This week David Brooks is on the subject of VP picks, and the overall thesis of his column is a good one, specifically that vice presidents seem to have much more effect on a president's administration than they do on his campaign.
But here's where David Brooks the nonpartisan sociologist elides seamlessly into David Brooks the right wing apparatchik. According to Brooks, Barack Obama needs a VP who can overcome all his myriad failures, from his inexperience to his naivety to the lack of substance in his strategy to the fact that he can't really bring people together. John McCain, meanwhile, just needs someone who can help him with problems in "the climate" and with other "forces." Don'tcha just love Republican weather metaphors? "There's a lot of partisanship in the air in Washington, and the climate is not conducive to our party getting elected. Nothing that's our fault, of course, it's not like we did anything to tarnish our brand! It's just the weather, ya know, out there." Unlike Barack Obama, the f**kup of the ages, the Crazy Train has no failures or weaknesses, apparently. Just some climactic issues, that's all!
And, of course, once you've bitten through the nonpartisan observer coating with the subtle "Democrats suck worse" flavor, you get to the creamy, concern troll shell, where Brooks genuinely, seriously, without any duplicity or ulterior motives (honest to God!) suggests that Obama, the "change we can believe in" candidate, pick Democratic brahmin has-been and failure Tom Daschle, while John McCain choose rising star, charismatic Tim Pawlenty. Seriously, Brooks says McCain should pick a successful governor with a lot of appeal (from a swing state, mind you), while Obama should pick a former Senate minority leader and partisan lightning rod from a safe GOP state who not only couldn't keep the Democrats on top in the Senate but who failed to hold onto his own seat while he was Minority Leader. Daschle's wife, by the way, is a federal lobbyist, but I'm sure that had nothing to do with Brooks' choice. I mean, it's not like her presence would nullify one of Barack's biggest advantages over McCain.
And the best part: whether the candidates pick Brooks' choices is a way to measure "who is thinking seriously about how to succeed in the White House." Take that, Democrats!