David Brooks's Line in the Sand

Brooks separates himself from other conservatives.

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New York Times columnist David Brooks set himself apart from two prominent fellow conservatives on yesterday's Meet the Press. In a discussion on health care reform, Brooks called Rush Limbaugh "insane" and Sarah Palin "crazy." Brooks, long a moderate Republican, could be drawing a line in the sand between the moderate and the fringe GOP, or he could simply be himself moving left. Recall that Brooks told The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg back in October that Palin "represents a fatal cancer to the Republican party."

Limbaugh "Insane"  In a recent radio broadcast on Obama's proposed health care reform, Limbaugh said, "There are far more similarities between Nancy Pelosi and Adolf Hitler than between these people showing up at town halls to protest a Hitler-like policy." Brooks, showed the clip on Meet the Press, responded, "I hadn't seen the Rush Limbaugh thing. That is insane. What he's saying is insane." But he did not totally dismiss Limbaugh. "If you take overall poll ratings for health care, the American public is now just as skeptical as when Clinton care collapsed. It's not just the crazies, there are real public concerns about real issues." Limbaugh, speaking to the Washington Examiner's Byron York, defended himself.

I've been listening to the left compare George W. Bush to Hitler for eight years. I've been listening to Democrats and the left compare conservatism to Nazis my whole career. This time I responded. In kind, by comparing the radical left policies of the Nazis to today's radical left leadership of the Democrat Party. I'm not surprised they don't like it.

Palin "Crazy"  On Friday, Palin suggested that health care reform would include "death panels" where "bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care." Brooks, asked about Palin's claim, derided it. "That's crazy," he said. "The crazies are attacking the plan because it'll cut off granny, and that's simply not true. That simply is not going to happen."

Evaluating Brooks  On the right, Powerline John Hinderaker said Brooks "can reliably be counted on to sell out conservatives." Hinderaker called Brooks "a nobody in the conservative movement." On the left, Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly argued that Palin "went just a little too far for the political mainstream" and that Brooks could no longer "maintain the fiction that Palin was a credible political figure."

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