Matthew Yglesias: More Brooks Elaborations Needed: Today, David Brooks: “The Republicans are intellectually unfit to govern right now . . .” This follows on last week’s Brooks: “There simply aren’t enough Republican experts left to staff an administration, so he will have to throw together a hodgepodge with independents and Democrats.”... I wish he would elaborate a bit on these particular points that he’s kind of tossing off. If prominent conservatives think Republicans are intellectually unfit to govern and the party lacks experts, that seems noteworthy — not just something you should mention offhand to support a larger thesis.
David Brooks: If I were McCain, I’d make the divided government argument explicit. The Republicans are intellectually unfit to govern right now, but balancing with Democrats, they might be able to do some good. I’d have McCain tell the country that he looks forward to working with Congressional Democrats, that he is confident they can achieve great things together...
If McCain is elected, he will face conditions tailor-made to foster disorder. He will be leading a divided and philosophically exhausted party. There simply aren’t enough Republican experts left to staff an administration, so he will have to throw together a hodgepodge with independents and Democrats. He will confront Democratic majorities that will be enraged and recriminatory. On top of these conditions, he will have his own freewheeling qualities: a restless, thrill-seeking personality, a tendency to personalize issues, a tendency to lead life as a string of virtuous crusades. He really needs someone to impose a policy structure on his moral intuitions. He needs a very senior person who can organize a vast administration and insist that he tame his lone-pilot tendencies and work through the established corridors — the National Security Council, the Domestic Policy Council. He needs a near-equal who can turn his instincts, which are great, into a doctrine that everybody else can predict and understand. Rob Portman or Bob Gates wouldn’t have been politically exciting, but they are capable of performing those tasks. Palin, for all her gifts, is not. She underlines McCain’s strength without compensating for his weaknesses. The real second fiddle job is still unfilled.