Friday, October 03, 2008

Columnist Brooks says GOP is 'a small-town party'

The Republican Party has become a small-town party, to its detriment, conservative columnist David Brooks, right, said tonight on PBS NewsHour.

"I think Sarah Palin did very fine last night by her own standards, but this has become -- the Republican Party has become a small-town party, running against -- as Sarah Palin did last night -- against big cities, against the East Coast, to some extent, against newspaper readers," Brooks said. Yes, newspaper readers.

"I understand why they're doing it, running against Washington. This is the way Republicans do populism," he said. "But in the long run, it's poisonous and self-destructive. You cannot be a majority party in this country if the coasts don't like you and people who read newspapers don't like you. And they have narrowed themselves. And I thought McCain was going to be a chance to reach out beyond the traditional red, rural America. And he's not taking that up. And with Sarah Palin, short-term gain last night, but long-term turning people off."

Brooks also said John McCain's campaign wanted to run a non-traditional campaign that reached out to the poor in rural areas, but abandoned that when it failed to get media coverage. "Their model of the campaign was the poverty tour McCain took early in the race, where he went through the southeast, mostly, in Appalachia and other places, and ran as a new kind of Republican. And as they would say is, 'We got zero stories on the network news out of that. We learned early on, if we don't attack Obama, we do not get on the news. And, therefore, we had to attack Obama. We had to run this kind of campaign.' That's -- that would be essentially be their argument."
For a transcript of Brooks and liberal commentator Mark Shields' conversation with host Jim Lehrer, click here.

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