July 11, 2015

From this Friday's the PBS Newshour, weekly regular David Brooks proves to America once again that he's one of the most overpaid bloviators on television. Here's Bobo doing his best to give Bloody Bill Kristol a run for his money on who can be wrong more often and still keep their jobs, while discussing the Democratic presidential primary race.

JUDY WOODRUFF: I want to ask you about one other thing, and that is the Democratic presidential contest.

I interviewed Jimmy Carter, former President Jimmy Carter, on this program last night. And among other things, he complimented, David, Bernie Sanders. He said he’s been bolder than Hillary Clinton when it comes to income inequality and other liberal issues.

How do you see that? We have been talking about this for several weeks now, about how Sanders is drawing bigger crowds. How do you see this dynamic playing out, Bernie Sanders playing to the left of the party and what it’s doing to the Clinton campaign?

DAVID BROOKS: Well, it is and always has been a university crowd left in this country, a progressive element at our many fine universities. And he’s playing to that element.

But that element is not big. It’s not even big within the Democratic Party. He doesn’t get the working class. He doesn’t get the suburban voter. He doesn’t, by and large, get African-American and Latino voters. So there is a huge ceiling on what he can do.

And for Hillary Clinton to be fearing him strikes me as wrongheaded. She’s still the overwhelming favorite, no matter how big of crowds he can get in university towns. Second, she has to be aware that she lives in a country where people are quite suspicious of government, more suspicious of government than they are business.

And, in my view, on substantive grounds aside, just political grounds, if she goes over and seems like a very conventional big government liberal, it is going to be much easier for any Republican to run against her, because this is not a country that is sanguine about government power.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But you’re saying that is maybe where she’s headed. Is that what you see?

E.J. DIONNE: Well, first of all, Bernie, I have been saying, is like “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” except he’s a socialist from Vermont with a Brooklyn accent.


E.J. DIONNE: But there is a kind of authenticity. The guy gets up there and you know he’s saying exactly what he thinks. He’s always said these things. I think that appeals to lots of people.

And one area I would disagree with David on is that I think he will get working-class votes. There’s a lot of — and he has gotten working-class in Vermont and he will get a lot of union locals, even as national locals — endorse Hillary Clinton.

I think there is a ceiling. I agree with that. I don’t think he is going to win the nomination, but he could — it’s not inconceivable to me that he could win both in Iowa and New Hampshire. Hillary Clinton got only less than a third of the vote in Iowa the last time she ran.

And he’s very close to New Hampshire. So, I think those races could be tight. I think, as it goes forward, I think Clinton will still win the nomination. And on the government point…

JUDY WOODRUFF: Even if she were to lose in Iowa and New Hampshire?

E.J. DIONNE: Yes. I think she would still win the nomination.

And it’s unlikely she will lose both. I’m just saying that is a possibility we shouldn’t write off. In terms of the government thing, she is going to give a speech on Monday that is a very progressive speech about what government can do for people.

I think the public’s view is ambivalent. And Stan Greenberg has it right. The voters would like the government to do a lot of stuff. They don’t trust it very much. She has got to solve that riddle.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Quick last word.

DAVID BROOKS: If she — she’s going to have an early childhood piece in that piece Monday. If she sticks to that, fine. That’s getting people into the marketplace, so they can have an opportunity to compete. If she begins to seem to be meddling in the marketplace and capitalism, I do think people will recoil.

JUDY WOODRUFF: We will all be listening. We have been listening to you both.

He may have a point on Sanders' overall chances in the primary and whether or not he's connecting with African-American voters, but to claim that he "doesn't get the working class" is just patently ridiculous. I said it when he first entered the race and I'll say it again, underestimate him at your peril.

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