Commentary Magazine


Don’t Be Morose! Get Even!

David Brooks says he’s out on the ledge, morose, and about to have a “Howard Beale” moment. Just last week he was telling us that Obama was a misunderstood moderate. Now he confesses that Obama is aiding and abetting unlawfulness of the worst kind. He explains:

Barack Obama campaigned offering a new era of sane government. And I believe he would do it if he had the chance. But he has been so sucked into the system that now he stands by while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talks about passing health care via “deem and pass” — a tricky legislative device in which things get passed without members having the honor or the guts to stand up and vote for it.
Deem and pass? Are you kidding me? Is this what the Revolutionary War was fought for? Is this what the boys on Normandy beach were trying to defend? Is this where we thought we would end up when Obama was speaking so beautifully in Iowa or promising to put away childish things?

Not very moderate. Not even defensible. Brooks is left, as many of us are, blinking in disbelief:

It’s unbelievable that people even talk about this with a straight face. Do they really think the American people are going to stand for this? Do they think it will really fool anybody if a Democratic House member goes back to his district and says, “I didn’t vote for the bill. I just voted for the amendments.” Do they think all of America is insane? … It’s just Democrats wanting to pass a bill, any bill, and shredding anything they have to in order to get it done.

So I think we can agree that this is not moderate, not thoughtful, and not Burkean. (And it turns out that a perfectly creased pants leg was not a sign that “he’ll be a very good president.”) What we have learned is that Obama is willing to use radical means to defy the popular will and enact a massive expansion of government. Maybe the rubes understand Obama fairly well, after all. They figured out quite some time ago that the entire campaign message — change, hope, post-partisanship, nonideological, fiscally sober — was a ruse. And they understand how immoderate both his methods and his aims are.

I personally am not out on a ledge. (But then I never bought the whole Obama campaign whoop-de-do.) Should this pass, I have infinite faith that the American people will deliver a mortal electoral blow to those politicians who thought they could shred anything to get their way. And then bit by bit — or in one fell swoop — the elected replacements for the shredders will rip out ObamaCare. So there’s no reason to be morose. Elections are great corrective exercises, and one is just around the corner.