Somebody around here claimed David Brooks wasn't as dumb as Thomas Friedman
I propose that when he appears to be even a little smart, he's just coughing up Washington-cocktail-party CW. When he thinks about things on his own, it comes out really stupid. Remember, he's responsible for the whole Red America/Blue America idea, which is substantively false even if it appears superficially compelling.
Either that or he's deliberately disingenuous all the time. I don't think that's a distinction that matters. Both are performatively stupid.