"I’m a sap, a specific kind of sap. I’m an Obama Sap.”
It is a rather well worn rhetorical trope to make oneself the butt of one’s criticism of another by indirection. Mr. Brooks like so many others fails to make the critical distinction between the Rhetorical Obama and the Political Obama and how this very canny and adroit pragmatist works both sides of the political street; although he has managed to alienate his base and their hunger for the fulfillment of the promise of the Rhetorical Obama. But Mr. Brooks declares his disillusionment with the reassertion of the Rhetorical Obama, as opposed to the policies of the Political Obama, which remain monuments to a rather dull conservative political/economic ethos. In all this rhetorical chaff, one can see a shining core emerge out of this debris, of the self-proclaimed reasonableness of our writer, brought to this disappointing conclusion by certain facts, like the dishonesty of the President on the matter of taxing the rich. On which Mr. Brooks provides statistical data from the IRS. Mr. Brooks does not touch on the failure of Free Market Economics to deliver on its well advertised promises, he being one of its long time advocates.Nor on the continuing economic ramifications of the collapse of 2008.That might be a kind of honesty demanded by our present crisis but wholly beyond the reach of this political moralist. One final note, a quote from the essay is illustrative of two issues.
“Being a sap, I still believe that the president’s soul would like to do something about the country’s structural problems.”
He speaks first of President Obama’s soul which is a wholly irrelevant matter and perhaps could be the subject of a more deeply argued theological discussion, if one believes in a construct called soul. But here it is used pejoratively as pure condemnation of the self-willed forgetting of one of the cornerstones of Mr. Obama’s Christian faith, as interpreted by Mr. Brooks. As for structural problems one could conjecture that that could mean the final dismantling of what is left of the New Deal as unnecessary in the 21st Century, captained by Enlightened Conservatives like Mr. Brooks and his political fellow travelers.