In a Lite-Thought piece on political leadership, Brooks talks about translating that "moment of spine-tingling transcendence" into the successful pursuit of public service by, among other things, apprenticing oneself to "a modern version of Ted Kennedy". Really? Marking time as a pimp and a procurer of booze and covering up the odd felony for a leftist lout is a step up the career ladder of good governance?
But that's not the worst of it. The primary irritant is the banality of the observations and an insipid prose that itches to turn purple in its tedious praise of "effective" government, but fails to rise above a dreary taupe. One example will suffice:
This wisdom is based on a tactile awareness of your country and its people — what they want, how they react. You don’t think this awareness. You feel it. You experience a visceral oneness with culture and circumstance — the smell of the street, tinges of anger and hope and aspiration.Oh, there's a smell, all right; the rancid scent of aging mediocrity and stale ideas. I could write better stuff than this in my sleep. With my feet. In the throes of a malaria attack.