If it’s not Frum and Bruce Bartlett demanding greater outreach from Republicans while sneering at them at every turn, it’s Brooks breaking his arms patting himself on the back for being an intellectual … who happens to find political portent in how well Barack Obama irons his pants.
It’s hard out here for a RINO apologist, my friends.
“I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging,” Brooks recently told me, “but usually when I talk to senators, while they may know a policy area better than me, they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me. I got the sense he knew both better than me.”
That first encounter is still vivid in Brooks’s mind. “I remember distinctly an image of–we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,” Brooks says, “and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” In the fall of 2006, two days after Obama’s The Audacity of Hope hit bookstores, Brooks published a glowing Times column. The headline was “Run, Barack, Run.”…
“Obama sees himself as a Burkean,” Brooks says. “He sees his view of the world as a view that understands complexity and the organic nature of change.” Moreover, after the Bush years, Brooks seems relieved to have an intellectual in the White House again. “I divide people into people who talk like us and who don’t talk like us,” he explains. “Of recent presidents, Clinton could sort of talk like us, but Obama is definitely–you could see him as a New Republic writer. He can do the jurisprudence, he can do the political philosophy, and he can do the politics. I think he’s more talented than anyone in my lifetime. I mean, he is pretty dazzling when he walks into a room. So, that’s why it’s important he doesn’t fuck this up.”
As much as I hate the fetishization of populism, it’d be hard to find a more loathsome expression of intellectual elitism than “I divide people into people who talk like us and who don’t talk like us,” especially given the extent to which people like Brooks and Frum disdain the “one of us” appeal that inspires so many of Palin’s fans. For Brooks, it seems, it all depends on who “us” is. Also, did I misread that last paragraph or is he suggesting that the main reason he wants Obama to succeed is to vindicate governance by the smart set? I know he gets off on Ivy League pedigrees but I didn’t suspect until now that he was treating Hopenchange as some sort of field test of his theory that postgrads should rightly run the world.
As for “the organic nature of change,” he’s talking about a guy who wanted a health-care bill forced through Congress before anyone had a chance this month to read it (viva intellectualism) and whose entire political strategy seems aimed at cramming as many statist programs as possible down America’s throat before the country inevitably vomits up 50 or so Democratic seats in the House. Organic. Exit question: Er, didn’t this “bromance” actually end six months ago? Quote: “Those of us who consider ourselves moderates — moderate-conservative, in my case — are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was.”