DAVID BROOKS’ INNER THIGH…. The New York Times’ David Brooks had a column this week lamenting the breakdown of “the dignity code” in national politics, and expressing hope that President Obama — who “exemplifies reticence, dispassion and the other traits associated with dignity” — may “revitalize the concept of dignity for a new generation.”

He explored this thought in more detail on MSNBC yesterday, and shared an interesting anecdote with Norah O’Donnell and John Harwood.

“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.’”

When O’Donnell inquired about Brooks’ dinner companion, the columnist replied, “I’m not telling you; I’m not telling you.”

Hmm. There are 40 Republican senators; four are women. Several of the remaining 36 don’t interact much with the media elite, don’t attend dinners with David Brooks, and can probably be ruled out.

This shouldn’t be too tough to figure out.

Getting back to Brooks’ column, here’s how it started:

When George Washington was a young man, he copied out a list of 110 “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” Some of the rules in his list dealt with the niceties of going to a dinner party or meeting somebody on the street.

“Lean not upon anyone,” was one of the rules.

I guess we know why Brooks started with that rule, in particular.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.