Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Packer, Brooks, Obama

George Packer blasts conservative pundits in this post, excepting David Brooks from his condemnations while also taking issue with some of Brooks's recent critiques of Obama:

Here’s the test Brooks should set: will Obama’s efforts lead to worse than the alternatives? Will they be worse than his predecessor’s? The conservative approach to economic and social policy, as refined to ideological purity under Bush, is to get government out of the way, trust free markets, and let chronic problems fester until they turn into disasters. The results are all around us (one example among hundreds: the failure of the Securities and Exchange Commission to regulate Wall Street). Brooks pits a rigid, abstraction-loving liberalism against a wise, experience-loving conservatism. But recent American history has shown the truth to be closer to the opposite. We are where we are because the ruling conservative ideology of the past few decades refused to face facts, like the effect of private insurance on health-care costs, or the effect of deregulation on investment banking. Facts drove the Republicans out of power. And judging from their response to Obama’s first month in office, facts are very hard things to face in politics.

Obama isn’t trying to remake America’s economy and society out of ideological hubris. He’s initiating sweeping changes because he inherited a set of interrelated emergencies that require swift, decisive action.

I'm watching Obama talk right now. I haven't seen the whole speech, but what I'm hearing now sound like the thoughts of somebody who's aware of reality, after eight years of a president who ignored everything that didn't fit into his worldview. 

Feels good.

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