David Brooks’ Historical Perspective

David Brooks penned a column in today’s New York Times about how the presidential campaign has made him realize how much he has taken President Obama for granted and that, all things considered, he (Obama, that is) is not a monster.

I can see the two reactions this column will generate.

On the right, the reaction would be that Brooks is a RINO, a Republican in Name Only. But that’s a charge that’s been leveled at Brooks for years. The Republican Party he yearns for exists only in the halcyon memories of his youth, and his paeons to that Republican Party fall upon deaf ears.

On the left, the reaction would be, “What took you so long, Brooks? We’ve only been telling you all this for seven years. Did it really take a Ted Cruz for you to see Obama for who he truly is? If you want a Burkean conservative, Obama is your guy!” Compared to political parties internationally, the United States has a conservative, center-right party (the Democrats) and a radical, far right party (the Republicans). The conservative reformer that Brooks yearns for has been sitting in the Oval Office since January 2009.

Brooks won’t make anyone see Obama differently in the moment. I suspect that, in the historical retrospective, twenty years from now, Brooks’ point-of-view expressed here will be a major part of the historical consensus on Obama.

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