David Brooks: How Obama Fell to Earth

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Back in Iowa, Barack Obama promised to be something new — an unconventional leader who would confront unpleasant truths, embrace novel policies and unify the country. If he had knocked Hillary Clinton out in New Hampshire and entered general-election mode early, this enormously thoughtful man would have become that.

But he did not knock her out, and the aura around Obama has changed. Furiously courting Democratic primary voters and apparently exhausted, Obama has emerged as a more conventional politician and a more orthodox liberal.

He sprinkled his debate performance Wednesday night with the sorts of fibs, evasions and hypocrisies that are the stuff of conventional politics. He claimed falsely that his handwriting wasn’t on a questionnaire about gun control. He claimed that he had never attacked Clinton for her exaggerations about the Tuzla airport, though his campaign was all over it. Obama piously condemned the practice of lifting other candidates’ words out of context, but he has been doing exactly the same thing to John McCain, especially over his 100 years in Iraq comment.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsUS Presidential Election 2008

5 Comments
Posted April 19, 2008 at 9:54 am

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The URL for this article is http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/11865/



1. Words Matter wrote:

It was inevitable that the period of “Yes We Can!” deification would come to an end.

This is a good thing. I won’t vote for Sen. Obama because I don’t agree with his politics; but if he does win, I want a president, not a messiah. I don’t want a Prophet, but a person competent to administer the national government, act responsibly as the commander in chief of the military, and work with the Congress to lead the country.

We are electing a president, not a savior. That job is taken. grin

Words Matter

Reasonable people always fear nascent fascism.

April 19, 10:11 am | [comment link]
2. CharlesB wrote:

My ideal Democrat party ticket would be a combination of Obama and Clinton.  I don’t care which is the president or vice-president.  That way I get to vote against BOTH of them.  Otherwise, I only get to vote against one.

April 19, 10:43 am | [comment link]
3. David Hein wrote:

“Everybody’s miserable.” Why? This vetting process has been good for the country. I’m not miserable about that, and I suspect that David Brooks isn’t, either.
But the Democrats are feeling a mite queasy right now. They know that they may well end up with another weak candidate in the general election. They know that their superstar candidate has not only peaked too soon; he’s pretty consistently failed to demonstrate strength in key areas.

I never thought either of these candidates was the best the Democrats had to offer. They’re both light-heavyweights. We now see that this year was probably Al Gore’s year; he should have gotten into the race and made a real fight of it. And, among the fresh(er) faces in the Democratic Pary, Evan Bayh would have been the best: experienced, thoughtful, sensible—too sensible to get into the race: family took precedence for this smart, well-grounded, well-respected politician.

April 19, 1:03 pm | [comment link]
4. rob k wrote:

Because of his realistic view of America’s place on the international scene, Biden would have been my choice.  But, he has no charisma and also has the bad habit of sticking his foot in his mouth.  But he is a good man.

April 19, 5:32 pm | [comment link]
5. John Wilkins wrote:

This is a ridiculous article.  It inherently judges Obama uses messianic standards. 

He states that Obama had made promises as the sign of someone campaigning.  I thought it was a campaign. 

“He made a sweeping read-my-lips pledge never to raise taxes on anybody making less than $200,000 to $250,000 a year.”  Economically, this is probably feasible.  And it does fall into his libertarian paternalistic sensibility:  don’t tax the middle class.  Give them options to make choices good for them and the country. 

he then says, “Then he made an iron vow to get American troops out of Iraq within 16 months. Neither Obama nor anyone else has any clue what the conditions will be like when the next president takes office. He could have responsibly said that he aims to bring the troops home but will make a judgment at the time. Instead, he rigidly locked himself into a policy that will not be fully implemented for another three years.”  Really?  I think smart people could disagree on this.  His statement on genocide in the region and a viciously polarizing war is simply the consequence of cleaning up the mess Bush got us into. 

His statement: “But the fact is that voters want a president who basically shares their values and life experiences. Fairly or not, they look at symbols like Michael Dukakis in a tank, John Kerry’s windsurfing or John Edwards’s haircut as clues about shared values.”  This is an elitist comment, that assumes that people don’t vote on policy matters.  It assumes people can’t tell the difference between a political maneuver and policy.  It assumes that administration can be determined by how well one bowls. 

Obama should never be understood as a messiah.  That people have compared him as such, however, demonstrates how amazing he is over the other choices.  His response in Raleigh was pretty amazing.

April 20, 12:01 am | [comment link]


© 2014 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.

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