Barack Obama, George W. Bush, News and Current Events, People, Politicians and Scoundrels, Politics, Reason, Thinking, Truth

David Brooks and Thomas Friedman? What the Fuck?!?

It simply cannot be true. It’s got to be a prank or a smear job. But there is a report today that the President reads and respects — respects! — David Brooks and Thomas Friedman’s opinions.  If that report is true  — if it is true — it’s going to rape my last living bit of faith in Obama.   The poor man cannot both be president and respect David Brooks and Thomas Friedman’s opinions. There is no master carpenter so skilled he can join those two things.  There is no proper fit between them.

I’m not a despairing person, but that damn report has me as close to despair as anything in the news has come  in years to causing me a total meltdown.   David Brooks and Thomas Friedman are among the most pathetic members of a very difficult to respect bunch: America’s “mainstream or traditional” commentariat.  And it seems everyone — just about everyone who thinks for him or herself and takes the time to be reasonably informed — knows their opinions are junk.  If the report really is true, then they have got to test the President for drugs.

But politics is full or rumors.  This is probably just another one of them.  Besides, Obama is far too bright to respect junk opinions, and it therefore seems likely the report is just as much junk as a column by Brooks or Friedman.  Near as I can discover, here’s the passage in GQ Magazine that today’s disturbing report traces back to:

Relations, in any event, are not good. Obama incessantly refers to “the cable chatter” with palpable disdain, and he frequently grumbles to his aides about the media’s coverage of his presidency. His press conferences are fewer than Clinton’s (though more than Bush’s) at the same stage of their presidencies—and, says Clinton’s former press secretary Mike McCurry, “I feel sometimes when I watch Obama do these that he looks like he’d rather be having a root canal.” Obama does reserve a certain respect for opinion writers such as Tom Friedman and David Brooks of The New York Times, Jerry Seib of The Wall Street Journal, E. J. Dionne of The Washington Post, and Joe Klein of Time. “My impression is that he reads a lot of columnists,” says Brooks, “and therefore he sort of cares about what they say.”

At first, it might seem evident from the above that Obama really does respect the opinions of Brooks and Friedman.  But then you realize how vague are the key phrases, “a certain respect”, and “he sort of cares”.   Most tellingly, the latter phrase is attributed to Brooks!  Brooks is an old hand at making up things, so how creditable can his word be?  The more I think about it, the more I wonder why this report has been picked up and republished again and again.

Can you imagine, though, what it would be like if the report were true?  What if Obama were so out of it that he was neither a decent enough nor shrewd enough judge of people’s opinions?  The implications would be enormous.

How many opinions each day is it his job to assess? How many of those opinions he has to assess deal with national security or even world security?  What would it mean that the President of the United States routinely could not tell the difference between his wisest and his most foolish advisors?

Seriously.  Wouldn’t it be Bush all over again?


17 thoughts on “David Brooks and Thomas Friedman? What the Fuck?!?”

  1. If that is true it certainly explains a lot of things.

    I find much of Obama’s behavior inexplicable. He insults his base, he has surrounded himself with Wall Street acolytes, one wonders if his left hand knows what the right hand is doing.

    Obama is still better than Bush, I think and hope. However…


  2. Obama has much more in common with Bush than any editor or commentator. He has resided in the White House and faced the impossibility of inventing policy that universally appeals to those who elected him.

    I intend to run for Arkansas Senate in 2016 but would not desire the position of President. It is a job that has outlived its purpose.
    I do not know the President even remotely or even remotely care about his opinion about anything or anyone. I think I remember Mr Sunstone expressing a confidence once that government will eventually change. He is correct in that and yet does not recognize the fact that “truth selling” is required for our Democracy. When populations were smaller and anyone who became president was known either personally or with a more manageable degree of separation, -the Presidency was more valid.

    Please remember that the US had just rebelled against Great Britain and overthrew a KING. Change, like your alleged evolutionary truth, is always very gradual. Colonial Americans were not yet ready to stop usually being ruled by one person. Monarchs, dictators, Prime Ministers, and Presidents have ruled humanity for a great deal of time.

    It is not time for a new President or more attention to who he is and what he thinks about whoever. It is time to get rid of the Presidency altogether. I will introduce a bill that eliminates the constitutional office of the Presidency when Senator for AR and create a statutory term limit for Congress and dismissal route for Supreme Court Judges as well as ending lifetime Court appointments.

    The Founding Slave-Owners were close and nudged the United States toward democracy but left two branches of government and the Senate to make the change easier to accept. This was of course when the United States had slaves. How idiotic we were to have rebelled against a King named George and elected a George for President while allowing citizens to own other people.

    I will have no chance of winning but I will never-less run. I will be one of the most well known people on the entire Earth by 2016 but Senate is as close to King as I want to get.

    I already thought Mr Sunstone was too intellectual to care about who the President slept with or respected. He almost is. This post lets me know he does not completely believe the science he hopes is reality. In that belief, the only thing that is constant is that nothing remains the same. Democracy where the will of the people is followed if within the laws is coming and there will be no Senate and no President and no lifetime judgeship.

    This is as much about the future as I am allowed to disclose at this time. The United States will either evolve or collapse. It will, of course, do both at the same time in the opinions of many.


  3. Thomas Friedman’s opinions aren’t well respected? That is news to me. He not only consistently supports progressive causes as an economist, but he supported TARP to the extent it was a good idea, but he wanted to see more and criticized Obama for not doing enough. I have to respect that.

    Although I haven’t looked hard into all of what Friedman writes so I suppose there are things that I have missed.


  4. Thanks for your comments, Curtis! I don’t completely understand them, but I wish you the best in your run for Arkansas Senate.

    I am neither aware of Friedman’s support for TARP, nor of his criticisms of Obama, Webs, and I must thank you for informing me of those. It’s been years since I’ve read Friedman on anything like a regular basis, if I ever did, and so, almost all of my opinion of his work comes nowadays from having read what others have to say about his opinions. But because of what you’ve said, I have to recognize the possibility I am misinformed. I guess the only thing to do here is start checking him out for myself.


  5. My impression was that Friedman lost many serious readers with his Suck. On. This column. My other impression is that Obama reads a lot of blogs and therefore he sort of cares about what I have to say. Which reminds me, I need to get back to my place and write a post describing what it’s like to wield so much influence over a president.


  6. I don’t doubt it at all, that Obama “hearts” Teapot Tommy Friedman and Bobo David Brooks. Teapot Tommy is exactly the type of neolib whose thinking comports with The One’s. Brooks’ kinder, gentler rational bobo conservatives are the type of conservatives Obama thinks exists to engage in bipartisanship with him.

    Oh, PROOF that GQ is onto something with Gibbs’ comments? Bobo Brooks and Teapot Tommy were two of the columnists The One invited to his pre-inaugural pseudointellectual confabs.


  7. Gadfly, I’m fascinated that Obama invited Brooks and Friedman to a confab! Thank you so much for that information. It is indeed evidence that Obama actually might respect their opinions. If that’s so, you could be right that Obama, in dealing with Republicans, thinks he’s dealing with the Brooks type of Republican.


  8. Brian, your ambiguous statement precisely describes my thoughts and feelings towards Obama, including the fact I wax and wane in whether I believe him to already be “irrelevant” or washed up.


  9. Disregard everything in that first comment I made. I was confused with someone else. I just realized who Friedman is and how I care very little for him. Ugh. And the fact there is evidence to support Obama has respect for him shows how un-progressive Obama really is.


  10. He is just desperate for more supporters. His advisers probably told him that if he was going to ever dream of getting his ass back to the White House again, he will have to tolerate those folks.


  11. Interesting, Faisal! You could be right. He is certainly desperate for more supporters nowadays.

    What do you think: Does he have good advisors?

    It’s so good to see you! I’ve been hoping you’d drop by. 🙂


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