Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, November 13, 2009

A Republican Obama?

In 2006, conservative columnist David Brooks fell in love politically with a young senator and wrote a column, "Run Barack Run." We all know how that worked out and now, in a column today, "Meet John Thune," Brooks reveals a new heartthrob from the other side of the Senate aisle.

"Thune," he writes, "is the junior senator from South Dakota, the man who beat Tom Daschle in an epic campaign five years ago. The first thing everybody knows about him is that he is tall (6 feet 4 inches), tanned (in a prairie, sun-chapped sort of way) and handsome (John McCain jokes that if he had Thune’s face he’d be president right now). If you wanted a Republican with the same general body type and athletic grace as Barack Obama, you’d pick Thune."

So much for looks, although a Gary Cooper/Jimmy Stewart lookalike might visually be a better 2012 bet for the GOP than a stiff Mitt Romney or a pudding-faced Mike Huckabee.

But more than that, Brooks insists his new man is not ideologically scary, that "people like Thune offer Republicans a way to connect fiscal discipline with traditional small-town values, a way to tap into rising populism in a manner that is optimistic, uplifting and nice."

These days, few commentators are calling Barack Obama "nice," but it's cheering to remember when Brooks was saying about him: "He distrusts righteous anger and zeal. He does not demonize his opponents and tells audiences that he does not think George Bush is a bad man."

As a political casting director, Brooks has a record that deserves respect.


Holte Ender said...

I saw Thune in a video of his Town Hall Meeting, and was not overly impressed, would like to see him in a less choreographed environment.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

Hmm, not familiar with Thune, but I have to say that neither Romney nor Huckabee work for me, either. Romney's too . . . slick, and too liberal on important matters (like security and fiscal responsibility--he's made a huge mess in my state) and too conservative on social matters (gay marriage, abortion--think he's still opposed to it, anyway, but who knows with him). As for Huckabee, I like him and watch his show. There's something good about him, but I'm not at all interested in a preacher for a president. Let's leave him on Fox doing his show; besides, he plays a mean guitar, and we wouldn't get much of that if he were in the White House.

As to BO "not demoniz[ing] his opponents [or] telling audiences that Bush is a bad man," you've got to be kidding me, right? Did you not hear him call American citizens, citizens of the country he is supposed to lead, "teabaggers" and liars? Did you not hear him belittle and mock Americans about "clinging to guns and religion"? Did you not hear him time and again try to silence any and all opposition by either dismissing it, ignoring it, or attacking the people who dared express dissent? Did you not see him try to ban Fox News from the WH press pool and warn (via Herr Emanuel) the fringe media against picking up any stories from Fox . . . no matter how late to the plate they'd be? Did you not hear him, only this week, whine about the economic mess he "inherited" (and somehow made ten times worse in as many months)? All he does is blame and attack President Bush. It's embarrassing. When does he plan to take responsibility and get on with his job? No other president in history has spent as much time blaming the previous administration and casting aspersions upon them at every turn. Not one. Until this one. They all got into office and became president. This person is still campaigning, only not quite as well as he did before.

He's not what you think and never was. Senator Kennedy had it wrong, and as much as love and admire Senator Kennedy, I had to see what is right there in front of me. Do you really think that Senator Kennedy would approve of BO today?

Senator Kennedy himself would have hopped on the nearest plane and gone to Fort Hood as soon as he heard the news if he were president. You know he would have. He certainly wouldn't have bumbled through two minutes of crazy "shout outs" before bothering to mention it from some reservation somewhere. BO should have been in Fort Hood (just as he should have been in Berlin). And a President Kennedy would have been (at both). After one of our citizens (in Massachusetts) lost her husband in 9/11, he personally picked up the phone and called her; in fact, he stayed in touch with all of our 9/11 families here. He did things like that all the time. And he would never, ever in a million years attack Fox News or try to ban them from the WH press pool. And there is no way in the world that he would have ever, in a million years, publicly belittled working men and women. He just wouldn't.

His views were far too left for me, but I admired him as a man and as a statesman and voted for him every time he came up for reelection on the grounds that he was a man of principles and courage and heart. You write about heart sometimes, and eloquently, Senator Kennedy had that in spades. Can you really say the same of this president?