Few writers are as transparently enamored with their own intellectual agenda and status as The New York Times' David Brooks, such that even when -- as he did in Friday's column -- his arguments are valid and his claims are sound, it's difficult to trust that his conclusions are about anyone other than himself.
In this column, he discusses a concept he "borrow[s] from Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest" about figures who live "on the edge of inside." (For example, an openly conservative thinker who writes for the historically liberal New York Times, perhaps?)
Such figures "are free from [a group's] central seductions, but also free to hear its core message in very new and creative ways." Not surprising, he imagines that such liminal figures are frequently "the strongest reformer[s]," because they have "the loyalty of a faithful insider, but the judgment of a critical outsider."
He describes the upcoming presidential elections in just these terms:
In any organization there are some people who serve at the core. These insiders are in the rooms when the decisions are made. Hillary Clinton, for example, is now at the core of the Democratic Party.
Then there are outsiders. They throw missiles from beyond the walls. They are untouched by internal loyalties and try to take over from without. Donald Trump is a Republican outsider.
But there’s also a third position in any organization: those who are at the edge of the inside. These people are within the organization, but they’re not subsumed by the group think. They work at the boundaries, bridges and entranceways...