Over at the New York Times, David Brooks and Gail Collins have an interesting conversation (well, I thought Brooks’s piece was interesting for the questions it raises) about partisanship and the two-party system. I think that Brooks’s anxiety about where he belongs politically is more common than the Democrats or the Republicans wished to acknowledge. He writes:
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?
Certainly in childhood I felt a strong affinity for the Democrats. Everybody I knew was one. The Democrats were obviously forces for justice and morality. Then sometime in adulthood I did come to naturally assume that the Republicans were the vehicles for the things I thought were best.
But you never know the workings of your own mind until you get an unexpected cold blast from somewhere deep inside. The thought that I’m part of the G.O.P.’s fan base sent such a blast, though it’s complicated.
My understanding is that while Brooks has always appreciated the idea of individual choice, he has always been suspicious of individualism and the end of mainstream America (the existence of one unique model that defines what it is to an American). He has always been more of an Eisenhower Republican than early National Review people were, for instance. I would be interested in your insights on this issue.