June 12, 2013

"[W]hen David Brooks complains that Edward Snowden is an unmediated man, I must note that in the civil society Brooks invokes..."

"... Presidents and other leaders were also mediated; they were not merely checked by Congress, courts, etc., but they were also checked by themselves, and a sense of what was proper that went beyond 'how much can I get away with now?' Obama, too, is unmediated in that sense. That Brooks couldn’t see beyond his sharply-creased pants to notice that when it was apparent to keen observers even before the 2008 election is not to his credit. If the system of civil society has failed, it is in no small part because its guardians — notably including Brooks — have also failed."

So writes Instapundit, linking to my post yesterday, which links to David Brooks's new column "The Solitary Leaker."

The reference to Brooks falling for Obama's pants crease is such a big meme that it can be the entry for "David Brooks" in the new Dictionary of Received Ideas. I tracked down a substantial discussion of it from August 2009 in The New Republic:
In the spring of 2005, New York Times columnist David Brooks arrived at then-Senator Barack Obama’s office for a chat. Brooks... had never met Obama before. But, as they chewed over the finer points of Edmund Burke, it didn’t take long for the two men to click. “I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging,” Brooks recently told me, “but usually when I talk to senators, while they may know a policy area better than me, they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me. I got the sense he knew both better than me.”

That first encounter is still vivid in Brooks’s mind. “I remember distinctly an image of--we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,” Brooks says, “and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” In the fall of 2006, two days after Obama’s The Audacity of Hope hit bookstores, Brooks published a glowing Times column. The headline was “Run, Barack, Run.”
Here's "Run, Barack, Run." Does Brooks deserve to be derided endlessly over the fixation on the pants crease? It is hilarious. It's like Rich Lowry getting "little starbursts" from Sarah Palin's wink. You can't not bring it up. But let's remember, Brooks's vision of perfection, seen in a pant's crease, came after they conversed, in depth, about Edmund Burke. That is, the 2 men were talking, in all likelihood, about the importance of civil society.

Does Obama deserve to be called an unmediated man?

ADDED: Speaking of Brooks and legs and feelings and the summer of 2009, remember this? ("I sat next to a Republican senator once at dinner and he had his hand on my inner thigh the whole time.")

97 comments:

AJ Lynch said...

Insty could not have said it better.

edutcher said...

It's a fetish.

People who fantasize about black (or half black) men usually have a particular anatomical singularity in mind.

For Brooks, it's a sartorial one.

Ann Althouse said...

Typo, now corrected, for "The Solitary Leaker," I had "The Solitary Linker."

Must have been thinking about Instapundit.

Nonapod said...

Does Obama deserve to be called an unmediated man?

Absolutely. Given all he's said and done, I don't believe he's personally constrained by any internal conflicts of morality.

EDH said...

I get the feeling that the "perfectly creased pant" Brooks refers to was Obama's "trouser tent".

Bob Ellison said...

Great blog theme today!

bpm4532 said...

unmediated? he certainly seems to make statements that shows his true self that would make him fall outside a norm that includes thoughtful, considerate, open-minded people.

-Of the Cambridge police - "they acted stupidly"
-Of Treyvon Martin - "if I had a son he would look like Treyvon"
-To his political supporters - "your neighbors, get in their faces"

then there are so many reversals from his positions on the campaign trail that one must reasonably conclude they were lies.

unmediated? I say pathological.

bagoh20 said...

Brooks is now the archetype of the asshole intellectual, and does it so well by simultaneously being smug and looking like a fool in equal measure.

BTW, I don't really know what an "archetype" is, but I know an asshoile when I see one.

SteveR said...

Yes he's not about mediation.

Dad29 said...

"Unmediated"?

Let's consider the use of Air Force One and Burning Hills, for openers.

jr565 said...

There needs to be commercials of Barack Obama the Candidate on the spying stuff and Barack Obama the president on spying stuff. And if there already are, there need to be more. The media needs to get hold of his statements as a candidate and press the shit out of him on his hypocricy.

By the way, he's right now and was wrong then, but he should still have to answer for his hypocricy.

Oh and by the way, George Bush is nowhere near as bad on the spying front as Barack Obama which may or may not be a bad thing depending on your perspective. Do you miss him yet liberals? He may have had an NSA program but it wasn't targeting every single American. And you voted for him. TWICE!



Pastafarian said...

Althouse: "Does Obama deserve to be called an unmediated man?"

How can you even ask this?

He's as unchecked by conscience as he is by the fawning press. He sics the IRS and EPA on ordinary citizens merely because they oppose him politically; he hands guns to Mexican cartels so that they can be found at murder scenes to grease the rails for more anti-gun laws; he funnels hundreds of billions of dollars (created by millions of Americans, present and future, trading chunks of their lives for pay) to his cronies.

Maybe it's the word "man" that prompts your question.

jr565 said...

Do non gay men notice the pants crease of other men?

bpm4532 said...

unmediated? he certainly seems to make statements that shows his true self that would make him fall outside a norm that includes thoughtful, considerate, open-minded people.

-Of the Cambridge police - "they acted stupidly"
-Of Treyvon Martin - "if I had a son he would look like Treyvon"
-To his political supporters - "your neighbors, get in their faces"

then there are so many reversals from his positions on the campaign trail that one must reasonably conclude they were lies.

unmediated? I say pathological.

bagoh20 said...

This NSA data collection thing has really mixed up the teams. It's like the laundry washing the uniforms got them all mixed up and just passed them out randomly.

Mitchell the Bat said...

It's fairly easy to imagine Obama throwing his shirts, one by one, covering the table in a many-colored disarray, and then Brooks bending his head with a strained sound and weeping into them.

gerry said...

Does Obama deserve to be called an unmediated man?

He's a phony person, a liar.

However, he is THE media man, concealed by a compliant, servile media - many of whom met with him yesterday off the record - that conveys what he wants to seem to be, even though the products of his actions are sorrows, lost lives, and a fearful future.

By their fruits will we know them. So far, he's rotten.

The naive still think Obama is a good person. I wonder if they hope to be Obamapparatchiks, who will prosper even as the majority suffers.

Mogget said...

I kinda doubt that a conversation between Brooks and Obama about Edmund Burke would be worth the time.

And Brooks' comment about the trouser crease renders him forever a laughingstock.

bagoh20 said...

I don't know how Brooks explains all the highly mediated people who disagree with him, and it's clear he never even thought about it, and just let his keyboard flow once he had his unexamined idea for today's work product which needing to get out before lunch with his gardner.

Like with the pants crease, it seems he doesn't really think or analyse as much as feel things, albeit in a very intellectually dressed fashion. Like where he noticed a quality pants crease, where I might notice they were cleaner than mine.

Chip Ahoy said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha I meant to say Insty made some very good points yesterday and I agreed wholeheartedly. It resonated with me ))) ding ((( like that at the very first sentence and ))) ding ((( ))) ding ((( ))) ding ((( throughout.


Tank said...

bagoh20 said...

Brooks is now the archetype of the asshole intellectual...


Not Thomas Friedman?

AReasonableMan said...

Obligatory bash Obama post from Althouse.

Gotta keep the punters happy when real issues are so confusing.

bagoh20 said...

So Obama and Brooks discussed the superior pissing ability of the Irishman, and how to maintain a good pants crease while doing battle? I could see how that would lead to admiration of a man in a first meet.

SteveR said...

Pants crease reminds me of Shawshank Redemption.

Red: I mean, seriously, how often do you really look at a mans shoes?

Ann Althouse said...

I'm Meadeated.

edutcher said...

OT, but an interesting counterpoint to last night's post about the ACLU very noisily filing suit regarding the NSA survelling us all, KS Republican files suit to protect religious rights of Christian soldiers

Where was the vaunted ACLU on that one?

Or, for that matter, this one?

gk1 said...

Obama supporters = cat lovers. Both proclaim amazing, cerebral powers for their pet, where there is none in evidence.

bagoh20 said...

"Not Thomas Friedman?".

OK, so the archetypes come in boxed set, carefully placed in a faux felt liner molded to fit each perfectly so they don't get mixed up and roll around on each other like common Irish women.

AprilApple said...

The NSA scandal also operates as an administration squirrel.

Amnesty for illegals anyone?
Screw you, law abiders. Illegals go to the front of the line.

edutcher said...

AnUnreasonableTroll said...

Obligatory bash Obama post from Althouse.

Gotta keep the punters happy when real issues are so confusing.


Troll does his Ritmo impersonation.

Or is he just Ritmo in the daylight?

If you can't understand violation of our Constitutional rights is pretty easy to understand...

you just might be a...

Leftist.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm Meadeated.

And happily so going on 4 years.

AllenS said...

Not surprisingly, Brooks plays a conservative on TV. Most people who have been paying attention, understand that it's nothing more than an act.

X said...

Does Obama deserve to be called an unmediated man?

he didn't seem to learn anything in his auto liability insurance anecdote. in his late 40's he still felt "that's not real insurance". dumb or dishonest.

Nonapod said...

And as to Snowden I look at him as a similar species to Aaron Swartz. An intelligent, young, brash, very idealistic, and slightly naive character who takes a stand against what he views as great injustices. People like that could certainly be considered unmediated, but that doesn't mean they're wrong in their position, just perhaps in the way they went about attempting to correct whatever injustice they perceived.

Hagar said...

"Archetype of the intellectual asshole" is good.

jr565 said...

The reason he's so bad is because until very recently he's had so little media scrutiny. You can do all manner of shit if the media covers your ass and carries your water.
This IRS mess was deliberately held till after the election. But I bet if the media knew about it they would have buried it till then as well.

The one scandal that is not a scandal in my book (the NSA program) might be one of the first times that he gets some actual scrutiny and the media doesn't bury it under the rug.

But my guess is, they'll probably bury that too even if they think its a real scandal. It will be another republican witch hunt that can be ignored as opposed to a real scandal.

traditionalguy said...

It was once part of men's fashion for elegantly dressed aristocrats to show a well turned calf muscle by wearing knee length breeches.

This practice was supposed to be sexy and attractive by showing a man had a health body sculpted like a Greek Statue.

Brooks is the epitome of a sensitive liberal arts man. Not that there is anything wrong with that in the Ivy League that Brooks presumes is entitled to rule the USA by their style.

Hagar said...

NYT's idea of what a conservative ought to be like, is also good.

BarryD said...

Brooks certainly deserves to be derided, for that, and for a lot of other things.

If anyone ever deserved the off-the-cuff epithet "Nazi" it's Brooks. He worships creased pants and totalitarianism on every level of government. He's in many ways a more insidious enemy of the individual than any overt authoritarian.

Larry J said...

n Althouse said...
I'm Meadeated.


TMI

Broomhandle said...

Was that the same Titus as out current Titus? The writing style seems distinctly different.

Broomhandle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom said...

I think it's appropriate to at least suspect Obama is an unmediated man, in the since that does not seem to feel contrained to the traditional sense of restraint many presidents have felt (he's definitely not Calvin Coolage). It may be more appropriate to think he is mediated, but by forces many of us are not. He's a intellectual president. For him, the intellectual principle appears to dominate his actions and it's important for him to be "understood" as having intellectually figured out the best course of action (e.g., "Let me be perfectly clear").

If you remember, Bush did the opposite. He played down his intellectual understanding of the situation -- he wanted to connect to people at a baser level through a more intuitive decision making process. We're finding out that Bush was really smart similar the way we found out Reagan was really smart. But we've had to find that out from other people.

Obama, on the other hand, tells you how smart he is. And two groups of people flock to this message. The intellectuals who believe that society can be engineered to produce a repeatable and reliable result -- and -- low information voters who accept that he's really smart but have no idea how to justify that thought.

It's us in the middle , the people who live in the practical world and who, ultimately, have to pay for this social engineering nightmare, who see through the charade. Obama is smart but no one is smart enough to understand everyone’s needs and then figure out how to leverage government to meet them. It is those of us who are humble enough to know that we can't fix American – but we can contribute to the country by taking care of ourselves, our families, and our local communities. And if enough of us do that, American succeeds as a natural byproduct. It's us that know that when we solve problems for others -- we often create an unintended dependency that robs that individual of success and self-esteem. We know this not because we read it in a book -- we know it because we see it repeated over and over on a daily basis. It is we that are mediated by repeated interactions with reality who bear the burden of this "fundamental transformation of America".

It will take an extraordinary leader who have the right combination of practicality, radicalism, and restraint that will to help America return to independence. Obama, sadly, is not that man. Neither is Brooks.

Pogo said...

Brooks never figured out that Obama is a pathological liar.

Brooks wanted -desperately- for Obama to be the Magic Negro President.
So did Noonan, McCardle, and Althouse.

And ever since then he's tried to justify that mistake, in the face of damning evidence to the contrary.

That ought to be more embarrassing than that 'pants leg crease' comment, which was itself one of the most debasing sycophantic comments in modern history.

Lefty Flynn said...

“I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging,” Brooks recently told me, “but usually when I talk to senators, while they may know a policy area better than me, they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me. I got the sense he knew both better than me.”
"Better than I", Mr. Brooks.

Lefty Flynn said...

“I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging,” Brooks recently told me, “but usually when I talk to senators, while they may know a policy area better than me, they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me. I got the sense he knew both better than me.”

Marshal said...

jr565 said...

Oh and by the way, George Bush is nowhere near as bad on the spying front as Barack Obama which may or may not be a bad thing depending on your perspective. Do you miss him yet liberals?


I don't know why you'd even ask this. Sure much of the left is against this type of thing. But on the list of priorities it's maybe #50. The only non-monetary item in the top ten is abortion, and abortion's only that high because it helps them win elections to keep the money flowing.

Pogo said...

Chris Matthew's "tingles" and Brooks' "pants crease" are simple bootlicking.

That they both continue to talk and write for the public proves they themselves are unmediated men.

That is, they have no shame.

Astro said...

Sometimes smart people with a mindset that doesn't understand deception are the easiest people to fool. Famously, physicist John Taylor was fooled by Uri Geller into thinking that telekinetic power exists by seeing Geller's spoon-bending demonstrations. Eventually magician James Randi showed that Geller was using common 'magic tricks', that anyone could do, to bend the spoons.

I am reminded of this by seeing how easily Brooks was duped into thinking Obama was extremely intelligent. Though granted, Obama was and is a skilled practitioner of that kind of deception.

jvermeer51 said...

The problem (there are many) with Brooks is that he thinks discoursing on Burke somehow makes you profound. No. It makes you, at a minimum, think profundity is discoursing on Burke. So who actually has a greater sense of society's social contract: the nicely creased empty suit of the messiah or some construction worker who says to Bloomberg, "Hey jack, don't f* with my soda."

Lefty Flynn said...

“I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging,” Brooks recently told me, “but usually when I talk to senators, while they may know a policy area better than me, they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me. I got the sense he knew both better than me.”
"Better than I", Mr. Brooks.

Greg Ransom said...

Burke was Wilson's inspiration for the unmediated Administrative Police State.

Look it up.

Greg Ransom said...

Burke was Wilson's inspiration for the unmediated Administrative Police State.

Look it up.

BarryD said...

Pogo, I don't think that they have no shame. It's quite the opposite, if you look at studies of shame.

They are empty people, trying to fill themselves with "meaning" through others, like Obama.

That's what bootlicking is.

What they have, is no identity, no principle, no intrinsic sense of worth. These are our "intellectuals", our "news media", those who wish to, and sometimes do, shape our opinions.

This stuff isn't really about anything rational. It's about people scrambling to cover their psychological scars. There's a reason that it all seems sort of insane. It IS sort of insane.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Explain to me why we even have to trade in Brooks' self-serving distraction "unmediated" at all. We really don't need the guidance of a latter-day French courtier to form an opinion on Snowden, do we?

Nihimon said...

It seems Obama deserves even more derision if he was so thoroughly versed in the topic and still chose to be a thug.

Pogo said...

@BarryD
Excellent.

BarryD said...

"We really don't need the guidance of a latter-day French courtier to form an opinion on Snowden, do we?"

THAT'S the word that describes Brooks' pant-leg passage.

Foppish.

Whatever he meant by it, most of us would not have thought about it. And the guy is a political columnist (a vile, disgusting one, but he's not alone there). He's not F. Scott Fitzgerald. So why did he even notice and write about the guy's pants? What does THIS say about the sycophantic authoritarian piece of work that is David Brooks?

That he's a latter-day fop.

Greg Ransom said...

Burke was a big inspiration for Wilson's hostility to the Founder's system of Checks and Balances, ie his hostility to a *mediated* system.

Other one-time Classical Liberals, like John Maynard Keynes, were similarly inspired to turn away from Classical Liberalism and it's mediated system of Check-By-Principle under the influence of Burke's case for Pragmatism over 'Rigid' Principle, for a Pragmatism of the moment and a shifting with the times.

That is, Burke inspired many to a *unprincipled*, unmediated pragmatism of the moment which is inspired to *ride* an ever-less mediated civil society in whatever direction it by whim desires,

Greg Ransom said...

My dog knows political philosophy better than Brooks.

Mitch H. said...

Do you actually think that Obama knows or cares a good goddamn about Edmund Burke? Brooks fell for a classic combination of mirroring and cold-reading techniques. I'm only surprised that Obama pulled it off, he must have felt motivated.

Brooks the "intellectual". Bah. Well, I suppose it was his posturing that allowed Obama to scam him. You can't cheat an honest man, and you can't fool an actual scholar with fast-talk. It's because Brooks is such a pompous fraud that he could be taken in with a quick series of almost-quotes from whatever foolish name-checking idiocy he'd written the month before.

So, does anybody remember Obama mentioning Niebuhr after his Brooks interview in 2007? I'm looking for any legitimate mention of the man and his work by Obama after that. I'm finding an entire cloudscape of castles in the air constructed by his admirers upon that 2007 interview, but so far precious little mention by the man himself about his supposed fascination with his "favorite philosopher".

gadflyjohn said...

Back in 07, I thought Senator Obama might be a good President, so I read his biography. The line "I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views" convinced me otherwise. The man has no inner principles worth marring the blank screen. And that is exactly how he has governed.

Bob R said...

Obama is an unmediated man in an unmediated ruling class. Brooks is an enthusiastic cheerleader for the class. That's a primary qualification for the NYT gig. A few "nonstandard" political beliefs are OK if you are "our kind of people." And Brooks is nothing if not "our kind of people." The right cut of clothes, the right names dropped in a Cliff Notes shallow discussion - all true tests of quality for Brooks.

The problem is that this generation of the ruling class is manifestly unqualified to rule. The elite baby boomers share a completely unjustified arrogance that makes them simultaneously unfit for leadership while ravenous for power. Get rid of them all. Make them get real jobs.

Rob Crawford said...

Does Obama deserve to be called an unmediated man?

Where's the evidence to the contrary? From his "youthful" drug indulgences to his thuggish political career, is there any sign that he, himself, will refrain from an act of his own accord?

He's even said as much in his complaints about the Constitution and the structure of the government preventing him from doing all he wants.

chrisnavin.com said...

Maybe the NPR ladies similarly gaze longingly at Brooksy's crease when he shows up to be the house 'conservative.'

Or they used to, anyways.

Poor Brooksy.

Rob Crawford said...

This NSA data collection thing has really mixed up the teams.

If you really believe that, you've only been listening to the surface of the arguments from the right.

jacksonjay said...


Strangely,
... this is kinda why Althouse voted for him!

Tom C said...

I have not checked it, but I don't believe Brooks ever grappled with the Obama-Ayers link. Obama is unmediated because of the dereliction of duty of folks like Brooks.

Rob Crawford said...

We're finding out that Bush was really smart similar the way we found out Reagan was really smart. But we've had to find that out from other people.

Oddly, I knew Bush was smart from the outset. They don't let even average people pilot jets.

(Have you ever looked at what you need to know to get a license for a single-engine prop plane?)

Roger J. said...

I suspect that neither Brooks or Obama has ever read Burke or the Federalist papers or Locke or Hobbes--and I am omitting such sterling thinkers such as Marsilio, Plato, Augustine, or Gerard Winstanly. Political philosophy, which deal the question of "how we should be governed" is, alas, not required reading anymore. Much to our detriment as a civil society.

the wolf said...

Does Obama deserve to be called an unmediated man

I originally read that as "unmedicated." That works for me too.

DK said...

"...I don't believe he's personally constrained by any internal conflicts of morality..."

Don't we call such people "psychopaths"?

edutcher said...

Mitch H. said...

Do you actually think that Obama knows or cares a good goddamn about Edmund Burke?

It would be a miracle if he ever read the Classics comic.

Brooks fell for a classic combination of mirroring and cold-reading techniques.

A sociopath's best friends.

Richard Dolan said...

"But let's remember, Brooks's vision of perfection, seen in a pant's crease, came after they conversed, in depth, about Edmund Burke. That is, the 2 men were talking, in all likelihood, about the importance of civil society."

Yes, many can talk the talk, be it about Burke or Plato or Mozart or whatever. Very nice, and often makes for a pleasant conversation if it's not just superficial blather. But that emphasis on conversation calls to mind Eliza's frustration in My Fair Lady, when she's just had it with talk, talk, talk. Show me now, she demands, and that's always wise counsel if you're trying to size someone up. Brooks never got to the 'show me now' stage with O-man and, even if he had, O-man had nothing much to show him. O-man was then, and remains today, mostly just talk, talk, talk, while what he offered (then and now) was merely the gloriousness of his ever-so-seductive persona.

Brooks and many others were certainly seduced -- here's looking at you, Ann -- and, as with all such successful secuctions, they can never quite get over that soft spot for the charming seducer.

Charlie Martin said...

Does Brooks deserve to be derided endlessly over the fixation on the pants crease?

Probably not, but we keep hearing about Sarah Palin saying she could see Russia from her house, and that wasn't even true.

mrkwong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
viator said...

Scott Johnson at Powerline chimes in:

Powerline

Smilin' Jack said...

“I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging,” Brooks recently told me, “but usually when I talk to senators, while they may know a policy area better than me, they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me. I got the sense he knew both better than me.”
"Better than I", Mr. Brooks.


Hee. Always amusing when some windbag's intellectual pretentions are betrayed by elementary lapses in grammar.

mrkwong said...

Bonaparte was, by all accounts, exceptionally well-versed and conversant in political philosophy. I believe Stalin was as well. And, while both proved very capable at their particular style of leadership, neither is quite what I'm looking for in a President.

When you are looking at investing a man with as near to absolute power as any position exists today, do you want to know:

a) His background and record, or

b) His cocktail-party patter?

For me, the answer was pretty simple:

a) He's a Chicago Democrat. 20th century history leads one to a sloppy Damon Runyonism - not all Chicago Democrats are indictable felons, but that's the way to bet.

b) Dreams From My Father. I tried a little experiment: I picked it up, flipped to a random page, and read for ten minutes. Then I went through that process a couple more times. At that point I knew enough about the author to know I disagreed fundamentally with his worldview.

c) His electoral and legislative record. The former being the kind of thing you expect from a Dick Daley Democrat, and the latter being nonexistent.

Three strikes and you're out.

As for 'Creases' Brooks - yes, he deserves that albatross.

Fat Man said...

Ann: Drop the shovel.

Martin said...

Barack Obama is a thug--a very smooth, Harvard-credentialed thug, but Instapundit has him exactly right. "What can I get away with?" is his guiding principle, as it is for most politicians where he came from. Obama is a narcissistic, unreflecive, unthoughtful man who puts on a good show, but at base is just another Chicago hack politician with an Ivy League gloss.

btb, I live in Hyde Park and work in Chicago local government, I see and deal with pols and political hangars-on of his type every day. (And that is NOTHING to do with his race.) He's smart and smooth and highly disciplined and I would not trust him to babysit my kids.

bagoh20 said...

One "unmediated man" is going to do more to mediate the abusers in big government than all the over-mediated bloviators in the entire nation combined over decades of bloviation. He will do it via sacrifice, maybe unwittingly, but naivete is the courage the over-mediated can't rally.

linsee said...

I met Obama in 2004, when he was running for the Senate, and he accepted a speaking invitation from the National Conference of Editorial Writers, which held its convention in Chicago that fall.

He gave what I assume was his usual stump speech, and it was a pretty good speech -- wrong on all the issues, of course, because he was self-evidently a hard-left Democrat -- but well-written and well-delivered. I thought him quite engaging.

But he completely flopped in the Q&A. He didn't *know* anything except what he'd memorized. And that was with an audience that (except for me and one other guy) was falling all over itself in adulation.

An intellectual lightweight, not qualified to be president. And that was before we knew about Rezko, and Ayers, and Wright. Now I think he's just a creep.

sydney said...

Does Obama deserve to be called an unmediated man?

Unmediated, unprincipled, unethical, untrustworthy, unvetted; he is the ultimate "un"-man. He would have been the perfect Uncola spokesman.

wef said...

"Does Obama deserve to be called an unmediated man?"

A very mediated Althouse showing class solidarity with the bien-pensant.

Who is more unmediated? Juanita Broaddrick or W.J. Clinton?

ed said...

Seriously. David Brooks!?

When has he shown himself as relevant in any discussion?

Q said...

Insty made a very important point, so it's regrettable that you chose to fixate on the "pants crease" remark.

Does Obama deserve to be called an unmediated man?


Was that a serious question?

Q said...

Brooks's vision of perfection, seen in a pant's crease, came after they conversed, in depth, about Edmund Burke



Burke: "Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without."

Of course Burke meant this as an argument for more "within" control. You get the distinct impression that Obama - if he ever heard of this sentence at all - would take it as justification for imposing more external control.

Jupiter said...

I think that Brooks' point is that, when he found himself in a highly overpaid job with a totally corrupt institution that was destroying the society he lived in, he was OK with that.

Joe said...

...I read his biography. The line "I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views"...

Years ago, I observed that this was essential to Obama's character and go derided for it. Now it turns out he described himself the same way? Shit.

jr565 said...

The line "I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views>

Maybe Obama is more insightful about himself than I though.Because that is so true. I think its just as true that the vast majority of dems viewed Obama in exactly that way. ANd their thinking was "He's black, and he's not Bush, and he's articulate. Ergo, he'd make a great president".
History and experience be damned.

Well, this is what happens when you elect someone who is a blank slate.

jr565 said...

Of course, considering how dems are suddenly ok with NSA type programs, maybe THEY are the blank slates. There morality is determined based on who they are viewing. If it's Bush then the program is bad, because Bush is bad. If its' Obama then the program is good, because Obama is good.

jr565 said...

"NO one, can penetrate me, they only see what's in their own fancy.
Always."

Lem said...

I made a comment here about noon and its gone.

I could attempt to repeat it but nobody is going to see it... and I already know what it was.

Ok. Ill do it but I'm going to change for my own benefit. What's the use of repeating myself?

This time I'll call it Little Brooks in the Prairie.

One Day little Brooks was not playing nice and found himself cast out of our good graces.

While trying to get back in, Little Brooks wrote directions for us to help us find our way as we had gotten a little lost.

Once we found our way out of a penumbra, Little Brooks was in once again, but not for long... I say about a day.

Because some of us remembered why we had cast out Little Brooks. And Indeed since Little Brooks mistake things had gotten a lot worse.

So Little Brooks was on the way out... again.

Bummer for Little Brooks.

Skeptical Voter said...

Obama and Brooks discussed Edmund Burke--says our host in breathless wonder.

Let me suggest that their collective knowledge of Edmund Burke and his work is, at best, of the Cliff Notes variety. Their knowledge of the topic may be a mile wide--but I doubt if either of them can go an inch deep.

But an observation on a nice pants crease? Perfectly within Brooks's capability--right down in his wheelhouse as it were.

Rick Caird said...

Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek's quotation of the day from yesterday is on point.

"Observation and introspection have convinced me that, even in our times of numerous and detailed laws, men are in fact ruled much less by laws than by compulsive internal images of what they should do – behavioral models; that their conduct is not a matter of personal fancy within the limits set by legal obligations, but gravitates around their behavioural image, which itself alters over time; that, even though public commands become both more frequent and more specific, behaviour and action are governed in the main by suggestions without legal force; that these phenomena are more important than those usually denominated “political” and are in fact basic to so-called “political phenomena.” Men can in fact be moved to certain actions and behaviours by means lacking all legal authority and power of constraint no less well than by the public authorities…."


http://cafehayek.com/2013/06/quotation-of-the-day-660.html

leslyn said...

@Lem. Lots of comments disappear. (Not just yours and mine.)

Seerak said...

It will take an extraordinary leader who have the right combination of practicality, radicalism, and restraint that will to help America return to independence.

If America really were returning to "independence", it would almost by definition do so on its own without -- or even, **despite** -- any such leader.

In light of your prior paragraph I'm wondering if someone tacked that onto your comment without you knowing.