The New York Times columnist and everybody's favorite Sunday morning conservative recently wrote this about Andrew Sullivan's latest book:
"When a writer uses quotations from Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and the Left Behind series to capture the religious and political currents in modern America, then I know I can put that piece of writing down because the author either doesn't know what he is talking about or is arguing in bad faith."Brooks was objecting to Sullivan's critique of modern day conservatism in The Conservative Soul, a book that Sullivan pushes with the zeal of an aluminum siding salesman. If Brooks truly believes that theocratic nut jobs haven't defined today's Republican party, then he is in as deep a denial about the GOP as Bush is in about Iraq. But it wasn't always that way. Here's what Brooks wrote about the religious right's influence on US political culture five years ago:
"We in the coastal metro Blue areas read more books and attend more plays than the people in the Red heartland. We're more sophisticated and cosmopolitan - just ask us about our alumni trips to China or Provence, or our interest in Buddhism. But don't ask us, please, what life in Red America is like. We don't know. We don't know who Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins are, even though the novels they have co-written have sold about 40 million copies over the past few years. We don't know what James Dobson says on his radio program, which is listened to by millions."So what's changed since 2001?