I’ve been pondering for months whether David Brooks is far and away McCain’s most sophisticated operative. He writes a deft put-down of Obama today, commenting en passant about “the cultural issues” and Jeremiah Wright, and noting that “voters want a president who basically shares their values and life experiences.” “How Obama Fell to Earth” is the title of the column.
How amazing that Brooks could restrain himself from writing this stuff until Obama was 80 percent assured of securing the Democratic nomination. It’s not as if Jeremiah Wright appeared on the scene yesterday.
Look at what Brooks was writing about Barack over the past eighteen months. “Obama himself has a mentality formed by globalization, not the S.D.S.. . . He distrusts righteous anger and zeal. . . He does not demonize opponents. . . this style is surely the antidote to the politics of the past several years. . . Obama does not ratchet up hostilities; he restrains them. . . He does not lash out at perceived enemies, but he is aloof from them. . .he pursues liberal ends in gradualist, temperamentally conservative ways. . .Obama also has powers of observation that may mitigate his own inexperience and the isolating pressures of the White House. In the famous essay “Political Judgement,” Isaiah Berlin writes that wise leaders don’t think abstractly. They use powers of close observation to integrate the vast shifting amalgam of data that constitute their own particular situation. . . Obama demonstrated these powers in “Dreams from My Father” and still reveals glimpses of the ability to step outside his own ego and look at reality in uninhibited and honest ways. . .”
Etc. I’ve culled from two Brooks columns, but there were a half-dozen like this.
Democrats read them, and Obamabots frequently used them as evidence for the assertion that Obama was “very appealing” to Republicans.
Now that Obama is more or less the likely nominee, he’s apparently somewhat less appealing, at least to David Brooks. And though a generic Democrat holds a substantial advantage in poll match-up against a generic Republican for the presidential race, Obama holds no advantage in the polls at all.
Brooks is no fool. I doubt he was unaware of the major drawbacks of the Obama candidacy until two months ago. (TAC had published Steve Sailer’s groundbreaking piece on Obama in March 2007, and Rolling Stone had noted Barack’s radical background before that. But Brooks is very much a McCain partisan, an enthusiast for the “McCain Doctrine”– (aptly defined in May American Prospect as “Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran (and Syria, North Korea, maybe Russia. . .)”
So what’s the circuitous route to getting the country to a point where the bombing can begin? Give Obama the Isaiah Berlin fawning treatment, until it’s too late. Or perhaps David Brooks just happened to change his mind as Obama approached the nomination.