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An Alternate History: In Which the Pundits Had Obama Pegged

David Brooks has an amusing column that speculates about what an alternative set of decisions by Obama (e.g.,an energy bill before ObamaCare, tax cuts instead of the spend-athon) would have looked like. I would quibble with some items: for example, the energy bill would not have been just about “technological advances, private sector growth and breakthrough productivity gains”; it would have been about taxes, taxes, taxes. But that’s minor.

The real amusement comes from the fact that the “alternate history” bears no resemblance at all to what Obama has done; it is the ultimate un-Obama. It’s not just a few decisions that were wrong. The real Obama at nearly every juncture made the wrong call (e.g., letting Nancy Pelosi run wild rather than “develop[ing] a political strategy they called Save Nancy From Herself”). The implication is that the real Obama blew it — again and again.

This says something about the pundits who believed they were getting un-Obama. They were impressed with image and with pants, but failed to comprehend what Obama was all about. They painted an un-Obama vision — moderate, responsible, evidence-based, unifying. The list could go on. All ludicrously off-base, except in some alternate reality. (Like the Star Trek episode where Spock had a beard.)

Moreover, the real “alternate history” would have to include this:

The mainstream media and liberal pundits – who had been derided by conservative critics as out of touch or as actively engaged in a conspiracy to present a pleasing but false image of Obama – were vindicated. The liberal print media and broadcast news networks enjoyed newfound credibility. The conservative pundits were thoroughly discredited. The New York Times, basking in the glow of its reaffirmation as the “newspaper of record,” saw a dramatic improvement in its balance sheet. Meanwhile, Fox News closed its doors, the blogosphere shriveled, the conservative activists hid under their beds, and the center-left coalition cemented its gains in the 2010 midterm elections.

Yeah, no resemblance to reality. Whatsoever.


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