David Brooks: The Next Two Years

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Over the next two years, Obama will have to show that he is a traditionalist on social matters and a center-left pragmatist on political ones. Culturally, he will have to demonstrate that even though he comes from an unusual background, he is a fervent believer in the old-fashioned bourgeois virtues: order, self-discipline, punctuality and personal responsibility. Politically, he will have to demonstrate that he is data-driven — that even though he has more faith in government than most Americans, he will relentlessly oppose programs when the evidence shows they don’t work.

... Obama will need to respond to the nation’s fear of decline. The current sour mood is not just caused by high unemployment. It emerges from the fear that America’s best days are behind it. The public’s real anxiety is about values, not economics: the gnawing sense that Americans have become debt-addicted and self-indulgent; the sense that government undermines individual responsibility; the observation that people who work hard get shafted while people who play influence games get the gravy. Obama will have to propose policies that re-establish the link between effort and reward.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPsychology* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

16 Comments
Posted October 30, 2010 at 10:33 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. NewTrollObserver wrote:

Brooks writes:

Culturally, he will have to demonstrate that even though he comes from an unusual background, he is a fervent believer in the old-fashioned bourgeois virtues: order, self-discipline, punctuality and personal responsibility.

Very curious words coming from Brooks.

October 30, 12:19 pm | [comment link]
2. NoVA Scout wrote:

Why “curious”?  What would one expect a conservative columnist to say on this subject?

October 30, 2:45 pm | [comment link]
3. Creedal Episcopalian wrote:

Brooks is a conservative?


David Brooks spoke frankly about the presidential and vice presidential candidates Monday afternoon, calling Sarah Palin a “fatal cancer to the Republican party” but describing John McCain and Barack Obama as “the two best candidates we’ve had in a long time.”

Whatever dude.

October 30, 4:26 pm | [comment link]
4. upnorfjoel wrote:

If Brooks is suggesting that B.O. needs to do more posing than he’s already done, he’s giving useless advice.  Fortunately, a bunch of Americans that rejected a Bush look-alike, and instead voted with stars in their eyes in ‘08, now recognize the real Obama and won’t be fooled again into voting for either type.
One and Done.

October 30, 4:58 pm | [comment link]
5. libraryjim wrote:

In a recent speech, President Obama called Republicans and those advocating a return to Constitutional principles “the enemy”. Does Mr. Brooks really think that someone of this mindset is going to work WITH the new Republican majority?  If so, he’s more optimistic than I am.

October 30, 8:15 pm | [comment link]
6. Sarah wrote:

RE: “David Brooks spoke frankly about the presidential and vice presidential candidates Monday afternoon, calling Sarah Palin a “fatal cancer to the Republican party” but describing John McCain and Barack Obama as “the two best candidates we’ve had in a long time.”

Yeh—you know, like NoVA Scout said . . . he’s a “conservative.”

October 30, 8:40 pm | [comment link]
7. NoVA Scout wrote:

Is being a Sarah Palin devotee the way we now classify people as “conservatives”?  Yikes!  I think I’ll curl up under the covers with my well-thumbed Russell Kirk writings and wait for this to pass over.

October 30, 11:26 pm | [comment link]
8. clayton wrote:

#5, do you mean this quote?

And if Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, we’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us, if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder — and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2,” he said.

Or is there another quote I’m missing?  I wanted to check that out and it’s the only thing I could find.  He’s suggesting that Republicans aren’t good for Latino voters and Democrats are.  Elect us, not them.  Hardly a condemnation of “those advocating a return to Constitutional principles.”

October 31, 1:52 am | [comment link]
9. paradoxymoron wrote:

Uh, yes. . .He’s suggesting that Republicans aren’t good for Latino voters, by explicitly identifying them as enemies to be punished.  Which is more than he’s said about the Taliban.

October 31, 3:37 am | [comment link]
10. NoVA Scout wrote:

Having thought about it, however fleetingly,  overnight, I think if we weigh the body of work of Mr. Brooks against the body of work of Mrs. Palin, the former’s “conservative” output (both in quantity and quality) would substantially outweigh the latter’s.

October 31, 9:21 am | [comment link]
11. Sarah wrote:

RE: “Is being a Sarah Palin devotee the way we now classify people as “conservatives”?”

Absolutely not.  Because in the world of NoVA Scout, it’s those who say “John McCain and Barack Obama are “the two best candidates we’ve had in a long time” that defines the True Conservative.

. . . as we’ve all noted for a long long time now, with regards to NoVA Scout. 

Nothing new at all.

NoVA Scout himself is a “conservative”—by his own definition, of course . . . just as is David Brooks a “conservative” by NoVA Scout’s definition.

October 31, 9:35 am | [comment link]
12. David Keller wrote:

Sarah—Because David Brooks writes op-eds for the NYT, the liberals like to pretend he is conservative. It makes them feel good to say David Brooks is a real conservative and he agrees with most of what I agree with.  Compared to the editorial stance of the NYT I suppose he is to the right of the NYT editorial board.  I’ve always thought David Brooks was basically an idiot.  Anybody who believes Barak Obama and John McCain represent the best America has to offer proves my point.

October 31, 10:10 am | [comment link]
13. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

Listen here…I am a conservative.  In fact, I’m about one step to the left of a John Bircher.  I cast my first vote for Reagan and have had to hold my nose with the Bush clan because they are RINOs.  I think Rush is a moderate.  Hannity is a wannabe.  Beck is…well, he’s just Beck.  But I’ll tell you straight out, Brooks is no conservative.

October 31, 8:57 pm | [comment link]
14. NoVA Scout wrote:

No. 12, to be accurate, the Brooks comment was not that either McCain or Obama was the “best America has to offer.”  It was that they were the best candidates to stand for that office in some time.  I don’t question that some people may feel otherwise, but it hardly strikes me as an indicator of one’s political philosophy that someone might say that. 

These labels (“conservative”/“liberal”) tended to mean something when I first got involved in active work for political causes that were considered “conservative” in the early 1960s, and even on through the Reagan years.  By now, however, they have been contorted and abused into such a misshapen and misused heap that they serve virtually no purpose other than as inaccurate tribal identifiers for people enamored of labels at the expense of inquiry into the intellectual substance and foundations of a person’s political views.

November 1, 6:07 am | [comment link]
15. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

No, words still mean things, despite postmodernisms attempt to reject objective Truth and substitute relativistic sophistry.  Even NovaScout’s comments #2, #7, and #10 seem to have no problem effectively communicating using a shared understanding of the term “conservative”.  One of the tactics of from the Left’s playbook is to change terms; hence, involuntary taxes become “contributions, marriage is perverted to include same-sex contracts, and moderate liberals become “conservatives”. 

Reagan was a Kennedy democrat.  His political philosophy didn’t really change that much over the years.  What changed was the shift Left of the entire political spectrum as the Left performed their Hegelian dialectic magic through the Mass Media.  Reagan, the Kennedy democrat, became the arch “conservative”.  I suppose a Kennedy democrat does appear as an arch conservative if the only point of comparison is with the radical socialists on the Left, but the objective reality is that he was pretty moderate in practice.  The Soviet Union and East German propagandists did an excellent job of funneling money and influence into the “Peace” movements in the ‘80s (they were really capitulation to Communism movements).  There is an excellent book on the subject.  Man without a face: the autobiography of communism’s greatest spymaster by Markus Wolf and Anne McElvoy does a magnificent job of telling the world how the Left works in a compelling first person account by the former East German (Moscow trained)  General Intelligence Administration (Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung).  I recommend it.

November 1, 10:14 am | [comment link]
16. David Keller wrote:

#14—Resonding late because I was out for a medical procedure.  What you say is even worse—that the best and the brightest don’t even bother to run for president. Look at this last election cycle to see why.  Every ad on was about something that had nothing to do with the election.  The biggest example was in Kentucky.  But who in their right mind would want to run for office and have some pointless, nothing from their past spread across America?  Whether you love or hate Sarah Palin, there must be limits on the way the press treats her family.  Or what about Alaska where a news reporter was recorded saying he was going to accuse Miller of child molestation—which they knew was a total lie.  As somebody smarter than us once said—The dogmas of the quite past are inadequate for the stormy present.  We must think anew and act anew and then we will save our country.

November 2, 9:12 am | [comment link]
Registered members must log in to comment.




Next entry (above): In Canada A Saint, and an Inquiry Into the Sins of His Brothers

Previous entry (below): U.S. Says Genes Should Not Be Eligible for Patents

Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)