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The Brooks-Obama Lovefest(ering)

From, of all places, The New Republic:

The Courtship – The story behind the Obama-Brooks bromance

Gabriel Sherman
August 31, 2009

In the spring of 2005, New York Times columnist David Brooks arrived at then-Senator Barack Obama’s office for a chat. Brooks, a conservative writer who joined the Times in 2003 from The Weekly Standard, had never met Obama before. But, as they chewed over the finer points of Edmund Burke, it didn’t take long for the two men to click. “I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging,” Brooks recently told me, “but usually when I talk to senators, while they may know a policy area better than me, they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me. I got the sense he knew both better than me.”

That first encounter is still vivid in Brooks’s mind. “I remember distinctly an image of–we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,” Brooks says, “and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” In the fall of 2006, two days after Obama’s The Audacity of Hope hit bookstores, Brooks published a glowing Times column. The headline was “Run, Barack, Run.”

These days, the center-right Brooks frequently seems more sympathetic toward Obama than the liberal Paul Krugman. He has written columns praising Obama’s Afghanistan policy, education proposals, and economic team. Even on broad areas of disagreement–deficit spending, the sprawling stimulus bill, health care reform–Brooks tends to treat Obama and his administration with respect. “My overall view,” Brooks told me, “is ninety-five percent of the decisions they make are good and intelligent. Whether I agree with them specifically, I think they’re very serious and very good at what they do.” It is an odd situation to say the least: David Brooks, prominent conservative, has become the most visible journalistic ally of arguably the most liberal president of his lifetime.

How did this happen? During the 1990s, Brooks was closely identified with national-greatness conservatism–a set of ideas that he touted in a widely discussed cover story for The Weekly Standard–which, in turn, was closely linked to the insurgent McCain campaign of 2000. But, whereas McCain and Bill Kristol (Brooks’s boss at The Weekly Standard) eventually put aside the bitterness of that primary contest and returned to the loyal Republican fold, Brooks has kept a certain distance from movement conservatism…

Brooks concedes that his place on the political spectrum has shifted somewhat over the years. “I used to think conservatives were right about the big things–the Soviet Union, economic growth,” he explains. “Now, on a lot of issues, I think liberals have been right about some big things, like rising inequality. Both sides of the education divide are within the Democratic Party. . . . The Republicans are sitting this one out. And, then, the war in Iraq has caused me to rethink things in a much more modest [way], and that is Burkean, too.”

He recognizes something similar in the current president. “Obama sees himself as a Burkean,” Brooks says. “He sees his view of the world as a view that understands complexity and the organic nature of change.” Moreover, after the Bush years, Brooks seems relieved to have an intellectual in the White House again. “I divide people into people who talk like us and who don’t talk like us,” he explains. “Of recent presidents, Clinton could sort of talk like us, but Obama is definitely–you could see him as a New Republic writer. He can do the jurisprudence, he can do the political philosophy, and he can do the politics. I think he’s more talented than anyone in my lifetime. I mean, he is pretty dazzling when he walks into a room. So, that’s why it’s important he doesn’t fuck [sic] this up.”

White House officials have gone out of their way to cater to Brooks recently. Take Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, whose career Brooks kept a close eye on after he graduated from the University of Chicago in 1983 and took a job at the City News Bureau, a Chicago wire service. At the time, Axelrod was the lead City Hall reporter for the Chicago Tribune. “I followed his career because he was who I wanted to be,” Brooks told me. “He was a hero.” The two finally crossed paths in 2004, when Axelrod was working for John Edwards. And, this April, as the keynote speaker at The Week magazine’s opinion awards ceremony–where Brooks was honored–Axelrod showered the columnist with praise, calling him a “serious public thinker” in an era of “insipid, instant commentary and one-hour news cycles.” …        

Even though this is an article from the New Republic, there might still be a grain or two of truth in it.

After all, there must be some explanation for why Mr. Brooks is the way he is.

That is, apart from him being a lickspittle hireling of the New York Times who feels compelled to do their bidding.

By the way, we assume that the ‘bromance’ in the headline was intentional.

If only we were on a higher plane so that we could understand such erudite humor.

Heck, maybe then we could also comprehend why Mr. Brooks is even considered to be a conservative in some quarters.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, September 1st, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “The Brooks-Obama Lovefest(ering)”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    You gotta be kidding me? There is no waaaaaaay he is a conservative!

    Is Chris Mathews jealous?

  2. proreason says:

    The major division in this country isn’t between Conservatives and Liberals.

    The major division is between people who work hard to make a living, and those who don’t.

    Brooks is one of the “elites” who presume to rule without actually working. The fact that he calls himself a conservative is irrelevant. He is simply an arrogant lazy man. That he would align himself with Obamy, who has never worked a day in his life, but demands to rule us all, isn’t a surprise. It’s to be expected.

    The “elites” are allied with a large segment of people who prefer to live by confiscating the fruits of the labor of others. They range from Welfare Queens, who do no work whatsoever, to union thugs, who work but demand outsized rewards for their efforts. In between, you have slip-and-fall lawyers, criminals, pimps, college professors, “media”, and an entire array of other types who seek to maximize their comfort at the expense of others. To refer to them by a single phrase, use the word “democrats”.

    The division between workers and lazy asses supercedes every other division that is bandied about in the media, including racists/non-racists, liberals/conservatives, and socialists/capitalists.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      I don’t know about you pro but after what I just read, I feel the need to gargle with mouthwash!

    • Colonel1961 says:

      ‘The major division is between people who work hard to make a living, and those who don’t.’

      Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner here!

  3. Hope springs eternal. Mr. Brooks did not imitate Chris Matthews with a leg tinkle of his own.

  4. P. Aaron says:

    David Brooks professional journalist??????!!!!! The guys a twit! Nothing more, nothing less.

  5. MinnesotaRush says:

    Will Mr Brooks be going to Oz with the Scarecrow to get a brain?

    One of the greatest shots in that movie was when Dorothy told the Scarecrow that he must have a brain because he was talking. The Scarecrow responded to Dorothy with, “Oh no, Dorothy! There’s a lot of people that do a lot of talking that don’t have a brain!”. A classic!

  6. neocon mom says:

    The irony here is…Brooks reeks to me of someone who just really wants to be accepted by his liberal NY colleagues. You can just imagine how he probably invited some folks over from New York Magazine, TNR, et al to his pad for some drinks one night. You can imagine Brooks just going on and on about Obama (can’t see him tossing the f-bomb while sober) and these guys rolling on the floor when he got up to use the can. Wonder how long they held back on all of this…


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