Sometimes it seems like moderate Republicans are living in a different world than the rest of us. Perhaps the greatest example is the New York Times‘ David Brooks. In the midst of a tough primary on both sides, Brooks laments that neither Democrats nor Republicans have someone with the integrity and humanity of — wait for it — President Barack Obama.
Obama radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I’m beginning to miss, and that I suspect we will all miss a bit, regardless of who replaces him.
Since Brooks seems not to have been paying attention for the past eight years, I will briefly respond to 5 critical errors in his article.
1. “The Obama administration has been remarkably scandal-free.”
When I first read this, I could not believe my eyes. The Obama administration may not be the worst in American history (see “Woodrow Wilson,” and then “Franklin Delano Roosevelt”), but it takes a powerful suspension of disbelief to accept that it is “scandal-free.” Tell that to the tea-party groups which were denied tax-exempt status by an activist Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Tell that to the thousands of veterans who were denied care and died, waiting in line at the VA. Tell that to the families of those heroes who died in Benghazi, Libya. If that weren’t enough, consider Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s insecure emails, which could have compromised the identity of covert Americans to our enemies.
2. Obama has “mostly attracted and hired people with high personal standards.”
Who, exactly? People like Lois Lerner, who pled the fifth when asked about the IRS scandal? Clinton — who valued keeping her emails secret from the public over the lives of covert Americans? The Secret Service agents who were fired for a prostitution scandal in Colombia?
3. “He’s exuded this basic care and respect for the dignity of others time and time again.”
4. “Obama has not appealed to … fear, cynicism, hatred and despair.”
From the very 2008 Obama Brooks claims to miss so much:
It’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
5. Obama’s real legacy? Donald Trump
As The Federalist‘s Ben Domenech put it, “It is no accident that President Obama’s America has given rise to Donald Trump.” Obama has pushed the balkanization of America by encouraging minorities not to assimilate. He has left the country more racially and religiously divided. The country is more politically correct and “people feel less free to speak their minds.” Trust in the nation’s elites, meanwhile, is at an historic low.
Obama has polarized the country like never before, and one wonders why Brooks can’t see it. Maybe he’s just too angry at Texas Senator Ted Cruz.