NYT's 'Moderate' David Brooks Wrong about GOP, Says Heritage Foundation President

November 25, 2008 - 6:51 PM
Political analysis by New York Times columnist David Brooks that the Republican Party will continue to face defeat if it veers to the right are incorrect, Dr. Edwin Feulner, president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, told CNSNews.com on Tuesday.

Dr. Edwin Feulner, president of the conservative Heritage Foundation

(CNSNews.com) - Political analysis by New York Times columnist David Brooks that the Republican Party will continue to face defeat if it veers to the right are incorrect, Dr. Edwin Feulner, president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, told CNSNews.com on Tuesday.
 
“No, I certainly don’t agree” with Brooks’ view about the GOP veering to the political right and suffering “defeat after defeat,” said Feulner. “The Republican Party was founded on a certain sense of principles, and those principles are basically conservative principles.
 
“Yes, we do believe in the power of the people, by the people, and for the people, but we also believe that limited government is good. We believe in traditional values, in a strong national defense, and the unity of what our country is all about.”
 
Brooks, who described himself as being "at the moderate edge" of conservatism, wrote in a post-election column that while conservatives in the GOP may experience a period of ascendancy now, the real future of the Republican Party lies in embracing moderates, or what Brooks calls "reformers."
 
The battle is on between the "traditionalists" and the "reformers," said Brooks. Traditionalists include people such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, he said, while reformers include people such as David Frum, Ross Douthat and Brooks.  
 
"To regain power, the Traditionalists argue, the G.O.P. should return to its core ideas: Cut government, cut taxes, restrict immigration. Rally behind Sarah Palin," Brooks wrote in his Nov. 11 column. But while "the Republican Party will probably veer right in the years ahead," he said, it will "suffer more defeats.” 
 
“Then, finally, some new reformist donors and organizers will emerge,” wrote Brooks. “They will build new institutions, new structures and new ideas, and the cycle of conservative ascendance will begin again.”
 
Feulner dismissed Brooks’ predictions by saying that he thinks the columnist sometimes tries to “stir up the right.” Feulner added, in jest, that Brooks must have drunk too much Manhattan water, and he suggested that Brooks cross the Hudson River to “get a little more sensible.”
 
Earlier in his remarks, Feulner said the media are often guilty of equating Republicans with conservatives, although they are not the same thing.
 
Feulner said he is trying to arrange a meeting with Brooks in the near-future to tell him about some of the “new and neat ideas” that are coming out of the conservative movement in terms of empowering people.
 
Brooks, who many consider to be the sole “center-right” columnist for The New York Times, referred to Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as a “fatal cancer to the Republican Party” while speaking at an Oct. 6 event sponsored by The Atlantic magazine.