The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Brooks: it’s “incredibly stupid” to hope Obama fails

with 8 comments

David Brooks, a thorough-going conservative and an admirably ethical political writer, took a question on C-Span that was embedded with racial and (what will seem to some unstable characters as) murderous overtones:
clipped from

David Brooks
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Today on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, conservative columnist David Brooks ridiculed those on the right who have said they want Obama to fail. During the segment, a caller — who claimed to be phoning in from “a club” in Georgia full of “all white folks, all millionaires and good Republicans” — begged Brooks to “come on board” with Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Fox News to “get on Mr. Obama’s case.” “We got to bring that man down,” the caller said, adding, “We just cannot have eight years of this black man.”

BROOKS: It’s tremendously important to put color and prejudice aside and see him for what he is, which is just an incredibly impressive smart man. […] And I just think it’s incredibly important to root for the guy, whether you agree with every policy. […] But the idea that we shouldn’t be rooting for our president strikes me as not only, I don’t know about unpatriotic, it’s just stupid. We should be rooting for our president because it’s rooting for ourselves.

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It’s a wise admonition. Every American should decry talk like “We got to bring that man down,” and “We just cannot have eight years of this black man.”  That’s Klan talk, despised by people of good will across the political spectrum.

Brooks’ pleas to “put color and prejudice aside” and to cheer for whatever can be cheered for strikes me as remarkably sensible, and even good.   Conspiratorial animus rarely makes us better.

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8 Responses

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  1. Please don’t lump Hannity and Limbaugh in the same category as the racist caller. As Limbaugh has stated, he hopes that Obama’s policies of higher taxation being THE answer fails. You may disagree, but understand where he is coming from. He is a free-trade, capitalist and sees the other side as socialism and communism. I’m just asking you to understand the other point of view int eh context that it was intended. And let’s not forget that there really were democrats who wanted republicans to fail (policy-wise) in the past. Unfortunately it is the nature of American politics.


    April 6, 2009 at 10:35 am

    • Hi Durk, good to hear from you! Here are some thoughts to consider:

      1. Mr. Limbaugh began this debate with reference to Obama himself, not to Obama’s policies. The policy part came later.

      2. Mr. Limbaugh has made some astonishingly race-based, factless put-downs, most notably that black people only voted for Obama because he was black (which certainly doesn’t explain why they so reliably vote against Alan Keyes). It portrays black people as mindless lemmings.

      3. Neither I nor David Brooks brought up Mr. Limbaugh – the caller apparently did, who saw him as representing his interests.

      4. Mr. Obama has never proposed “higher taxation” as “THE answer.” In fact, Obama hasn’t proposed higher taxation for the vast majority of Americans at all! One of McCain’s themes was “Obama wants to raise your taxes;” it was refuted by non-partisan fact checkers over and over. The tax burden was shifted somewhat from the working-class to the leisure class – the top marginal rate being bumped from 35% to 39% – but that is still the third lowest top marginal rate since WWII. Republicans have carefully cultivated the “tax and spend Democrats” propaganda, but it has little basis in fact. (By the way, deficits usually decline under Democratic presidents and climb under Republican ones.)

      Finally, and most importantly, what is the implication of even the best construction of hoping Obama’s policies fail? If they fail, millions more will lose their jobs, plunging their families into despair; if they fail, people will still be watching their loved ones die as a result of unaffordable healthcare; if they fail, millions more will walk away from the homes in which they invested their life savings; if they fail, millions more great-grandmothers whose pensions depend on investments will have to leave retirement and try to make enough to pay the bills by hanging up clothes at Wal-Mart.

      There are very human, very tragic consequences that will result if Obama’s policies fail. How could a person hope for the results of failure merely to vindicate a political philosophy?

      Indeed, my core complaint with right-wing politics is that it thinks too much about ideology and too little for suffering people. It is the Pharisee element of American politics.

      Best wishes!


      April 6, 2009 at 12:23 pm

  2. Brooks is too stupid to know he was punked. Moreover how often did Brooks root for Bush to fail? In Iraq? On his tax cuts? On his Court Appointments? Listen to what Obama’s critics actually say not what you think they said. Limbaugh listed specific Obama plans as well as Obama’s particular bent towards big government when he originally uttered those words.


    April 6, 2009 at 10:33 am

    • Jaland, I don’t recall Brooks ever hoping Bush would fail; Bush and Brooks were often on the same side. Certainly Brooks favored tax cuts and favored success in Iraq, and I don’t know of an instance of hoping a Court Appointment would fail. I think it very likely that he was and is a fan of Roberts.


      April 6, 2009 at 11:44 am

  3. “All the time” would be a stretch – but I wouldn’t want to go back to where America was 40 or even 20 years ago. There is upward progress! Many US non-whites couldn’t even vote when I was a kid – there is progress, and it doesn’t always hit the news, but it never, ever lets up.


    April 5, 2009 at 8:03 pm

  4. I hope so, I’m glad you’re convinced!! I’m not at all all the time…

    we gotta save the planet!! and it is sooo urgent!!


    April 5, 2009 at 7:55 pm

  5. wow!! incredible and always disappointing to be reminded that there are so many people who think like that man on the phone.


    April 5, 2009 at 12:59 pm

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