David Brooks admitted in his column yesterday what conservatives have long suspected: He really, really liked Obama. In fact, he’s “a sap.” Here are ten examples of his sappiness over time.
10. David Brooks thought he had a wonderful plan for poverty reduction. Why? “A neighborhood is a moral ecosystem, and Obama, the former community organizer, seems to have a . . . feel for that.”
9. In a 2009 profile of Brooks in The New Republic, the columnist describes Obama as capable of holding his own as an intellectual: “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.” Brooks was even impressed by Obama’s “perfectly creased pants.”
8. The president’s 2009 health-care address had Brooks in raptures: “Those of us who admire the political craft,” he said, loved “the speech’s seductive nature and careful ambiguity.”
7. When the president held televised health-care negotiations with congressional leaders, Brooks couldn’t conceal his pleasure: “The event was more meaningful than [expected.] Most of the credit goes to President Obama. The man really knows how to lead a discussion.”
6. After the passage of Obamacare, Brooks described it as “the noble completion of the great liberal project to build a comprehensive welfare system,” enacted by Obama, who made manifest “the high-minded aspirations of the educated class.”
5. After a year of the Obama administration, the writer proclaimed: “In many ways, Barack Obama has lived up to his promise. He has created a thoughtful, pragmatic administration marked by a culture of honest and vigorous debate.”
4. In April 2010, Brooks argued that “energy innovation is the railroad legislation of today. This country is studded with venture capitalists, scientists, corporate executives and environmental activists atremble over the great opportunities they see ahead,” fully embracing Obama’s green-jobs agenda.
3. Brooks claimed in 2010 to be the only one who “[got] Obama right” — the president is apparently neither a “skilled politician . . . governing as a big-government liberal” nor “an inspiring but overly intellectual leader,” but “a president trying to define a modern brand of moderate progressivism.”
2. When Obama approved NATO’s campaign in Libya, Brooks ascribed this decision (twice) to “noble” motivations, the natural response of “the same sensitive, idealistic man who wrote ‘Dreams From My Father.’”
1. Lastly, just a week ago, Brooks described the president’s jobs speech — widely decried as a failure by the few who paid it any heed — as “one of the most forceful and compelling domestic policy speeches of his presidency,” which he hoped Obama would follow “up with his own deficit proposal that pays for his programs with some serious entitlement reforms (and not merely with some boilerplate ‘let’s tax the rich’ plan).” Needless to say, Obama has since done precisely the opposite of what Brooks hoped.
— Patrick Brennan is a 2011 William F. Buckley Fellow.