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Obamatons and Daleks – David Brooks’ New BFF


First, the intellectual safe harbor that is Paul Krugman. Then an excursion onto the mental reef that is David Brooks.

Mr. Obama, according to Prof. Krugman, is dithering. He is failing to act decisively to deal with the banking-homeowners-consumer credit catastrophe. He refuses to face, or publicly acknowledge, the depth of the problems created by Republicans’ deregulation of the financial markets and the consequent free expression of the greed that makes them run.

Mr. Obama may think that will encourage Republicans to help him succeed – not Rush to encourage him to fail – in fixing problems that threaten our workaday world, our global economic relations, and our social stability. The synonyms for “fat chance” don’t bear repeating.

[T]he Obama administration and at the Federal Reserve have convinced themselves that troubled assets…are really worth much more than anyone is actually willing to pay for them — and that if these assets were properly priced, all our troubles would go away….

[Would that] be enough to make the banking system healthy? No…. [which] means that the government would have to lay out trillions of dollars to bring the financial system back to health, which would, in turn, both ensure a fierce public outcry and add to already serious concerns about the deficit.

That’s a relief. Mr. Brooks is less optimistic about the budget and efforts to stimulant the economy. But then he admits he knows nothing about economics. He’s making political bones, and illustrating his respect for statistics by sifting the 524 comments from his last article for a few grains of wheat:

[Last week] I wrote that the Obama budget is a liberal, big government document that should make moderates nervous. The column generated a large positive response from moderate Obama supporters who are anxious about where the administration is headed. [Emphasis added.]

Brooks also invents geeky words for his political opponents: Obamatons [aka, Daleks]. He doesn’t say what they look like. He implies that they are robot-encased humanoids as empathetic and technically proficient as Vogons. (Cheney hated them, too; they knew what he was doing.)

Brooks saves his affection, like a political cowboy who never uses his proverbial fishing gear, for his straw men. He expresses pleasure, for example, that Mr. Obama made a case for his budget that was “sophisticated and fact-based” [unlike his predecessor]. Then Bobo lights his broom and sets his scarecrows aflame. Obamatons:

don’t think of themselves as a group of liberal crusaders.
Liberals would agree.

[are] not engaged in an ideological project to overturn the Reagan Revolution, a fight that was over long ago.
True and false. That fight, like the Right’s determination to discard FDR’s social legislation and respect for workers, continues.

budget will not produce a sea of red ink.
The last administration already did that.

will not usher in an era of big government.
(Ibid. See also, Reagan and Bush I.)

feel they spend as much time resisting liberal ideas as enacting them.
Wishful thinking.

Mr. Obama’s hesitancy in addressing the enormity of Mr. Bush’s mess is making difficult problems fetid. In an analogy Mr. Bush might relate to, Mr. Obama and this Congress are acting like a pledge mopping the frat house basement’s beer-stained floor without moving the dozen well-used sofas.

Finally, Mr. Brooks infantilizes Mr. Obama as if he were a seminary or convent student on their first date away from home. Obama is trying too much, too hard, too fast. He is engaging in risky behavior whose consequences he will regret (even if he has fun doing it). Projection. Bobo does that twice a week.

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