Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Captive "conservative" on the liberal plantation speaks...

David Brooks, who now writes an opinion column for the New York Times, is one of the nominally Rebuplican, allegedly conservative writers who supported Obama last fall, largely on classist lines. He has been, ever since the election, trying to justify that support. In doing so, he continues to perpetuate the myth, which was obviously a myth to those not as well-tied in to the east coast liberal media elite as David Brooks, that Obama was a centrist, running on centrist principles, with a centrist temperament.

His column from yesterday, in which he attempts to explain Obama's plummeting approval ratings, has attracted a fair bit of attention. Primarily because of comments like this:
Obama’s challenge was to push his agenda through a Democratic-controlled government while retaining the affection of the 39 percent of Americans in the middle. The administration hasn’t been able to pull it off. From the stimulus to health care, it has joined itself at the hip to the liberal leadership in Congress. The White House has failed to veto measures, like the pork-laden omnibus spending bill, that would have demonstrated independence and fiscal restraint. By force of circumstances and by design, the president has promoted one policy after another that increases spending and centralizes power in Washington.

The New York Times, no matter how much of a joke some of us think it is, maintains it reputation as the place to go for what's going on in the world. There still may not be a more prestigious bit of newspaper "real estate" than the Times' op/ed page. And when you turn to it, this is the kind of nonsense that you get.

Why is it nonsense? Let us count the ways...
  1. "Obama’s challenge was to push his agenda through a Democratic-controlled government..." Well, Obama's a Democrat. He wants the same sorts of things that the rest of the Democrats want. He's a newly elected President, with both houses of Congress controlled by his party, with large margins on the strength of his coattails. The idea that it's a "challenge" to "push his agenda through" is uncommonly silly.


  2. "...push his agenda through ... while retaining the affection of the 39 percent of Americans in the middle..." His agenda is a far left agenda. It was obvious (though not, apparently, to David Brooks) before the election that it would be. It's one thing to run as a centrist and garner the affection of the "middle;" it's something else entirely to attempt to implement a liberal agenda and maintain that affection. In other words, what Brooks is saying he hasn't done is something that was un-doable. It would be like Sherman attempting to "push his agenda" through a Union-controlled army while "retaining the affection" of middle class Georgians. The two goals are mutually exclusive. Of course he "hasn’t been able to pull it off." It was un-pull-off-able.


  3. "From the stimulus to health care, it has joined itself at the hip to the liberal leadership in Congress." Brooks is within shouting distance of a legitimate point here. Some (a really tiny, small) fraction of his problems stem from his letting the Congressional Democrats do the heavy lifting. He has allowed the far less appealing faces of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank and Chuck Schumer become the faces of his initiatives. That said, the initiatives aren't failing because Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank and Chuch Schumer are the faces of "change," they're failing because the Democrats, including Barack Obama, want to restructure the relationship between the government and the people in a way that the people don't want. And he isn't "joined ... at the hip to the liberal leadership in Congress" because he has failed tactically, or because he's been "rolled" by the House - he's joined at the hip because he is a liberal who wants the same things, and believes in the same policies, as the liberals in Congress.


  4. "The White House has failed to veto measures, like the pork-laden omnibus spending bill, that would have demonstrated independence and fiscal restraint." Yes, David. That's very true. Why do you suppose it failed to veto the porkulus bill? Because this President and this White House wanted that omnibus spending bill. Guess what - he won't veto a health care bill, either, no matter how much the citizens of the country don't want it. Not because it will be something foisted upon him by the Congress, but because he wants it.


  5. "By force of circumstances..." I love this one. It's like the Clinton-era formulation, "mistakes were made." Not "I made mistakes," not ever, but "mistakes were made." Poor Barack is just the victim of life's circumstances. "He's depraved on account'a he's deprived."


  6. "the president has promoted one policy after another that increases spending and centralizes power in Washington..." He sure has. I'd bet money, if I had any left, that this trend will continue into the future. Here's a clue, David - it's not a bug. It's a feature...

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