Ah, Tuesday. Light day of classes, a chance to imagine that my fantasy football team will totally bounce back next week if I make a few good moves and the chance to peruse another mendacious David Brooks column. America’s Most Reasonable Conservative™ is juuust starting to warm up to the chance of a Mitt Romney candidacy. And David needs new inspiration after Barack broke his heart by having the temerity to suggest that we raise the highest marginal tax rate by less than 4%. Let’s get to it:
Over the past several months, Mitt Romney has been an excellent presidential candidate. He has performed superbly in the debates. He has outorganized his rivals. He has relentlessly stayed on his core theme of putting Americans back to work. He has taken Rick Perry apart with a cold ruthlessness that is a wonder to behold.
Aw c’mon. Rick Perry has taken himself apart. But Romney’s done well enough to stand by and let this happen. And he’s been fine in the debates. So, fair enough. Brooks goes on to outline the fact that any Republican who wins the nomination will have pretty much the same agenda:
There are two important features of the current Republican moment. First, this is not a party riven by big ideological differences. This is not Reagan versus Rockefeller. Whoever wins the nomination will be leading a party with a cohesive ideology and a common set of priorities: reform taxes, replace Obamacare, cut spending and reform entitlements. The next president won’t have to come up with a vision, just execute the things almost all Republicans agree upon.
Yep. Any Republican will indeed have to
cut reform taxes, try and fail to replace Obamacare, cut spending on programs that benefit the poor and slash the social safety net reform entitlements. Par for the course. But the real fun begins when Brooks lists off Romney’s cadre of advisers, with whom Bobo is quite impressed:
He seems to know how to pick staff. His economic advisers include R. Glenn Hubbard of Columbia, Greg Mankiw of Harvard, former Senator Jim Talent and Vin Weber, a former congressman. This is the gold standard of adviser teams.
Gold standard, eh? They sound like out-of-touch, ivory tower, pointy-headed east coast elitists to me. Keep rolling, David:
He could probably work well with the leaders of his own party. If Romney were to be elected, he would probably share power with the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, and the House speaker, John Boehner. These are not exactly Tea Party radicals. Instead, they are consummate professionals and expert legislators who could plausibly work together. More presidents have been undone by the Congressional leaders in their own party than by members of the opposition.
No doubt he’s right that Boehner and McConnell aren’t Tea Party radicals; they’re owned lock and stock by Wall Street. But “consummate professionals and expert legislators?” Mitch WE WILL DEFEAT THE PREZNIT AT ALL COSTS McConnell? Okey dokey then.
He comes from a blue state. Candidates who come from states where their party is in the minority are much more likely to be elected. In government, it really helps to have a feel for how people in the other party think. Neither President Obama nor George W. Bush had this.
Well.. all right. Obama might not “have a feel for how people in the other party think,” but he did offer Republicans two very favorable debt ceiling deals (while Democrats control the White House and the Senate). And he didn’t prosecute Bush officials for the crimes they committed. And he refused to call out the GOP for their no-holds-barred obstructionism ’til the reelection campaign kicked off a few weeks ago. And some of Bush’s biggest blunders were bipartisan disasters, too (Medicare Part D, Bush tax cuts, invasion of Iraq). So… no.
Brooks finishes up the column by lauding Romney for his lack of charisma. Weird. Lack of charisma isn’t something great in and of itself. If a candidate is good substantively, then yeah, lack of charisma should be dismissed. And Romney’s gotten some undeserved bullshit from the press no doubt, about how he just feels inauthentic, how his dress just makes him seem phony (shades of Al Gore on that one) But he’s still a poor candidate for those of us who aren’t millionaires. That never bothers David Brooks much, though, does it?