David Brooks Misses Barack Obama?  It's Like A Dream....
February 10, 2016

Remember the movie Inception?

Well dreams, they feel real while we're in them, right? It's only when we wake up that we realize how things are actually strange. Let me ask you a question, you, you never really remember the beginning of a dream do you? You always wind up right in the middle of what's going on.

-- Cobb, Inception

So I bit into my King cake and what Fat Tuesday prize to I find waiting for me?

This column by Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times!

I Miss Barack Obama

And what a confection it is.

Yet another David Brooks-brand indiscriminate public Both Siderist fragging of everyone and everything in sight --

Think of the way Iran-contra or the Lewinsky scandals swallowed years from Reagan and Clinton...

Hillary Clinton is constantly having to hold these defensive press conferences when she’s trying to explain away some vaguely shady shortcut she’s taken, or decision she has made, but Obama has not had to do that...

There are all sorts of unsightly characters floating around politics, including in the Clinton camp and in Gov. Chris Christie’s administration. This sort has been blocked from team Obama...

Second, a sense of basic humanity. Donald Trump has spent much of this campaign vowing to block Muslim immigration. You can only say that if you treat Muslim Americans as an abstraction. President Obama, meanwhile...

 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?...

Obama’s basic approach is to promote his values as much as he can within the limits of the situation. Bernie Sanders, by contrast, has been so blinded by his values that the reality of the situation does not seem to penetrate his mind...

Fifth, a resilient sense of optimism. To hear Sanders or Trump, Cruz and Ben Carson campaign is to wallow in the pornography of pessimism,..

-- except, of course, his favorite GOP Chia pet, Marco Rubio, who Mr. Brooks considers simply and adorably "normal":

I happen to find it charming that Marco Rubio gets nervous on the big occasions — that he grabs for the bottle of water, breaks out in a sweat and went robotic in the last debate. It shows Rubio is a normal person.

What has set the internets abuzz is that this time Mr. Brooks delivered his shopworn, Both Siderism claptrap baked into a Uriah-Heepish paean to Barack Obama's wonderfulness.

Obama radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I’m beginning to miss...

But what Mr. Brooks is really offering his readers is not merely another fat slice of Both Siderist sludge, nor a wistful tip-of-the-hat to the sterling character of President Barack Obama.

What Mr. Brooks is offering his readers a delusion.  A dream.  The same dream he has been building for them for years.  A dream which never has beginning or an end.  A dream in which none of the dreamers can ever quite seem to remember how they got there, or why things are the way they are. Instead, because they are so deeply invested in the delusion Mr. Brooks is selling. they accept each discrete episode of the delusion immediately and at face value rather than asking even the most fundamental questions.

Questions about actions and consequences over the course of the the last 30 years,  Questions about who has actually been right all along about critically important issues, and who has actually been wrong all along.  Very, very basic questions -- fucking Journalism 101 questions -- like "Where exactly are we now?"  and "How the Hell did we get here?"

And the reason these questions are never asked is because the entire Beltway scam would collapse of its own internal illogic like a souffle in a fracking-zone if people routinely started doing crazy, rude, vituperative, heretical things like, say, comparing what David Brooks said today about Barack Obama with the things David Brooks has said in the past about Barack Obama:

David Brooks today:

People are motivated to make wise choices more by hope and opportunity than by fear, cynicism, hatred and despair. Unlike many current candidates, Obama has not appealed to those passions.

David Brooks, September 19, 2011 

 The president is sounding like the Al Gore for President campaign, but without the earth tones. Tax increases for the rich! Protect entitlements! People versus the powerful! I was hoping the president would give a cynical nation something unconventional, but, as you know, I’m a sap.

David Brooks today:

But over the course of this campaign it feels as if there’s been a decline in behavioral standards across the board. Many of the traits of character and leadership that Obama possesses, and that maybe we have taken too much for granted, have suddenly gone missing or are in short supply.

David Brooks, April 30, 2012:

 So far this year, both President Obama and Mitt Romney seem more passionate about denying the other side victory than about any plank in their own agendas. Both campaigns have developed contempt for their opponent, justifying their belief that everything, then, is permitted...

The slam made Clinton look small, it made Obama look small, it turned a moment of genuine accomplishment into a political ploy, but it did follow the rules of gangland: At every second, attack; at every opportunity, drive a shiv between the ribs.

This martial-, gangland-style of campaigning apparently makes the people in the campaigns feel hardheaded, professional and Machiavellian. But it’s not clear that it’s actually the best way to win an election.


Gone is much awareness of the world outside the campaign. All focus is on the news blip of the moment — answering volley for volley.  If they bring a knife, you bring a gun. If they throw a bomb, you throw two...

Both sides are extraordinarily willing to flout respectability to show that they are tough enough to bare the knuckles...

David Brooks today:

He and his staff have generally behaved with basic rectitude.

David Brooks, September 19, 2011 

In his remarks Monday the president didn’t try to win Republicans to even some parts of his measures. He repeated the populist cries that fire up liberals but are designed to enrage moderates and conservatives.

David Brooks today:

He and his wife have not only displayed superior integrity themselves, they have mostly attracted and hired people with high personal standards.

David Brooks, September 19, 2011

Yes, I’m a sap. I believed Obama when he said he wanted to move beyond the stale ideological debates that have paralyzed this country. 

David Brooks today:

He’s exuded this basic care and respect for the dignity of others time and time again.

David Brooks, September 19, 2011

This wasn’t a speech to get something done. This was the sort of speech that sounded better when Ted Kennedy was delivering it.


We’re not going to simplify the tax code, but by God Obama’s going to raise taxes on rich people who give to charity! We’ve got to do something to reduce the awful philanthropy surplus plaguing this country!

David Brooks today:

Third, a soundness in his decision-making process.

David Brooks, September 19, 2011:

But remember, I’m a sap. The White House has clearly decided that in a town of intransigent Republicans and mean ideologues, it has to be mean and intransigent too. The president was stung by the liberal charge that he was outmaneuvered during the debt-ceiling fight. So the White House has moved away from the Reasonable Man approach or the centrist Clinton approach.

And, finally, David Brooks today:

Obama radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I’m beginning to miss...

And David Brooks, September 19, 2011

The president believes the press corps imposes a false equivalency on American politics. We assign equal blame to both parties for the dysfunctional politics when in reality the Republicans are more rigid and extreme. There’s a lot of truth to that, but at least Republicans respect Americans enough to tell us what they really think. The White House gives moderates little morsels of hope, and then rips them from our mouths. To be an Obama admirer is to toggle from being uplifted to feeling used.

Trust me, I can (and have) go on like this for hours.  My point was merely to demonstrate that for we outsiders who stand apart from the Great Beltway Opium Den looking in, this all looks hilarious and dangerous and deeply weird.  We see a windowless van full of bleary Both Siderists addicts, doped to the eyeballs. being driven towards disaster by the powerful, amoral plutocrats who keep them drugged and dreaming.

But for those inside the van -- inside the dream -- there is no sense of movement, no sense of time passing or actions and consequences.  Just people like David Brooks spinning their gray little Both Siderist adventure stories which seem to make perfect sense as long as no one asks any scary questions about actions and consequences and the passage of time.  

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