On MSNBC a little while ago with NYT reporter John Harwood and MSNBC anchor Norah O'Donnell to discuss his recent column on "dignity," Brooks felt compelled to disclose this tawdry bit of personal history, followed by a mind-bogglingly weird rant from Brooks about politicians as emotional freaks. It's an amazing 1:53 of television. The transcript is below:
BROOKS: You know, all three of us spend a lot of time covering politicians and I don’t know about you guys, but in my view, they’re all emotional freaks of one sort or another. They’re guaranteed to invade your personal space, touch you. I sat next to a Republican senator once at dinner and he had his hand on my inner thigh the whole time. I was like, ehh, get me out of here. HARWOOD: What? BROOKS: I can only imagine what happens to you guys. O’DONNELL: Sorry, who was that?
BROOKS: I’m not telling you, I’m not telling you. But so, a lot of them spend so much time needing people’s love and yet they are shooting upwards their whole life, they’re not that great in normal human relationships. And so, they’re like freaks, they don’t know how to, they’re lonely. They reach out. I’ve spoken to a lot of young women who are Senate staffers and they’ll have these middle age guys who are sort of in the middle of a mid-life crisis. Emotionally needy, they don’t know how to do it and sort of like these St. Bernards drooling everywhere. And you find a lot of this happens in mid-life and among very powerful people who are extremely lonely.
O’DONNELL: Can I ask one other question David? Do you think, what about female or women politicians? Are they dignified and are there examples of when they have not? Or does it tend to be the men who less dignified?
BROOKS: Yeah, I think that’s mostly a matter of genetics. I do think that…I do think there’s loneliness.
O’DONNELL: That was just a softball, David, and you really hit it very well.
BROOKS: Yeah, I wish I could think of sort of St. Bernards, sloppy women who are licking their aides, but but no, I can’t think of any.
HARWOOD: I’m not going there.
O’DONNELL: Did you have a couple drinks at lunch, David? I mean, this is clearly--
BROOKS: No, you’ve hit me…I’m trying not to be too dignified and stuffy.
O’DONNELL: Well, David Brooks as always, thank you very much. That was a lot of fun. You may not have gotten best column of the week, but you got best appearance of the week, certainly.
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NOTE: The first person to post an observation of the Brooks interview on MSNBC appears to be a young man named Adam Sorensen, who immediately tweeted his reaction to the Brooks appearance, shortly after 2:00 p.m. today:
David Brooks just now on MSNBC: most pols "lonely... drooling... freaks." Norah O'Donnell: "Have a few drinks before lunch David?"