David Brooks' Broken 'Bromance' With Obama...for Now

This is a love story that has inspired a paean. In fact, to call it mere "love" does not do justice to it. It is a special political love so intense that The New Republic has called it a "bromance" in a story titled, "The Courtship: The story behind the Obama-Brooks bromance" by Gabriel Sherman. Watch how the hot sparks instantly fly at their first meeting:

In the spring of 2005, New York Times columnist David Brooks arrived at then-Senator Barack Obama’s office for a chat. Brooks, a conservative writer who joined the Times in 2003 from The Weekly Standard, 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.”

Are you jealous, Chris Matthews? You only get a thrill up your leg at the mention of Obama's name while David Brooks actually got to stare at the pant leg of The One up close and personal. Perhaps David was thinking of performing what a certain unnamed Republican senator did when he rubbed Brooks' inner thigh under the table.

The bromance was so intense that Brooks pretty much gave up whatever conservatism he might have once had although The New Republic still calls him a "conservative" for some strange reason:

He has written columns praising Obama’s Afghanistan policy, education proposals, and economic team. Even on broad areas of disagreement--deficit spending, the sprawling stimulus bill, health care reform--Brooks tends to treat Obama and his administration with respect. “My overall view,” Brooks told me, “is ninety-five percent of the decisions they make are good and intelligent. Whether I agree with them specifically, I think they’re very serious and very good at what they do.” It is an odd situation to say the least: David Brooks, prominent conservative, has become the most visible journalistic ally of arguably the most liberal president of his lifetime.

Now hear David Brooks sing his "bromance" love song to his beloved:

He recognizes something similar in the current president. “Obama sees himself as a Burkean,” Brooks says. “He sees his view of the world as a view that understands complexity and the organic nature of change.” Moreover, after the Bush years, Brooks seems relieved to have an intellectual in the White House again. “I divide people into people who talk like us and who don’t talk like us,” he explains. “Of recent presidents, Clinton could sort of talk like us, but Obama is definitely--you could see him as a New Republic writer. He can do the jurisprudence, he can do the political philosophy, and he can do the politics. I think he’s more talented than anyone in my lifetime. I mean, he is pretty dazzling when he walks into a room. So, that’s why it’s important he doesn’t f--- this up.”

The intensity of the "bromance" on the part of Brooks is so radiant that it even extends to Obama's associates:

White House officials have gone out of their way to cater to Brooks recently. Take Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, whose career Brooks kept a close eye on after he graduated from the University of Chicago in 1983 and took a job at the City News Bureau, a Chicago wire service. At the time, Axelrod was the lead City Hall reporter for the Chicago Tribune. “I followed his career because he was who I wanted to be,” Brooks told me. “He was a hero.” The two finally crossed paths in 2004, when Axelrod was working for John Edwards. And, this April, as the keynote speaker at The Week magazine’s opinion awards ceremony--where Brooks was honored--Axelrod showered the columnist with praise, calling him a “serious public thinker” in an era of “insipid, instant commentary and one-hour news cycles.”

And how do Obama & Co. respond to the lovestruck Brooks? By playing him like their personal piano:

...chief of staff Rahm Emanuel called Brooks to complain about that morning’s column criticizing Obama’s spending programs; later in the day, the White House sent over a chart showing that spending was, in fact, holding to historical norms. Brooks told me that Obama had personally signed the chart “Dear Comrade Brooks.” In June, The Washington Post reported that Emanuel had arranged for Obama to “drop by” a briefing Brooks attended. “I feel like I can call anybody,” Brooks says of his access to top White House officials such as Emanuel, Axelrod, and Office of Management and Budget head Peter Orszag. “With Bush, there were months when I was in favor, and months when I was out of favor. Here, you can write whatever you want; you don’t notice any diminution. If I call Rahm or Orszag or Axelrod, they’re happy to talk.” 

He loves me! He really really loves me!!!

Brooks knows that he is being manipulated by Obama but no matter. He just loves the warm touch of Barack's hand rubbing him into complete submission:

Brooks isn’t blind to the fact that the White House goes out of its way to flatter him. This spring, he told Charlie Rose, “David Axelrod walks into a meeting with me, carrying the Reflections On The Revolution In France by Edmund Burke. They’re not without manipulation.” It’s easy to understand why the administration does this. Brooks’s sympathetic columns help to validate the key myth of this White House: that it is fundamentally post-partisan.

Perhaps this explains Brooks' latest column which is a bit critical of Obama. Read it with a grain of salt since Brooks seems to be just going through the motions of real criticism so that his beloved will rekindle their bromance:

Obama’s challenge was to push his agenda through a Democratic-controlled government while retaining the affection of the 39 percent of Americans in the middle.

The administration hasn’t been able to pull it off. From the stimulus to health care, it has joined itself at the hip to the liberal leadership in Congress. The White House has failed to veto measures, like the pork-laden omnibus spending bill, that would have demonstrated independence and fiscal restraint. By force of circumstances and by design, the president has promoted one policy after another that increases spending and centralizes power in Washington.

The result is the Obama slide, the most important feature of the current moment. The number of Americans who trust President Obama to make the right decisions has fallen by roughly 17 percentage points. Obama’s job approval is down to about 50 percent. All presidents fall from their honeymoon highs, but in the history of polling, no newly elected American president has fallen this far this fast.

There is more in his column but no need for additional details. It is really a plea from Brooks for more attention from his beloved. Do you hear that Barack? Give the poor guy some personal face time to stare at your pants leg. That and perhaps an inner thigh rub should be enough for Brooks to compliantly return to his bromantic thoughts about you and compose another love ballad in your honor with soft tender lines such as this:

The young Obama had a loving relationship with an adult passionate about his future.

And speaking of love ballads, perhaps your humble correspondent can convince his DUmmie FUnnies "co-conspirator," the parodying pastor, Charles Henrickson, to chronicle this intense bromance in a ballad called, "Tell Barack I Love Him" to the tune of "Tell Laura I Love Her." Hopefully the bromance can be enshrined in such a song which would be added as an update here. 

UPDATE: Well, Charles Henrickson has come through with flying colors with this incredible song parody called "A Fine Bromance" sung to the tune of A Fine Romance. Now follow the bouncing ball and everybody sing along. You too, David:

A fine bromance, like no other
A fine bromance, my Brooks brother
Barack and Brooks—it’s mutual admiration
Your rock-star looks are causin’ a strange sensation
A fine bromance, though you’re frazzled
A fine bromance, I’m bedazzled
I like to stare at the crease in your well-pressed pants
I’ve widened up my stance
This is a fine bromance

A fine bromance, we’re pie-chartin’
You make bromance that’s bi-partisan
You’re cooler than the clams that are down in the seaweed
You cast a glance my way and I get all wee-weed
A fine bromance, you’re my Marx guy
When we slow-dance, you make sparks fly
You make me have to cancel my “No we cant’s”
You’ve got me in a trance
This is a fine bromance

A fine bromance, with no disses
A fine bromance, Barack, this is
The “right” may be the box that a guy like I’m in
But I’m the kind that writes for the New York Times in
A fine bromance, my dear comrade
A fine bromance, like you and Rahm had
I feel a tingle running now up my pants
I’ve widened up my stance
This is a fine bromance

P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick is a freelance writer and creator of the DUmmie FUnnies blog.