Monday, August 31, 2009

Brooksback Mountain

The New Republic on "conservative" David Brooks' love affair with President Obama:
... 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.” ...

***
“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 f*ck this up.”

***
Brooks’s sympathetic columns help to validate the key myth of this White House: that it is fundamentally post-partisan. Plus, Brooks appeals to a major Obama constituency: the latte-sipping Baby Boomers who were the subject of his 2000 best-seller Bobos in Paradise. These were among Obama’s strongest supporters in the last election, but their loyalty could be tested by spiraling deficits, botched health care reform, or a flagging economy.

As much as any columnist, Brooks speaks to these left-of-center suburbanites. After all, he is known for attracting liberal readers who normally can’t stand conservative pundits. “I get a lot of people who say, ‘I’m a liberal and you’re the only one I read,’” Brooks says. “Sometimes, it can be a little condescending. … But you take the readers where you can get them. I do wish more people walked up to me and said, ‘I’m a conservative and I love you.‘ But, mostly, they don’t read the Times.”


[More (if you can hold your lunch)]
My Comments:
"I wish I knew how to ..."

... come up with headlines like "Brooksback Mountain" on my own. Unfortunately for me, credit for that one has to go to a commenter at HotAir.

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6 Comments:

At 8/31/2009 3:03 PM, Blogger gordon gekko said...

His crush over Obama gets trumped by the tingle down my leg.

Sincerely,
C. Matthews

 
At 8/31/2009 3:04 PM, Blogger Michael D. said...

I will say that Brooks has done a good job of being slowly disillusioned by the Obama mess. Not sure how far along that path he's gone, but unlike other writers he's been able to recognize that the Obama presidency is not close to living up to expectations.

Of course, Brooks is having to deal with the fact that Douthat is doing an amazing job now at the NYT.

 
At 8/31/2009 3:26 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

Brooks and Douthat are 2 pseudo-"conservative" intellectual elitist peas in a pod. The good little house "conservtives" at The Times.

They're the only kinds of "conservatives" The Times' readership will tolerate: ones who spend more time attacking conservatives than they do challenging the liberal orthodoxy of the so-called "newspaper of record" and those likely to be wasting their money on that fishwrap of a paper.

 
At 8/31/2009 3:32 PM, Blogger DP said...

I'm going to dissent on Douthat. Especially given his nice "compare and contrast" of Eunice Shriver with Ted Kennedy today.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/31/opinion/31douthat.html?_r=2

There's always hope with Douthat. Brooks will roll if he gets properly schmoozed with elevated company.

 
At 8/31/2009 7:04 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

I saw Douthat's piece and linked it as an update to my "What Might Have Been" post from last week.

That piece and his dismantling of Kmiec right after the election will buy him about 2 cents of goodwill in my book. Suffice it to say, we'll just have to agree to disagree on the man I dubbed "Ross Asshat" late during the election season last year.

The sad thing is, from my perspective, that he may be the one "conservative" media pundit whose ideology fits most closely to mine. But I find his elitist bullshit and sucking up to the left intolerable. Let's do a comparison:

Brooks: As much as any columnist, Brooks speaks to these left-of-center suburbanites. After all, he is known for attracting liberal readers who normally can’t stand conservative pundits. “I get a lot of people who say, ‘I’m a liberal and you’re the only one I read,’” Brooks says. “Sometimes, it can be a little condescending. … But you take the readers where you can get them. I do wish more people walked up to me and said, ‘I’m a conservative and I love you.‘ But, mostly, they don’t read the Times.”

Douthat: There is unquestionably a sense in which center-right scriveners who work for institutions more liberal than they (or merely exist in a climate more liberal than they) have both personal and professional incentives to criticize their own side as often as they do the other one, and to advance arguments and strike attitudes that drive more committed partisans up the wall. I'm flattered that Julian Sanchez's list of conservative writers in this position includes David Brooks and, well, me, but I think it's pretty easy to come up with a longer tally - it would include everyone from Rod Dreher (one of the very few explicitly-conservative writers at Beliefnet and the Dallas Morning News, I believe) to Christopher Buckley (Forbes FYI editor, New Yorker contributor, and now Daily Beast blogger) to various other (Peggy Noonan, Tucker Carlson, Joe Scarborough, etc.) with one foot in the right-wing intelligentsia and one foot in the MSM.

Right out of the horse's mouth. Incidentally, that's the column for which I ripped him as "Ross Asshat".

 
At 9/01/2009 12:48 PM, Blogger DP said...

Jay:

While opposed, I don't think we're all that far apart. I agree Douthat has some elitist snobbery he needs to keep in check, and that it threatens at times to render him unreadable.

But Brooks reminds me of nothing more than a jaded 18th Century French courtier, tittering about the salon looking for someone new and interesting. Douthat's faith keeps him from falling into the same trap, I think.

 

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