David Brooks and Barack Obama: A love story

TNR has a revealing – and highly nauseating – piece on the “courtship” of David Brooks by Barack Obama. The story pretty much confirms what I and many others have been saying about David Brooks for a while now in that he’s allowed himself to be shamelessly used and abused by Beltway Democrats for at least the last several years, and none of them have used him more to their advantage than Barack Obama, David Axelrod (whose relationship with Brooks goes back decades) and others in The One’s administration. Here’s a snippet:

In the spring of 2005, New York Times columnist David Brooks arrived at then-Senator Barack Obama’s office for a chat. Brooks, a conservative writer who joined the Times in 2003 from The Weekly Standard, had never met Obama before. But, as they chewed over the finer points of Edmund Burke, it didn’t take long for the two men to click. “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.”

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with getting to know the people you’re writing about. But when columnists stop being cynics of the opposition and instead write pieces that sound like official talking points, they turn into little more than their shills, which is exactly what’s happened to David Brooks, which probably explains why about the only people who read Brooks’ columns anymore are GOP Beltway elite types and senior officials in the Obama adminstration. The former to find out how to be more like Democrats, and the later to make sure he’s staying on point.

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