David Brooks: An Obama 'Sap' Jumps Ship

Columnist Brooks, who a colleague termed Obama's favorite journalist, declares himself betrayed by Obama, and says of the president's latest "stimulus" proposal: "This campaign marker, not a jobs bill....This wasn't a speech to get something done. This was the sort of speech that sounded better when Ted Kennedy was delivering it."

Has President Obama's favorite Republican abandoned ship? Times 'conservative' columnist David Brooks berated himself for being 'a sap' for Obama in his Tuesday column, 'Obama Rejects Obamism.'

In an online chat with fellow columnist Gail Collins in November 2010, Collins implied Brooks was his favorite journalist and 'sane Republican.'


David Brooks: So though I'm skeptical of many of the things government does, I still try to defend the craft of governance. After all, Haiti has 10,000 N.G.O.s, all doing the Lord's work. But unless there is good government, you are struggling against the wind.

Gail Collins: This is why Barack Obama likes you so much. (Admit it, when you're around he ignores every other journalist in the room.) It's because he sees you as the kind of sane Republican he was planning to be bipartisan with.


Brooks outlined his feelings of betrayal in his mea culpa:


I'm a sap, a specific kind of sap. I'm an Obama Sap.

I liked Obama's payroll tax cut ideas and urged Republicans to play along. But of course I'm a sap. When the president unveiled the second half of his stimulus it became clear that this package has nothing to do with helping people right away or averting a double dip. This is a campaign marker, not a jobs bill.

It recycles ideas that couldn't get passed even when Democrats controlled Congress. In his remarks Monday the president didn't try to win Republicans to even some parts of his measures. He repeated the populist cries that fire up liberals but are designed to enrage moderates and conservatives.

He claimed we can afford future Medicare costs if we raise taxes on the rich. He repeated the old half-truth about millionaires not paying as much in taxes as their secretaries. (In reality, the top 10 percent of earners pay nearly 70 percent of all income taxes, according to the I.R.S. People in the richest 1 percent pay 31 percent of their income to the federal government while the average worker pays less than 14 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office.)

This wasn't a speech to get something done. This was the sort of speech that sounded better when Ted Kennedy was delivering it. The result is that we will get neither short-term stimulus nor long-term debt reduction anytime soon, and I'm a sap for thinking it was possible.