In his Tuesday New York Times column, David Brooks addressed the problem currently ailing conservatives both here and abroad — namely, that if they “want to elect a leader, [they] generally have two choices: a sensible, establishment figure who is completely out of touch, or a populist outsider who is incompetent, crazy or both.”

Instead of identifying this phenomenon as a bed of their own making and demanding that they lie in it, Brooks puts forward the radical theory that “[s]omething fundamental is shifting in our politics” — but declines to identify what that “[s]omething” is, or where is was, simply noting that whatever and wherever it was, it’s moving in the direction of “no-nonsense women”:

The big historical context is this: Something fundamental is shifting in our politics. The insiders can’t see it. Outsiders get thrown up amid the tumult, but they are too marginal, eccentric and inexperienced to lead effectively.

Without much enthusiasm, many voters seem to be flocking to tough, no-nonsense women who at least seem sensible: Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton and, now, the Conservative Party front-runner, Theresa May…

Read the rest at The New York Times…

Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at