Friday, October 17, 2008

David Brooks – Is Obama more like FDR, or more like Ronald Reagan?

Flying pigs are slip-sliding on the frozen fires of Hell.

David Books has written an extended essay praising Barack Obama. He compares Obama to his personal hero (Reagan) and to a man usually placed in the top 3 of great American presidents …

David Brooks - Thinking About Obama -

… Some candidates are motivated by something they lack. For L.B.J., it was respect. For Bill Clinton, it was adoration. These politicians are motivated to fill that void. Their challenge once in office is self-regulation. How will they control the demons, insecurities and longings that fired their ambitions?

But other candidates are propelled by what some psychologists call self-efficacy, the placid assumption that they can handle whatever the future throws at them. Candidates in this mold, most heroically F.D.R. and Ronald Reagan, are driven upward by a desire to realize some capacity in their nature. They rise with an unshakable serenity that is inexplicable to their critics and infuriating to their foes.

Obama has the biography of the first group but the personality of the second. He grew up with an absent father and a peripatetic mother. “I learned long ago to distrust my childhood,” he wrote in “Dreams From My Father.” This is supposed to produce a politician with gaping personal needs and hidden wounds.

But over the past two years, Obama has never shown evidence of that. Instead, he has shown the same untroubled self-confidence day after day…

I was annoyed when Obama praised Reagan, but I didn’t write anything.

Obama is a brilliant political tactician. True, Palin/McCain will still win, but nobody could do better than he’s done.

Brooks appears to be nerving himself to endorse Obama. Even if he doesn’t, those pigs are still spinning.


Anonymous said...

Obama reminds me of that "perfect" dad who always sort of insists with a smile and a reassuring tone of voice that everyone in the car is in agreement.

I don't like Obama because he says he will bring "change" (what kind?), "unity" (I was pro-war, so who is going to whose side?), and "hope" (what if we hope for different things, does that make me "wrong" and him "right"?).

Obama will "take care" of us. The velvet hammer of paternalistic liberal fascism. Careful what you wish for.

John Gordon said...

I hope we'll find out.

One rule I follow is to assume that, from day 0 to the election, no sane politician would ever be speaking to me.

I'm so different from the electorate they'd be crazy to talk in terms I care about, or subjects I think are important.

So I pretty much ignore what they say and look at what I can tell from their record and from the people who they associate with.

Obama associated with astoundingly well regarded people who are not politicians, and who thus CAN speak things I'm interested in.

McCain associates with lobbyists, Bush cronies, and the minions of Karl Rove.

Easy call.