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Monday, October 29, 2012

David Brooks, "The Upside of Opportunism": All But Endorsing Romney

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Upside of Opportunism" (, David Brooks all but endorses Romney:

"If Obama wins, we’ll probably get small-bore stasis; if Romney wins, we’re more likely to get bipartisan reform. Romney is more of a flexible flip-flopper than Obama. He has more influence over the most intransigent element in the Washington equation House Republicans. He’s more likely to get big stuff done."

Regarding Romney's shift to the center and the likelihood that he will maintain this stance as president, Brooks explains:

"To get re-elected in a country with a rising minority population and a shrinking Republican coalition, Romney’s shape-shifting nature would induce him to govern as a center-right moderate. To get his tax and entitlement reforms through the Democratic Senate, Romney would have to make some serious concessions: increase taxes on the rich as part of an overall reform; abandon the most draconian spending cuts in Paul Ryan’s budget; reduce the size of his lavish tax-cut promises."

I agree with Brooks that we'll see moderation from Romney if he is elected president.

On the other hand, if Obama is freed from the constraints of re-election, I'm not convinced that "we'll get small-bore stasis." Frankly, my concern is Obama, during a second term, would shed his moderate sheep's clothes and exhibit the leftist radicalism that characterizes his friends and associates from the left whom he dissed on the way to his first term, e.g. the Reverend Wright, Rashid Khalidi and Bill Ayers. The underlying core of narcissism rarely undergoes meaningful change.

In short, with regards to Obama, Brooks did not follow the logic underlying his argument.

Indeed, it should have us worried.


  1. Wrong on both counts. If Romney wins, he will have been elected over the opposition of minorities, a majority of women (albeit a thin one), etc. He will hem and haw and justify, but he will mostly capitulate to the far right wing of his party because it is highly disciplined and highly motivated and it will have one of its high priests sitting next to him.

    As for Obama, he never was the radical you believed him to be. You don't understand this because you don't want to. He is exactly the Clinton democrat he appears. He will attempt to do a number of things that democrats don't like with regard to social security and medicare, and he will attempt to do a number of things republicans don't like with regard to taxes, stimulus, and, one would hope, housing.

    1. I don't understand this because I don't want to? I am pro-choice, opposed to US involvement in Afghanistan, favor gay marriage, would take assault weapons off the market, and would reinstitute the Uptick Rule and Glass-Steagall.

      Not only do I "want to," I would "love to."

      However, . . .

      Not unlike Charles Blow ("The Company Romney Keeps"), I judge people on the basis of those with whom they associate.

      Should we disregard Reverend Wright, Rashid Khalidi, Bill Ayers, Anita (Mao is one of my favorite political philosophers) Dunn, Samantha (let's protect the Palestinian Authority from Israel with American troops) Power, Van Jones, etc.?

      Would Clinton have ever dreamed of seeking to pacify Putin by pledging "flexibility" after the election (the infamous open microphone gaffe)?

      And yes, I am offended by Obama's attempts to ignore the Benghazi debacle.

      America has become more divided - racially, economically, politically - than at any time in the recent past.

      Sorry, but Obama is no Clinton.

  2. You're talking nonsense, Anonymous.
    Strangely .. you just didn't notice ... a small thing .. THE WORLD.
    I think that those who declared Obama "socialist" were ignorant people who by being absurd helped Obama. He is not a socialist.
    He is however a "internationalist." Stalin's "druzhba narodov" ideology and practice meant in the past a support for all radical antidemocratic (and yes, antisemitic) forces in the world and destabilization of many regions. Not unlike Obama's. The world is destabilized and Obama has played a significant role in this very dangerous development.

  3. It's rather foolish to believe that a second term Obama--freed from the constraints of re-election--would somehow turn into the caricature that his detractors created of him in 2008. Even were there a grain of truth in the caricature, it's silly to think that Obama would suddenly "unlearn" the new perspectives and valuable experiences he's had as the most powerful man in the world. It's hard to imagine a more formative experience than being the President of the United States. Only the least thoughtful or intellectually curious of the few dozen men who've held the office--perhaps Reagan or W--could go back to being the same person they were before being elected.

  4. What caricature are you talking about?
    Didn't Obama spend 20 years in Reverend Wright's church? Such a profoundly religious he is. Sure.
    Didn't he surround himself with bigoted monsters like Powers?
    Didn't he babble in Stalin's style about "druzhba narodov" of the US and Iran, Syria and other charming places, etc.
    Didn't he bark at the same time at Israel and Netanyahu?
    Didn't he start his tenure by calling (first international call?) to a Holocaust denier with the words of love and understanding?
    Didn't he wink, wink, wink at Putin, promising ... who knows what?
    I can continue forever.