Liberal Ezra Klein writes:
This is a bit of an inside baseball observation, but it’s becoming clear that the columnist with the best access to the White House is, improbably, David Brooks. A month ago, Brooks got the first word on the banking plan and a rare one-on-one interview with Tim Geithner. His take on the proposal proved much more positive than that of the broader media. A week ago, a critical column Brooks wrote on the budget resulted in a sustained defense of the administration’s plans from “four senior members of the administration.” The resulting op-ed faithfully reproduced their argument. Today, Brooks follows Obama’s big education speech with a column that lays out the administration’s education thinking in some detail and is anchored by an exclusive interview with Arne Duncan. Like the column on Geithner, it’s also notably positive (though unlike the banking plan, Obama’s education plan has met with a broadly admiring reception, so Brooks is with, at least, the left-of-center consensus here). I can’t think of any other columnist with this kind of access.
And no wonders as to why he has that access …
With Brooks’ conversion to the Obamacrat side nearly complete, this leaves exactly zero conservative columnists working for the NYT, that is until Atlantic senior editor Ross Douthat – newly minted NYT columnist – officially arrives later this month.
News of Douthat’s new gig at the NYT was met with a round of praise from … mostly liberals, although there were some NRO conservatives who were praising the news as well. I’ve had mixed views on Douthat’s writing but will try and be optimistic about what we’ll see from him in the NYT. I don’t think it could get any worse than Brooks, who is giving Obama spox Robert Gibbs a run for his money in the agenda promotion department.