A couple of days ago, at a newspaper in a galaxy far far away, David Brooks wrote: “Those of us who consider ourselves moderates are forced to confront the fact that President obi wan Keyanobi is not a moderate. But his actions betray that he is a freakin liberal!” (1)
But fear not, Obi wan worshippers! A mere 3 days later, President Obi wan Keyanobi’s minions used that fabled Jedi Mind Trick to set David Brooks straight (2):
Minions: “David Brooks, President Obi wan Kenaynobi is not a freakin liberal.”
David Brooks: “President Obi wan Kenaynobi is not a freakin liberal.”
Minions: “President Obi wan Kenyanobi is “sophisticated” and desires a tone of “friendly cooperation.”
David Brooks: “President Obi wan Kenyanobi is “sophisticated” and desires a tone of “friendly cooperation.”
Minions: “There is nothing to write about here. Move along.”
David Brooks: “There is nothing to write about here. I’ll move along.”
(1) “Those of us who consider ourselves moderates — moderate-conservative, in my case — are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was. His words are responsible; his character is inspiring. But his actions betray a transformational liberalism that should put every centrist on notice. As Clive Crook, an Obama admirer, wrote in The Financial Times, the Obama budget ‘contains no trace of compromise. It makes no gesture, however small, however costless to its larger agenda, of a bipartisan approach to the great questions it addresses. It is a liberal’s dream of a new New Deal.’”
(2) I didn’t finish these conversations feeling chastened exactly. The fact is, after years of economic growth, the White House still projects perpetual deficits of more than $500 billion a year. That’s way too much, especially with the boomers’ retirements looming. Moreover, Congress will likely pass the spending parts of the budget and kill the revenue parts, like the cap-and-trade energy tax and the limits on itemized deductions, thus producing much, much bigger deficits.Plus, I’m still convinced the administration is trying to do too much too fast and that the hasty planning and execution of these complex policies will lead to untold problems down the road.
Nonetheless, the White House made a case that was sophisticated and fact-based. These people know how to lead a discussion and set a tone of friendly cooperation. I’m more optimistic that if Senate moderates can get their act together and come up with their own proactive plan, they can help shape a budget that allays their anxieties while meeting the president’s goals.