He sent it on Tuesday, to President Obama.
Obama radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I’m beginning to miss, and that I suspect we will all miss a bit, regardless of who replaces him.
Tyler Cowen said that he agrees with the column.
I find myself feeling less charitable.
Brooks claims that the Obama Administration was scandal-free. I think it was more of a case that the mainstream press had his back. Could George Bush have survived the IRS scandal? Could Ronald Reagan have gotten away with choosing not to enforce immigration laws?
Brooks claims that President Obama “grasps the reality of the situation” in the Middle East. Certainly there are plenty of delusions that President Obama does not hold. I think he is right to be skeptical about how well military intervention would work out. But he appears to be stuck in a very sophomoric delusion, which is that virtue-signaling constitutes an effective foreign policy.
Brooks credits President Obama with listening to other points of view and having good manners. I don’t think he shows any real understanding of or good manners toward those who disagree with him about the relative merits of markets and government or about the relative merits of civilization-barbarism vs. oppressor-oppressed in describing the conflict involving radical Islam.
We certainly can do worse than President Obama. No one should be surprised if the next President turns out to make a lot of mistakes and to have major intellectual and moral defects. But any comparison with President Obama should be based on the reality, not Brooks’ air-brushed portrait.