Patio Man, meet Ben the Angry Voter. David Brooks is busy inventing American archetypes again. (For a primer on his Patio Man from a while back, see here and here.) This time, it's Ben, an average guy who for years lived a non-flashy but "satisfying, moral" way of life in the suburbs. Then he saw Washington rewarding the reckless and lost faith in the system. "When Ben looked around for leaders who might understand his outrage, he only found them among the ideological hard-liners," Brooks writes in the New York Times. (Tea party, anyone?)
Poor guy: "In a few years’ time, Ben is going to be disappointed again," writes Brooks. "He’s going to find that he and voters like him unwittingly created a political culture in which compromise is impermissible. ... Nothing will get done." Maybe by then, moderates will have found a way to lure back guys like him, reviving "a tradition that uses government to encourage work, to reward work, and to uphold the values at the core of Ben’s life."