Second: Remember the Rule of Three. When three big candidates go up against one another, two of them often get into a mutually destructive grudge match and the third skates through to victory. (Right now, the McCain and Romney camps seem set to brawl, leaving Giuliani alone.) Whatever you do, don’t let yourself become one of the duelists.Hillary meet Barack, Barack meet Hillary...
OK, now I depart from any pretense that he's got the big wisdom thing going on. He's back to his "chaos" theory, the world is bad, people, very bad. So his incredible advice seems to be, it's 1968, be Nixon:
Fourth: Be the Change. You are running to lead a traumatized party. Many Republicans think their party can recover from recent setbacks by returning to the old verities: cutting spending, cutting taxes, attacking government bureaucrats.Yes, "Be the Change," he writes. A law and order guy, hey? Brooks has a crush on Giuliani, methinks.
That’s wrong. The world has changed since the glory days of the 1980s, and no amount of Reagan nostalgia will bring those conditions back.
For example, Republicans in the 1980s could win by promising to expand freedom and reduce overbearing government. But today, post-9/11, most Americans aren’t anxious because their freedoms are being impinged. They’re anxious because there’s chaos all around: foreign policy chaos, fiscal chaos, cultural chaos. The authority structures they rely on have let them down.
You need to lead the party to a new definition of Republicanism. This is a Republicanism that can provide safety, order and authority, so people can feel secure enough to pursue their dreams. This doesn’t mean championing a big government. It means championing a strong government that can do the jobs it is supposed to do. (emphasis added)
He's right that people are anxious. And they're anxious about all the things Brooks' enumerates. However, all of the chaos can be largely attributed to Republicans and George W. Bush. The "authority structures" letting people down seems to be Brooks' nebulous way of detaching responsibility from the Republican leadership that's been running Washington since 9/11. Fat chance that's got in succeeding. Now a new Republican leader is supposed to say, hey, we Republicans gave you a disastrous war in Iraq, we let al Qaeda resurge in Afghanistan/Pakistan and hey, we let New Orleans descend into hell...but please give us another chance at fixing chaos.... . Something tells me this is going to be very tough.
His other advice? Pander to the social conservatives (pick 4 programs you and they can agree on!) and come up with a new strategy to win the "war on extremism." Oh, is that all, Dave? Nice try. But what else is a Republican pundit to do these days....