And he's had a serious deep case of bashing David Brooks for some time now.
Brooks' latest attempt at convincing himself - and unlikely anybody else - of a miracle Rescue-By-Savior at the upcoming Republican convention is that the "hidden moderates" will rise up before Trump or Cruz can demolish the GOP by driving said party over the cliff. As Driftglass gloats:
Today, Mr. Brooks imagineers out of thin air an entire army of public-spirited Reasonable Republicans who will infiltrate the Republican convention in July cleverly disguised as party hacks but then -- surprise! -- cast off their fake George Wallace noses and Pat Buchanan wigs just in time to rise as one! A veritable League of Extraordinary Whig Gentlemen!
Okay, for starters, Brooks' article assumes there are that many Reasonable - which I would infer as Moderate - Republicans capable of getting tabbed to serve as delegates in the first place, and that they are able to enter the convention halls of Cleveland this summer undetected, and make their own coordinated effort to place on the general election ballot a "sane" alternative to the two fiascoes awaiting the GOP.
Never mind the open warfare that will erupt in the streets of Cleveland if Trump goes in with a confirmed delegate majority, or if Cruz gets his state-level agents - already getting placed as we speak - to rally to him on the second ballot of a contested delegate vote. The idea that a Savior candidate - who just happens to fill the need of the Establishment faction of the GOP - can just glide in despite the overwhelming primary voter anger against the Establishment is pure fantasy.
Brooks' article seems to operate on the belief that these "Lincoln" voters have all been lying in wait, biding their time to bring their own candidate to the podium... as though the last three months of these so-called voters failing to show up to vote when it mattered is all just shade getting cast to lull the Far Right conservatives into a false sense of security.
I mean, where were these voters when the Establishment's Chosen Offerings - Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Jeb! Bush, Marco Rubio - were sitting there on the primary ballots just waiting to rally these "Lincoln" voters of rational sanity and moderation to each of their banners? Unless Brooks is willing to admit that NONE of these candidates were all that "pure" for these voters to accept in the first place. But then that would imply that Brooks and his fellow media pundits pushing such candidates were horribly wrong about them anyway, which doesn't generate any confidence in Brooks' ability to predict matters here.
Here's how Brooks sees it:
The first thing the Lincoln Caucus would do is plant a flag for a different style of Republicanism. Members of the caucus would remind the country that there still are Republicans who believe in prudent globalism, reform conservative ideas to lift up the working class. There are still Republicans who believe in certain standards of polite behavior in public and pragmatic compromise...
You'll notice how Brooks doesn't really give any details what "prudent globalism" or "reform conservative ideas" are. For all we know, it's just code-talk for "Cheney-esque Foreign Policy debacles" and "Keep Cutting Taxes and Hope for the Magic Beans to Sprout Positive Growth with No Deficits".
And where the hell have these Republicans been who believe in "polite behavior" and "pragmatic compromise" in the last eight years of "You Lie!" and "let's make Obama a failed One-Termer at all costs"?
Brooks seems to think these Republicans still exist, that they are still in sufficient numbers and in places of power at the state and national level to exert enough influence to save the GOP from its' Far Right madness.
Sorry, Mr. Brooks. Let this former Moderate Republican - disgusted by the party's failures since 1992 and driven out by the madness that consumed it by 2003 - be the one to break your heart here:
THERE ARE NO MODERATE REPUBLICANS LEFT.
Blame it all on Pat Buchanan, and Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly and Grover Norquist and Dick Armey and Roger Ailes and Glenn Beck and Andrew "My Legacy of Stupid Hate Endures" Breitbart and a Far Right Noise Machine orbiting around Fox Not-News and the Drudge Report and Newsmax. Blame it on 20 years of RINO hunting, where once-proud advocates of the practices of Eisenhower and Teddy Roosevelt and Nelson Rockefeller were exiled into the wastelands by the heirs of Goldwater and Reagan.
Blame it on an open Southern Strategy of bringing into the fold all the social conservatism of the Deep South, riven from the Democrats during the Civil Rights era. Blame it on the merging of the major conservative beliefs - religious, racial, financial - into one Republican Party that eagerly turned conservative belief into rigid Party-wide dogma.
What Brooks may think of as "moderate" or sane factions within the modern Republican Party are merely levels of the same Conservative bent. Peeking into the souls of the more centrist elements of the GOP is merely finding the few members of the party - the pro-Business "deregulate all and cut taxes on the uber-rich" - willing to at least remain non-committal to the extremist stuff. They'll still stand there and applaud the madness because they'll still have something to gain for their hard-core conservative ideology of "F-ck You Pay Me."
The Republican Party has no Moderates left because the voter base's obsession with turning against RINOs makes it impossible for any sitting politician to "man up" and fight for moderate principles. Every campaign race is now an attempt to convince those voters their commitment to the ever-shifting-Right core values. Even suggesting the mere possibility of a hint that our current tax rates are fine as is can become cause for a more extremist primary challenger to rise up against you. And win that primary, because poor voter turnout guarantees only the hard-core extremist voters show up anymore.
So NO, Mr. Brooks, there is no Lincoln Caucus waiting for you in Cleveland to save your precious Republican Party from itself. The Republican Party as you want it to be is dead. Has been for years. You needed to start composing the eulogy back in 2006, and it's ten years gone.