The hole in David Brooks’s column

David Brooks devoted his New York Times column yesterday to judging Sarah Palin’s qualification to be vice president. My friend Steve Hayward, to whose Weekly Standard article Brooks’s column in part responds, comments here.

Brooks finds Governor Palin wanting in terms of experience and the prudence that experience might foster. The kind of experience in government that Brooks describes is certainly needed in senior administration officials, high cabinet officers and others. But the United States has not had such an experienced man as president since Eisenhower, though a case might be made on Brooks’s terms for Nixon as well.

Nevertheless, the man in the race who really answers to Brooks’ desiderata is McCain. If Brooks’s desiderata tell against Sarah Palin as vice president, they utterly rule out Barack Obama as president. They call for John McCain’s election as president. Yet Brooks’s column remains silent about the more important question as to the presidential race that is raised by his column.

Why the reticence? Perhaps limitations of space prevented Brooks from applying the principles he advances in his column to the more important question. But I should think the question merits at least an acknowledgement in passing.

Is Brooks’s silence attributable to the kind of prudence that he enjoins on his readers with regard to the vice presidential candidates? Perhaps Brooks is engaged writing esoterically, requiring the philosophical readers to apply his argument to the case that Brooks himself does not feel free to address openly as a New York Times columnist.

If Brooks does not fear the consequences of expressly applying his principles to the presidential candidates in the pages of the New York Times, he will surely return to the subject some time soon, well before election day. Right?

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