I spit out my beverage at this point:
Over the next two years, Obama will have to show that he is a traditionalist on social matters and a center-left pragmatist on political ones. Culturally, he will have to demonstrate that even though he comes from an unusual background, he is a fervent believer in the old-fashioned bourgeois virtues: order, self-discipline, punctuality and personal responsibility. NYT
It is not possible to be pragmatic any further.
- He is a traditionalist on social issues. Supporting abortion isn’t a radical position in modern American. Neither is saying gays have a right to unions but not marriage.
- He compromised on the stimulus package, making it 40% tax cuts to try and sway Republicans, it didn’t work very well at all, the swaying part. The stimulus, as you can read from my previous posts, worked but was not designed to combat the level of unemployment that occurred.
- He compromised on health care by adopting the platforms of Romney’s (the former Republican governor of MA) health care plan, trying to be pragmatic to reform the system as is and not start over with a European-style system. It didn’t work.
- Personal responsibility? Does Brooks honestly feel President Obama hasn’t displayed personal responsibility? He came from a broken home with no father and a seemingly pretty flaky mother, and has been nothing but a disciplined family man.
Mr. President, please listen to one of NYT’s most respected columnists and show up earlier to your meetings, to be punctual. I guess we real Americans like this.
Meh, but then Brooks sort of redeems himself with this:
Instead, he will have to go out and do his own thing. That means every day reinforcing the following narrative: the Republicans are only half right. They want to cut things; I want to cut but also replace things. They want to slash government; I want to restructure it. They want destruction; I want renovation.
Except that it totally contradicts the earlier quote I pulled. “Doing your own thing” politically is very hard to do when you’re the leader of a national political party. In fact, that would not be very responsible. Something I’m told we real Americans also don’t like.