David Brooks had a thoughtful profile on South Dakota Senator John Thune in Friday's New York Times. It is a useful introduction to a man who we will likely be hearing more about and from as the clock slowly ticks away towards 2012.
But that said, as is the routine with everything Brooks' pen produces these days, an otherwise coherent piece is disrupted by the author's gratuitous displays of affection towards President Barack Obama.
After ticking off all of the qualities that might make Thune presidential material and the issues that may lead the country towards a GOP revival (balanced budgets, job creation, small business growth, the perception of the president as too liberal) Brooks (perhaps fearing the White House might construe this as some sort of criticism) quickly reminds readers that Obama is "the most talented political figure of the age." Really? After a year in the Oval Office, what tangible evidence is there to support this theory? Cash for Clunkers?
Oh, and again, lest a profile of a potential Obama foe raise eyebrows amongst Brooks friends in the administration, he also predicts that after "health care passes" Obama will "pivot and pick some fights with his own party over spending" and win back wayward independents. Interesting logic. After ramming through an unfunded and largely unwanted trillion dollar entitlement, the president (a moderate at heart as Brooks keeps reminding us) will reclaim the fiscal high ground by picking a few (surely to be superficial) fights with those irresponsible liberals in Congress and cruise to victory in 2012.
Bizarre...but typical. It has been said in this space many times before, but it is worth repeating yet again: Brooks's man crush on Obama has rendered his utterances on this subject incoherent and, frankly, embarrassing.
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