Michael Gerson and David Brooks are out with columns today more or less about how Barack Obama is a big phony, but they attack the subject from different angles. Gerson notes how Obama’s rhetoric is conciliatory in tone, but yet his liberal voting record belies his claims of being bipartisan. There is not one example of him crossing party lines to pass legislation that would seriously anger the liberal base, though John McCain on a number of occasions has incurred the wrath of conservatives to work with Democrats. Brooks focuses on how Obama’s high-minded rhetoric about a “new kind of politics” masks his inner Machiavellian nature. There’s truth to what both Brooks and Gerson are saying, but their portraits would have drastically different implications on how Obama would govern were he elected.
If Gerson’s portrait holds true, then a President Obama would be a nightmare for conservatives — somebody who could get ultra-liberal legislation passed by convincing Americans that it’s actually moderate. If Brooks’ is right, then perhaps things won’t be as terrible. America is still a right of center nation, which means that the calculating side of Obama may sell out his progressive principles for short-term political gain.