's pants. McCain hooted that he felt "the need to take a shower." More off-color innuendo after the link.
  • "Highly Nauseating," says Sista Toldjah, who then follows with a measured and incisive critique. "When columnists stop being cynics of the opposition and instead write pieces that sound like official talking points, they turn into little more than their shills."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.