I happen to think David Brooks is an interesting and likeable conservative, even if the only reason is because he usually lacks the visible image of spit and foam running down his chin like so many of his fellow conservative travelers. And sometimes he can be relied on write something of interest and coherence.
This morning was not one of those times. This column reads like a research paper written the day before it was due, without any of the required citations. Does the NYT employ editors?
Basically Brooks unveils a Carter-like "Old Europe is in Malaise" spiel, with the special finding that the malaise of old Europe = malaise of American liberalism. Now, American liberalism may indeed be in a state of malaise, but Brooksie trounces old Europe like a one legged step-child for its supposedly high unemployment, low productivity, and polluted welfare state induced public melancholy.
Unfortunately he doesn't cite one statistic to support his conclusions. Nor does he specify what he means by Europe.
If he had the data to back his stuff up, you think he'd level us with it don't you? That what the Gadflyer thinks, too. He even had the guts to suggest Old Europe was about as nifty as Arkansas.
David, stop while you're ahead. Liberalism may be in official retreat, but the last time I looked, the higher income, labor friendly, job producing states voted blue last time around. If you want to hang your conservatism on the backs of Heartland states such as Arkansas, Mississippi, and South Dakota, that are poor and barely getting by thanks to the presence of obsolete military bases, than please feel free to do so. But I don't think it's a good tact for your side to take.