Friday, October 17, 2008

Brooks on Obama


David Brooks seems to be back in his pre-McCain form, (mostly) flattering Obama. He seems to sense which way the wind is blowing.
And it is easy to sketch out a scenario in which he could be a great president. He would be untroubled by self-destructive demons or indiscipline. With that cool manner, he would see reality unfiltered. He could gather — already has gathered — some of the smartest minds in public policy, and, untroubled by intellectual insecurity, he could give them free rein. Though he is young, it is easy to imagine him at the cabinet table, leading a subtle discussion of some long-term problem.
Of course, he's still obligated to throw in a counter-example:
Of course, it's also easy to imagine a scenario in which he is not an island of rationality in a sea of tumult, but a cold blooded serial killer. Hailing from the land of Gacy, perhaps he's been moving into bigger houses because his crawlspace is full - and now he could be moving into a really big house. Remember, it's always the quiet ones.
No, really, what he wrote was,
Of course, it’s also easy to imagine a scenario in which he is not an island of rationality in a sea of tumult, but simply an island. New presidents are often amazed by how much they are disobeyed, by how often passive-aggressiveness frustrates their plans.

It could be that Obama will be an observer, not a leader. Rather than throwing himself passionately into his causes, he will stand back. Congressional leaders, put off by his supposed intellectual superiority, will just go their own way. Lost in his own nuance, he will be passive and ineffectual. Lack of passion will produce lack of courage. The Obama greatness will give way to the Obama anti-climax.
But you know what? It's easy to imagine a lot of things, and to "sketch out" scenarios. That's why they call it imagination.

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