Remember when you were in high school, and there was always a sort of aristocracy – the "cool kids" – which consisted mainly of athletes and cheerleaders? And remember how there was always at least one total bozo who flitted about the edges of the group, desperate for its approval? He’d typically be some guy who couldn’t make the football team (or any other team, for that matter), but was more than happy to serve as “equipment manager” (i.e., the fellow who collected the dirty towels and jock-straps after practice). The cool kids tolerated him as a kind of court jester, and so great was his hunger for acceptance that he’d unhesitatingly bury his self-respect in order to get a little attention from them – even if the attention consisted mainly of dipping him headfirst in the toilet and bumming money off him (never repaid) for pizza.
David Brooks bears a remarkable resemblance to this type of attention-starved hanger-on. P.J. Gladnick at News Busters reveals this interesting quote from Brooks: "At the moment, I feel politically closer to Barack Obama than to House Minority Leader John Boehner (and that’s even while being greatly exercised about the current health care bills)."
Now, this may be true, which would certainly explain the schizophrenic nature of Brooks' "conservatism." But I don't think Brooks is being entirely honest with us - perhaps not even with himself. I suspect that the main thing about Obama that appeals to Brooks is not so much his politics (although that certainly may be a factor), but "the old school tie", the elitist culture which they both hold in common; and by "elitist culture", I don't mean the possession of superior education, intellect and accomplishments (neither Obama nor Brooks strikes me as being a genuine standout in these categories). I mean that Brooks and Obama have spent a lifetime breathing deeply of the miasma emanating from the liberal orthodoxy that constitutes the mainstream of their social milieu. It's membership in whatever passes for a "good old boys" network in the myopic world of the Beltway and its intellectual satellites. It's the mutual belief that graduates of the Kennedy School are better guarantors of democratic government than We the People.
Obama, at least, has the excuse that he's a liberal Democrat. Brooks, on the other hand - as long as he continues to maintain the fiction that he is some kind of a conservative, while humiliatingly truckling to celebrity liberals - is still just picking up the cool guys' jock-straps.