Friday, February 12, 2010


Last summer, The New Republic reported on the way the Obama White House has courted David Brooks. If that were working out swimmingly for Team Obama, then Brooks would be holding his fire and offering Obama support. If it were working out semi-swimmingly, Brooks would be critical, but wouldn't be framing the issues with full-on wingnut bullet points.

Judging from today's Brooks column, it's working out as well as the rest of the White House's outreach -- Brooks is disgusted and his framing is pure Fox News:

The stimulus package, the cap-and-trade legislation and the health care bill were all blends of expert planning and political power-broking. This project would have permanently changed government's role in national life.

... The country has reacted harshly to the course the administration ended up embracing. Obama is still admired personally, but every major proposal -- from the stimulus to health care -- is quite unpopular. Independent voters have swung against the administration. Voters are not reacting to the particulars of each bill. They are reacting against the total activist onslaught.

This is a crock. A lot of voters are reacting to an "activist onslaught" invented by right-wing demagogues. Obama has czars! Obama wants permanent control of the banking industry! Obama wants permanent control of the auto industry! Obama wants government-run health care! ACORN and Fannie and Freddie caused the financial meltdown, and the bank bailouts are an extension of the evil liberal Democratic monkeying with money! Every one of these is a lie, of course. Obama's being attacked for creating monsters he didn't actually create.

That covers the clueless, gullible, and paranoid people who don't like Obama. As for the other voters who've soured on him, they actually like cap-and-trade -- 60% approval in an October CNN poll. And we know that while they hate the health care bill -- or what they think the health care bill is -- they like most of the things it sets out to do, and would like them done.

They're angry about the stimulus/bailout combo-pak because the bank bailout lifted all bankers' yachts while the stimulus didn't seem to lift anyone else's boat. (It kept a few boats from sinking, but that wasn't enough, and the White House never sells that point.)

I'll spare you Brooks's list of ways that Obama can change course and save his presidency -- all you need to know is one item:

Third, Obama could serve as a one-man model for bipartisan behavior....

What the hell? As opposed to what? His current damn-the-opposition stance? Jesus Christ -- short of running out into the Alaskan tundra and allowing Sarah Palin to shoot him from a helicopter, I don't know how much more deference he can show.

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