01/12/2006 09:44 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

David Brooks Gets It

There are reasons why David Brooks is the thinking progressive's favorite conservative. You don't agree with his prescriptions, but he is one of very few on the right with a feel for the culture. If you are a child of the 60s who kept the faith, more or less, and you read his Bobos in Paradise without cringing--well, congratulations. Or something.

But, whatever--I had just finished blogging in a rather snotty way about Alito as Culture Warrior, deconstructing his opening statement, exposing his lower-middle class, white-ethnic, blind loyalty to authority in contrast to those elite Ivy League activists who so appalled him at Princeton back in the day--and, lo and behold, I open the NYTimes upon the morrow (1/11/05) and there's a Brooks op-ed piece called "Losing the Alitos."

It skewered me like a laser.

Don't get me wrong. I stand by every word I wrote--I even stand by the attitude, at least in a stylistic, shorthand kind of way (I mean, you can't be Dostoyevsky on a blog)--but I gotta admit this much:. Democrats lost the ethnic lower-middle class for just the reasons Brooks identifies, my post being a case in point, and I see no signs of recovery anywhere on the horizon.

But this much I can tell you. It won't be enough to go on and on about economic issues, as if you could just buy people off by way of material gain. The Alitos have identities too...