There are liars, damn liars and politicians’ spokespeople. And then there is David Brooks. His column reports on the economic malaise brought about by the failed policies of the former Obama administration.

Mr. Brooks, you see, finally admits that he’s a Time Lord. (In former incarnations, he was also Alexis de Tocqueville and Edith Piaf.) Bobo writes “today’s” OpEd from the Tardis in 2013. The painful Obama administration is over and Mr. Brooks is explaining why he failed so that the new president, a Republican?, can avoid the pitfalls that doomed his predecessor. Reduced to a single word, his advice would have to be, "plastics".

Mr. Brooks, it seems, has studied comedy as well as time travel. It’s serious business, so he deadpans through his column without mentioning that his "reporting" is a “lying flashback”. He made it up. He lied about his past to fool you about your present. He borrows a device from other fiction, like the film, Atonement, and brings it to the OpEd pages of the New York Times. He’s really doing an improv on the Party slogan in George Orwell’s 1984:

Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.

If Mr. Brooks is not Peter Davidson’s or Matt Smith’s replacement as Dr. Who, what then? Did he make the whole thing up on a call with Rush Limbaugh, while reading about Freud and Friedman in a back copy of Psychology Today he found in the waiting room of his hair implant clinic? With David Brooks, it’s impossible to say which version is more likely.