Then there’s David Brooks who like Michael Douglas in Fatal Attraction, sounds like he is quite remorseful to have chosen the wrong date. Looking for a moderate, he wound up with a crazed leftist:
You wouldn’t know it some days, but there are moderates in this country — moderate conservatives, moderate liberals, just plain moderates. We sympathize with a lot of the things that President Obama is trying to do. We like his investments in education and energy innovation. We support health care reform that expands coverage while reducing costs.
But the Obama budget is more than just the sum of its parts. There is, entailed in it, a promiscuous unwillingness to set priorities and accept trade-offs. There is evidence of a party swept up in its own revolutionary fervor — caught up in the self-flattering belief that history has called upon it to solve all problems at once.
So programs are piled on top of each other and we wind up with a gargantuan $3.6 trillion budget. We end up with deficits that, when considered realistically, are $1 trillion a year and stretch as far as the eye can see. We end up with an agenda that is unexceptional in its parts but that, when taken as a whole, represents a social-engineering experiment that is entirely new. …
Those of us who consider ourselves moderates — moderate-conservative, in my case — are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was. His words are responsible; his character is inspiring. But his actions betray a transformational liberalism that should put every centrist on notice. As Clive Crook, an Obama admirer, wrote in the Financial Times, the Obama budget “contains no trace of compromise. It makes no gesture, however small, however costless to its larger agenda, of a bipartisan approach to the great questions it addresses. It is a liberal’s dream of a new New Deal.”
And then there’s David Gergen who frets that not enough time is being spent on the economy (oh, that) and too much on an overly ambitious agenda. So he calls for a “course correction.”
Andrew Sullivan, back from his investigative work on the Sarah Palin pregnancy, has now discovered the fiscal conservatives have been had. Alas, his hopes for fiscal sobriety are being washed away in a spending spree worthy of a drunken sailor:
We are being presented with what can only be described as a massive increase in government spending and power with the only fiscal balance being wringing much more money from the successful. The president predicted a tight budget and spending control in his non-SOTU, and he appealed to fiscal conservatives by promising a long-term attack on entitlement spending. I see nothing here yet that fulfills that promise.
Meanwhile, Marty Peretz, who attested to candidate Obama’s pro-Israel and tough foreign policy bona fides during the campaign, now is incensed the president has put into a high level national security post Chas Freeman, the Israel-bashing toady of the Saudis who assigned responsibility “both ways” for 9/11 and bemoaned the Chinese didn’t crack down on the Tiananmen Square protesters quick enough. He pleads with the president to dump Freeman and writes in language as bitter as any scorned lover:
But Freeman’s real offense (and the president’s if he were to appoint him) is that he has questioned the loyalty and patriotism of not only Zionists and other friends of Israel, the great swath of American Jews and their Christian countrymen, who believed that the protection of Zion is at the core of our religious and secular history, from the Pilgrim fathers through Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy. And how has he offended this tradition? By publishing and peddling the unabridged John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, with panegyric and hysteria. If Freeman believes that this book is the truth he can’t be trusted by anyone, least of all Barack Obama. I can’t believe that Obama wants to appoint someone who is quintessentially an insult to the patriotism of some many of his supporters, me included.
All in all it is one dismayed and bitter group, filled with recriminations and a bit of self-flagellation. And it’s not hard to recognize that, as in any grieving process, they have passed through denial (when all who criticized their beloved Obama were excoriated and ridiculed) and are in the second step: anger. They were misled or deluded into believing Obama was a moderate or an indefatigable supporter of Israel or a fiscal grown-up or a reformer (take your pick).
They and the rest of the country are figuring out the bitter truth: Obama bears little resemblance to the moderate and soothing figure who tied up John McCain in knots. He bears even less resemblance to the Agent of Change. Rather he’s pretty much the Chicago pol who went to the Senate to be its most liberal member.
And for the wounded Obama supporters, we can offer just one bit of counsel: you have lots of company. There are trading floors filled with sympathetic souls and businesses filled with stunned executives. They didn’t get what they bargained for either. Just ask Jim Cramer. Oh yes, please do invite him to your sessions when he’s not busy with the “I lost my life’s savings” support group.