David Brooks is still desperately and rather humorously hanging on to the notion that both sides are ailing equally. Having informed us of this nation's increasingly hostile tribalism mostly within the Republican Party — which augurs its doom, says Brooks, quite reasonably — the columnist turns, at the end, and further informs us that Democrats are in the same party-destroying spot:
"Eventually, conservatives will realize: If we want to preserve conservatism, we can’t be in the same party as the clan warriors. Liberals will realize: If we want to preserve liberalism, we can’t be in the same party as the clan warriors."
It's true the Democratic Party has its own tribal warriors of intellectual intolerance and allergic reactions to compromise. It always has, in fact every political party always has. But compared to the GOP, they're scarce. Under President Obama congressional Democrats repeatedly begged Republicans to join them in crafting legislation, since bipartisan legislation is longer-lasting legislation. Republicans repeatedly rebuffed them. And since controlling both houses of Congress, Republicans have behaved as though they're in charge of a one-party state.
But, I guess to stay in the good graces of whatever conservative readership he has left, Brooks badly needs to peddle the fiction that both parties are in equal pain. It makes him, and them, feel better.
What fascinates me about Brooks is that he often comes so close to discovering some elemental truth, and yet every time he somehow manages to molest his discovery. He harbors those old pangs of tribalistic ideology himself, and they're always his undoing.