David Brooks was disappointed in President Obama’s State of the Union Address. I heard him talk about it on Shields&Brooks on the News Hour. In Sunday’s column, Hope, but Not Much Change, he describes the policies that Obama presented as “mere appetizers,” and wishes to see something big to match the size of the issues of these difficult times.
In 2009, though, Mr. Brooks had a somewhat different take. While somewhat enthusiastic about the breadth of the task the Obama administration was taking on, he nonetheless reverts to Burke, and the preference for gradual and not disruptive change that recognizes an epistemological modesty. “I fear that in trying to do everything at once, they will do nothing well,” he writes of the Obama administration.
Further, later in 2009 in Wise Muddling Through, he has praise for Bernanke, Paulson, and Geithner who, faced with an unprecedented economic situation, and having no previous guidelines to follow, ended up not doing all the right things, but muddled through. Muddling through was the best that could be done, given the circumstances.
A week ago I wrote, in Newt Gingrich, Values Voter Candidate, how according to Corey Robin, he quoting and analysing Burke, conservatives need to by rallied and aroused into activitism, or else fade into boredom. I can’t help but sense a certain boredom in Mr. Brooks, now reaching for that conservative impulse to enthusiasm, in describing how President Obama should swing for the fences.