David Brooks, one of two “resident conservatives” at the New York Times, has drawn all kinds of liberal attention to himself this week with a column headlined, “I Miss Barack Obama.”
Brooks argues that Obama has so much more “grace” than those who are competing to replace him in 2017. This is, by the way, the same David Brooks who gushed in 2009 that what had impressed him most about Obama was “his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant.”
What is more astonishing about Brooks’s column is that it is news at all. This so-called “conservative intellectual” has been flattering Obama, and bashing conservatives, for the better part of a decade.
In October 2008–before the first ballots had been cast–Brooks said that then-vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin “represents a fatal cancer to the Republican party” because she seemed to “scorn ideas entirely.”
(Ideas like perfectly creased pants, for example.)
Think about that for a moment. Brooks, the genteel conservative of the Times op-ed page, compared a Republican governor to a terrible, fatal disease.
It takes a certain kind of character to do that–and not a noble one.
Look closely at his latest paean to Obama, and it is soon clear that Brooks’s intellectual pretensions are as fraudulent as his highbrow manners. He writes as if he is totally ignorant about the events of the last seven years. Either that, or just dishonest.
“The Obama administration has been remarkably scandal-free,” he begins.
The Benghazi scandal, which haunts the presidential race, does not count? How about the IRS scandal? Or the VA scandal, in which veterans died waiting for treatment?
Brooks contrasts Obama to Hillary Clinton, who always has to explain some “vaguely shady shortcut.” Fine. In which administration were those shortcuts–a private email server, the Clinton Foundation cash–taken?
Brooks goes on to argue that unlike Donald Trump, Obama has “a sense of basic humanity.”
His proof? Instead of calling for a ban on Muslim immigrants, Obama “gave a wonderful speech” at a mosque.
Dennis Prager called that speech “morally and intellectually confused and even untrue.” But aside from its troubling content, the speech was a reminder that Obama is eager to please Muslims while ignoring victims of Islamic terror. He skipped the Paris memorial last year to victims of a “random” attack. He only made time for the San Bernardino families on his way to a Hawaii vacation.
Next, Brooks praises “soundness in [Obama’s] decision-making process.” That decision-making process has a name: she is called Valerie Jarrett, and she is the reason the best and brightest of the early days quit well before Obama’s first term was over. Since then, his “decision-making process” has been panned, openly, by many of them.
Brooks continues, admiring Obama’s “grace under pressure”–this, about a man who went to sleep while Americans were fighting for their lives in Benghazi–and Obama’s “resilient sense of optimism.”
Remember the “parade of horribles” with which Obama sought to frighten the nation into ending the budget sequester he himself had proposed? Obama’s dire predictions, which failed to come true, were covered extensively by a newspaper called the New York Times.
“To hear [Bernie] Sanders or Trump, Cruz and Ben Carson campaign is to wallow in the pornography of pessimism, to conclude that this country is on the verge of complete collapse,” Brooks writes.
Perhaps nothing has changed for him, or for the elites with whom he dines. The spending continues again in Washington; “quantitative easing” has kept Wall Street afloat. But nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the country is heading in the wrong direction.
That is the legacy Obama has left America–the “grace” that Brooks says he will miss.
He adds: “Let’s put it this way: Imagine if Barack and Michelle Obama joined the board of a charity you’re involved in. You’d be happy to have such people in your community. Could you say that comfortably about Ted Cruz?”
What does Brooks actually know about Ted or Heidi Cruz?
He does not say what is wrong with them. He leaves that ad hominem attack hanging, as if it ought to be obvious just what horrible people they must be that even their charity is no good.
Recall one of the charity boards in which Obama became heavily involved in Chicago. It was the Woods Fund, where Obama and his perfectly creased pant sat alongside unrepentant former terrorist Bill Ayers and doled out cash to pet radical projects.
Would you want to sit on that board with Obama? Maybe David Brooks would.