I haven’t dragged David “Uncle Dave” Brooks over here for a long time. He was irritating during the presidential election, trying to find ways to stay on Mitt Romney’s side—every once in a while he gave it up for the President, but I think Uncle Dave was always pulling for Mitt. In his NYTimes column today, he admires the inaugural address given yesterday for its bold liberal/progressive vision of a nation that does best when the citizens act together to accomplish important objectives. Uncle Dave admits he is partly in Barack Obama’s camp, but that big things can be scary and dangerous if too much power is concentrated at the top. It’s always interesting to see conservatives warning about big government being dangerous, but usually giving big concentrations of wealth, especially huge corporate entities, a free pass. The big market is OK by them, until, of course, it isn’t, as when “the market” or “the street” crashes its limousine into a brick wall. At that point “the market” wants help from “the government,” which is the rest of us.
Notice that he uses the word “collective” in his column. That’s a loaded term for the Right Wing, a hint that President Obama is way over there on the Left side of the spectrum where the socialists and communists hang around. Collectivism and collectivist are words with a creepy Soviet tinge. He could have written “community.” After all, Obama was a community organizer at the start in Chicago.
Why do I call him Uncle Dave? We’re about the same age. He’s a thoughtful guy who has made a career of trying to be the serious one in the room. He’s the guy who likes telling everybody to “calm down.” He can be very funny. I laughed when reading his book “Bobos in Paradise.” He’s a good speaker—I heard him at a conference years ago and watch him on TV when I can. I think he would be happier if he gave up on the national Republicans and sat at the Democrats’ table in the cafeteria more often.
Here’s his opinion piece about President Obama’s speech. Please get the NYT if you want more.