When PBS and NPR "conservative" commentator David Brooks appears on both networks on Fridays, he often repeats his lines. On Friday, on both networks, he repeated his trashing of Newt Gingrich as unqualified to run a 7-Eleven. But he also insisted that conservative talk-radio hosts (which ones?) don't want to touch Medicare and hate the Paul Ryan budget. He named no names. Here's how it came out on the PBS NewsHour:
I happen to think one of the important things Ryan did was, he said, if we're going to be serious, we have to be serious about entitlements. We can't just be for expanding Medicare coverage forever. But there are people in the party on talk radio and also people like Gingrich who have said, we should never, never touch this.
Here's how Brooks said it on NPR's All Things Considered:
This is actually a real debate on the Republican Party. A lot of people are saying that politically it's insane to do what Ryan's doing. I happen to think it's semi-insane but also semi-necessary. But Gingrich didn't come out of nowhere. There's a large talk radio segment saying we should never cut Medicare, we should never cut Medicare, and he was really speaking for that. It's got to be heard in the Republican Party.
That sounds more like his NPR partner, liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, than it sounds like conservative talk radio. Brooks sounded his usual centrist tones on NPR when they discussed Sen. Tom Coburn dropping out of the "Gang of Six" senate budget negotiators: "You know, we have to raise taxes, we have to cut Medicare - or at least tax revenues - and this Gang of Six was the best way to do that. Now, it's hopeless. There's a possibility we'll have a complete meltdown with the debt ceiling this summer. "