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The Problem With David Brooks' Moderation

Here is David Brooks, in a back-and-forth with Gail Collins:

Gail, you made a reference in last week’s conversation that caught me up short. You said something about how badly my guys, the Republicans, have been behaving during this whole health care thing.

It made me wonder, are they really my guys? Do I have guys anymore?

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). On the other hand, I feel politically closer to Lindsey Graham than to Henry Waxman.

Henry Waxman will likely end up voting with Barack Obama well over 90% of the time (Obama had a more liberal voting record in the Senate than Waxman does in the House). Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham might sound like a moderate but according to the 2007 rankings, he was solidly in the middle of the Republican caucus.

My hunch is that Brooks prefers Obama's style and attitude to Boehner's--just as he (Brooks) prefers Graham's moderate tone to Waxman's more visible partisanship. But senate votes matter to people's lives, and I have the suspicion that if Brooks paid more attention to them, rather than to the personalities of Washington politicians, he might find himself drifting leftward on the political spectrum.

--Isaac Chotiner