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April 06, 2012

David Brooks To Obama: I Just Can't Quit You

No link. Here's the more egregious parts of his latest column.

President Obama is an intelligent, judicious man who can see all sides of an issue. But every once in a while he tries to get politically cute, and he puts on his Keith Olbermann mask.

Every once in a while?

When does Obama not "put on a Keith Olbermann mask"? Brooks claims this; he ought to be able to give us some examples when Obama spoke as a nonpartisan, intelligent, judicious statesman.

I suppose it’s to his credit that he’s most inept when he tries to take the low road. He resorts to hoary, brain-dead clichés. He wanders so far from his true nature that he makes Mitt Romney look like Mr. Authenticity.

When is he ept?

That’s pretty much what happened this week in Obama’s speech before a group of newspaper editors. Obama’s target in this speech was Representative Paul Ryan’s budget.

It should be said at the outset that the Ryan budget has some disturbing weaknesses, which Democrats are right to identify. The Ryan budget would cut too deeply into discretionary spending. This could lead to self-destructive cuts in scientific research, health care for poor kids and programs that boost social mobility.

Later on, he chides Obama thus: " Then he unleashed every 1980s liberal cliché in the book, calling the Republicans a bunch of trickle-down, Trojan horse-bearing social Darwinists."

But didn't Brooks himself just do that, with his litany of woes?

Moreover, the Ryan tax ideas are too regressive. They make tax cuts for the rich explicit while they hide any painful loophole closings that might hurt Republican donors.

How is that regressive? On one hand, he says, Ryan promises, explicitly, tax cuts. In the very next breath, he says Ryan "hides any painful loophole closings that might hurt Republican donors."

Loophole closings like capping the mortgage interest deduction-- that is, increasing the taxable income base of richer people while simultaneously lowering the rate.

That's not regressive. Neither is it progressive. The whole point is to be more or less revenue neutral, and yet increase efficiency and productivity by getting rid of a lot of arbitrary, economic-decision-distorting shelters and loopholes.

All of this applies to better-off Americans. With one hand, a lower rate is granted, with another, the taxable base that rate will be applied to is expanded.

Does David Brooks understand what "regressive" means? Apparently he doesn't.

But these legitimate criticisms and Obama’s modest but real deficit-reducing accomplishments got buried under an avalanche of distortion. The Republicans have been embarrassing themselves all primary season. It’s as if Obama wanted to sink to their level in a single hour.

Obama's real deficit-reducing accomplishments?

Like when he walked away from an actual deal, because Democrats told him they needed to run on Mediscare, and could not do so if Democrats joined a useful, sensible deal on Medicare?

I think that's all for David Brooks.

The Warm, Comfortable Cocoon of the New York Times

Where even our "conservative" columnists hate Conservatives and love Obama.


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posted by Ace at 01:33 PM

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