Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Obama is a monarch

Or at least that's what David Brooks thinks:

He is no ideologue, but over the past year he has come to seem like the sovereign on the cover of “Leviathan” — the brain of the nation to which all the cells in the body and the nervous system must report and defer.

Really? If anything, he's done a good job of showing the limits of his power. Congress has bogged down his initiatives, Netanyahu has made him look like a fool, and China and Russia are stymieing his international efforts.

Trust in government has fallen. The share of Americans who say the country is on the wrong track has risen.

...but still aren't near the levels they were at under Bush.

Many Democrats, as always, are caught in their insular liberal information loop. They think the polls are bad simply because the economy is bad. They tell each other health care is unpopular because the people aren’t sophisticated enough to understand it. Some believe they can still pass health care even if their candidate, Martha Coakley, loses the Senate race in Massachusetts on Tuesday.

That, of course, would be political suicide. It would be the act of a party so arrogant, elitist and contemptuous of popular wisdom that it would not deserve to govern. Marie Antoinette would applaud, but voters would rage.

I apologize for not reading more Drudge report, or watching Glenn Beck. But if I wanted to read about death panels, I would become Sarah Palin's friend on facebook. And the economy does have a huge effect on opinion polls. Chait has some graphs to illustrate that here. And I don't think HCR is misunderstood because people are unsophisticated, but because the media continually fails utterly at discussing details of policy.

Passing a reform bill that will allow 30m Americans to get health insurance and begin the necessary work of arresting the skyrocketing costs of health care that will bankrupt the country if nothing is done is "arrogant, elitist, and contemptuous"? It sounds like good governance to me. Not to mention the fact that this bill would still be able to pass easily even after a Coakley loss if it weren't for the totally dysfunctional rules in the Senate.

If I were President Obama, I would spend the next year showing how government can serve a humble, helpful and supportive role to the central institutions of American life.

I think Brooks means we should let the planet cook, let people continue to go bankrupt and die due to lack of health insurance, let banks run amok like they did leading up to fall of 2008, watch our country continue to fall farther behind in education, and let unemployment stagnate around 10%.

Thanks for the advice, David, now please shut up and stop taking up space on the NYT Op-Ed page that could go to someone with something constructive to say.


I just hope Taibbi has enough juice left to eviscerate Brooks twice in one week. Although his critique will, no doubt, have more references to the size of Brooks' manhood.

UPDATE: Ezra Klein has an interesting take on Brooks' column. Still no word from Taibbi, unfortunately.

UPDATE 2: Chait chimes in, and contrasts Brooks' column with Douthat's take.

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