David Brooks: I’m worried about Obama’s legacy, and I have some suggestions I hope will help him

Slobbering succotash! Obama’s favorite “moderate” Republican columnist pens yet another column filled with suggestions he thinks Obama can use in order to heal his damaged reputation, his administration, and – of course – the nation. After talking about what he believes The One was elected, he writes:

It was not to be. Voters are in no mood for a wave of domestic transformation. The economy is already introducing enough insecurity into their lives. Unlike 1932 and 1965, Americans do not trust Washington to take them on a leap of faith, especially if it means more spending.

The country has reacted harshly to the course the administration ended up embracing. Obama is still admired personally, but every major proposal — from the stimulus to health care — is quite unpopular. Independent voters have swung against the administration. Voters are not reacting to the particulars of each bill. They are reacting against the total activist onslaught.

A president can’t lead a social transformation without a visceral bond with the center of the electorate and without being in step with the rhythm of the times. Obama is lacking these things. As a result, the original Obama project, the third Democratic wave, is dead.

The administration resists this conclusion, just as it took the Bush administration a while to recognize that Social Security reform, and the larger privatization dream, was dead. But federal activism will not mark the next three years.

The next challenge is to find a new project, a new one-sentence description of what this administration hopes to achieve. It is obvious: President Obama will show that this nation is governable once again. He should return to the other element in his original campaign.

The suggestions? I’ll just highlight a couple – try not to laugh:

That would mean first leading a campaign of brazen honesty with the American people. He could lay out the fiscal realities and explain that voters cannot continue to demand programs they are unwilling to pay for.


Fifth, it’s time to have a constitutional debate. We might require amendments of one sort or another to fix the broken political system.

LOLOL. Forgive me for laughing at what should be a serious piece. Brooks is suggesting a “return” to … honesty and bipartisanship, indicating that he seriously believes that President Obama was sincere as a candidate in promising a “return” to “transparency” and “honesty” and “reaching across the aisle.” Brooks needs to take his rose-tinted glasses off for once. Candidate Obama said what he needed to say and did what he needed to do in order to get elected POTUS. He told the American people what he thought they wanted to hear, made all the right moves, shook all the right hands, went on an overseas tour, and the MSM dutifully helped him the whole way by clearing his path of any inconvenient truths about his radical associations, his thin resume, and his flimsy list of “accomplishments” while serving as an elected official both in the Illinois state legislature and the US Congress as a Senator.

And now, after a year of watching Mr. HopeNChange morph back into the calculating partisan political operator he really is, many people – unlike David Brooks – are finally waking up and seeing beyond the empty rhetoric. So while Brooks’ O-friendly column is likely to earn him more sweetheart brownie points and more offers for “off-the-record” lunches with RahmboCo., his actual suggestions will fall on deaf ears. Neither Obama, nor Axelrod, nor Emanuel, nor any one else in the inner circle is interested in “brutal honesty” and “bipartisanship.” Instead, it’s all about ramming unpopular bills through Congress under the pretense of “doing what’s right for America” – all the while sticking future generations with the burden of footing the bill via increased taxation and over-regulation – and punishment in the form of “fines” and possible jail time for those who choose not to go along for the joyride.

Maybe if David Brooks weren’t so obsessed with keeping his approval ratings up with Beltway elites he’d be able to see that. Until then …

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