The Schizophrenic David Brooks

What to call David Brooks’ column in the New York Times this morning? “Appalling” is the word that comes most readily to mind, but that is not quite what I mean. It is a hard piece of writing to classify. I think it was intended to be a parody of Obama’s speech, but what it seems more like is a free-writing exercise performed by a hardened misanthrope under the influence of 15 martinis or some kind of psychotropic substance. In short, it seems like it was written by a crazy person. This possibly dangerous crazy alter-ego also wrote – interestingly, tellingly – an equally crazy column some time ago called something like “The Two Obamas” in which frequent references were made to “Fast Eddie Obama,” a man who was fond of throwing people under trucks. If you happened to read Brooks’ column of the day before Obama nominated Biden, this impression of madness is heightened: that piece was a matter-of-fact political analysis that might well have been written by someone of no party affiliation.

Dear Millions readers, do you have any insights into the mystery of the two faces of David Brooks? I find his duplicity fascinating and genuinely troubling and would be delighted to have it illuminated.

is a staff writer for The Millions living in Virginia. She is a winner of the Virginia Quarterly's Young Reviewers Contest and has a doctorate from Stanford. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Times, In Character, VQR, Arts & Letters Daily, and The Daily Dish.


  1. Alarming, and a little bit creepy. It smacks of being cornered, of knowing he's not got a lot of material to work with, and of bitterness.

  2. Schizophrenic is the perfect word. I watched Brooks in action the night before on PBS, shortly after Obama's acceptance speech. You could see the guy was desperately trying to find *something* negative to say.

    I have always gotten the feeling that Brooks likes Obama but can't will himself away from the GOP. He has been all over the map with his recent columns.

  3. Brooks is a conservative swimming in the shark-infested waters of the liberal rag in the country. It's a no win balancing act that he's doing.
    Frankly, I believe all the hand wringing over Brooks' column is because liberals can't stand to see a smart, articulate conservative voice.

  4. I found the column incredibly cynical and actually felt sorry for Brooks. I found it hard to believe that so much animosity and lack of inspiration could be taken from Obama's speech. I watched Brooks on PBS for the nights leading up to the speech and would not even have attributed that column to the same person.

    I consider myself a Democrat, but I can objectively view speeches. I hope to find something inspiring from McCain too, given that he has a 50-50 shot at the presidency. Too bad Brooks couldn't do the same.

  5. Wow. What a humorless bunch of crepe hangers. Either you're incapable of finding humor in politics, or you're so insecure about your candidate that the slightest attack makes you go overboard with comments like "schizophrenic" and "cynical". I'll bet you didn't object that loudly when some of your political allies were calling for the assassination of Bush!

    I thought it was an absolutely hysterical parody. I mean, he perfectly captured the nonsensical platitudes and the over-the-top hyperbole that so characterizes the typical political speech.

    But as we've heard so often, you're simply not allowed to make fun of Obama!

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