David Brooks: Early Adopter

A few weeks ago I noted that, leading up to the 2012 election, all of the sudden Republicans fell in love with Bill Clinton…as compared to Barack Obama. At the time, there was a lot of talk about how the former president was so much more reasonable than the usurper who was running for re-election.

At the time, some of us joked about how, in future elections, we’d hear talk from Republicans about how Obama was so superior (for a Democrat) to the current nominee. Well…we didn’t have to even wait until the current occupant of the White House is gone for David Brooks to jump in on that one.

Obama radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I’m beginning to miss, and that I suspect we will all miss a bit, regardless of who replaces him.

First of all, let me say that on his overall assessment of President Obama, I completely agree with Brooks. He has exhibited all of those qualities for almost eight years now.

But Brooks reaches that conclusion after finding all of the current candidates – both Democratic and Republican – to be wanting. For him, Clinton lacks integrity (basically because the press accuses her of taking “shady shortcuts” according to Brooks) and Sanders lacks a solid decision-making process (because…”Sanderscare”). It’s almost as if Brooks has completely forgotten that it was his own party that accused Obama of not being an American citizen and dreamed up the whole “death panels” thing over Obamacare. Of course now that his second term is almost over, they can laud his integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance while smearing the people who are running to replace him.

Given that the current GOP presidential candidates are running against President Obama as much as they are the Democrats in the race, as well as the fact that Congress still has to deal with the current occupant of the White House, I don’t expect many others to follow suit with this kind of analysis very soon. In that sense, I’ll call Brooks an early adopter to what we’ll likely hear from Republicans when they face off against a Democratic president’s re-election in 2020.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.