Let us give credit for honesty (at least temporarily) to the New York Times "conservative" columnist, David Brooks, for his brutal self-recognition of a political flaw. Brooks flat out admits that he is a sap:
I’m a sap, a specific kind of sap. I’m an Obama Sap.
Brooks lays out in some detail his discovery of what most of the rest of us already knew; his extreme gullibility when it comes to believing Obama:
When the president said the unemployed couldn’t wait 14 more months for help and we had to do something right away, I believed him. When administration officials called around saying that the possibility of a double-dip recession was horrifyingly real and that it would be irresponsible not to come up with a package that could pass right away, I believed them.
To this humble correspondent it seems that Brooks had been sounding like the character of Triz Tryzcinski in the movie "Stalag 17" who, against all odds, kept professing to believe his wife after reading a credibility straining letter from her:
I believe it. My wife says, "Darling, you won't believe it, but I found the most adorable baby on our doorstep and I've decided to keep it for our very own. Now you won't believe it, but it's got exactly my eyes and nose." Why does she keep saying I won't believe it? I believe it! I believe it.
Brooks continues confessing an extreme gullibility that would put Stalag 17 Triz to shame:
I liked Obama’s payroll tax cut ideas and urged Republicans to play along. But of course I’m a sap. When the president unveiled the second half of his stimulus it became clear that this package has nothing to do with helping people right away or averting a double dip. This is a campaign marker, not a jobs bill.
And now we have Brooks supposedly awakening from his extreme sap mode:
It recycles ideas that couldn’t get passed even when Democrats controlled Congress. In his remarks Monday the president didn’t try to win Republicans to even some parts of his measures. He repeated the populist cries that fire up liberals but are designed to enrage moderates and conservatives.
He claimed we can afford future Medicare costs if we raise taxes on the rich. He repeated the old half-truth about millionaires not paying as much in taxes as their secretaries.
...This wasn’t a speech to get something done. This was the sort of speech that sounded better when Ted Kennedy was delivering it. The result is that we will get neither short-term stimulus nor long-term debt reduction anytime soon, and I’m a sap for thinking it was possible.
Yes, I’m a sap. I believed Obama when he said he wanted to move beyond the stale ideological debates that have paralyzed this country. I always believe that Obama is on the verge of breaking out of the conventional categories and embracing one of the many bipartisan reform packages that are floating around.
In the midst of all these sappy confessions, Brooks also admitted to his inner Charlie Brown:
Being a sap, I still believe that the president’s soul would like to do something about the country’s structural problems. I keep thinking he’s a few weeks away from proposing serious tax reform and entitlement reform. But each time he gets close, he rips the football away. He whispered about seriously reforming Medicare but then opted for changes that are worthy but small. He talks about fundamental tax reform, but I keep forgetting that he has promised never to raise taxes on people in the bottom 98 percent of the income scale.
Despite his self-recognition as a sap, Brooks admits that he may still remain one in his conclusion:
The White House has decided to wage the campaign as fighting liberals. I guess I understand the choice, but I still believe in the governing style Obama talked about in 2008. I may be the last one. I’m a sap.
I would love to ask Brooks if he still has his "Sap Chart" hanging in his office. This was the chart that the Obama people gave to Brooks early in this administration. Here is Brooks' description of it while suffering an attack of deep sap fever:
The White House has produced a chart showing nondefense discretionary spending as a share of G.D.P. That’s spending for education, welfare and all the stuff that Democrats love. Since 1985, this spending has hovered around 3.7 percent of G.D.P. This year, it’s about 4.6 percent. The White House claims that it is going to reduce this spending to 3.1 percent by 2019, lower than at any time in any recent Republican administration. I was invited to hang this chart on my wall and judge them by how well they meet these targets. (I have.)
So how well did they meet their targets, David? And if you're too embarrassed to continue hanging that Sap Chart in your office, perhaps you should auction it off on eBay. I BELIEVE I would definitely place a bid to buy your Sap Chart.