David Brooks Compromise Lie

David BrooksI thought I was done for the night, but I made the great mistake of reading David Brooks repugnant column, Obama the Dealmaker. In it, he says that Obama shouldn’t use his leverage against the Republicans. Why? Because that will cause them to not make deals later on in Obama’s second term.

At best, Brooks’ contention is idiotic. The only reason the Republicans will make a deal now is that the Democrats currently have leverage. After this crisis abates, they will be as intractable as they ever were. Brooks claims this isn’t true. He says some great wave of reasonableness has come over them. Besides, writes Brooks, “Today’s Republicans no longer have an incentive to deny Obama victories. He’s never running again.”

Really?! Is that what this last four years have been all about? It was just Obama? They would have behaved differently if there had been some other Democrat in the White House? This is rubbish! I will allow that if Joe Biden had been president, there wouldn’t have been all this birther business. But otherwise: it would have been the same. Actually, it might have been worse because Biden is actually more liberal than Obama. Regardless, Republicans will want to deny Obama victories because they want to stop whomever runs after Obama. This isn’t graduate level political science!

But I don’t think Brooks really believes this idiotic argument. Instead, he’s lying through his high income-earning teeth. He is trying to convince the nation—especially important “liberals” in Washington—to go easy on the Republicans. “Sure, you could kill these guys, but have a little heart!” It would be one thing if in the future they would return the favor, but you know the story of the scorpion and the frog[1]: it is Republican nature to push every advantage to the limit.

Let’s be very clear here: Obama has learned his lesson. After the debt ceiling debacle, he finally learned that the only thing that the Republicans respect is power. When he plays hardball with them, they respond well. When he is “nice” they dump all over him. So I think the truth is exactly the opposite of what Brooks is selling. Only if Obama pushes for the most extreme deal imaginable will the Republicans work on other things with him. If he caves and plays “nice” they block him at every turn.

Are you listening, Mr. President?!

[1] Here is my favorite version of the story, because I like frogs a lot more than I like scorpions:

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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