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I don't tend to pick on editorial opinion-haver David Brooks much, mostly because it just seems cruel at this point. The ratcheting right of the Republican Party has not been kind to him. His past editorializing has always consisted of explaining why bipartisanship consists of doing the thing the Republicans want to do and calling it done; as the things the Republican Party wants to do get more extreme and/or obviously damaging and/or outright comical, Brooks seems to go to great pains to ignore all of that and just trundle steadily along, patiently explaining to everyone why the American people living out their lives on East Applebee Lane want to do the majority of these increasingly silly things because people like David Brooks say so.

When Brooks got roundly plastered for his Friday column, premised around the notion that Obama never had a plan to avoid the sequester when in fact Obama, well, did and still does, it was just par for the course. Now let's gather round and hear Brooks explain what he really meant, yet again, which is that Obama is apparently trying to be the "liberal Reagan," which would be news to all actual American liberals, but that being properly centrist and bipartisanish means knocking that off and doing most of what the Republicans demand. Again.

My main complaint with Obama is that he promised to move us beyond these stale debates, but he’s, instead, become a participant in them.
My complaint is that he doesn't ride around the White House on a horse, but I'm willing to accept my disappointment if you can accept yours. While I feel for all those that expected a politician to transcend politics during a time of extreme political entrenchment, Obama included, I also think those people are a bit on the naive side.
My dream Obama would abandon the big government versus small government argument. He’d point out that in a mature, aging society, government isn’t going anywhere. The issue is not size but sclerosis.
He does that all the time. He gives speeches about how we could save bucketloads of money through government abandonment of pointless, lobbyist-fueled tax subsidies to gigantic, well-off businesses and individuals. But that's not the "sclerosis" Republicans have in mind, so it's not going anywhere. We'll continue this below the fold ...

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2006Why the 45-Day CFIUS Review Is A Sham:

In an effort to save face and calm the public furor over the ports deal, Dubai Ports World (DPW) has agreed to "request" the 45-day investigation that should have been been conducted by [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] initially. DPW has also said it's delaying taking control over U.S. ports. Yet, as Think Progress points out, the delay is just a sham, and barring any Congressional action, the deal will be finalized on March 2.

So, this deal will go back to the same committee that approved of it unanimously.  Does anyone really believe that their conclusion will differ at all? More importantly, will the process of investigation be any better? In 2005, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office conducted a review of the Exon-Florio process and how CFIUS evaluates national security issues.

Tweet of the Day:

Section 5 of the VRA seems worth maintaining as long as folks drive into Virginia on Jefferson Davis Highway.
@MattGertz via web

On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin joined me in congratulating Tom Tomorrow on winning the Herblock Prize! Then, on to the sequester, explaining the role of the filibuster in hiding R disarray. Also: the latest in #GunFAIL, the logic knot of Stand Your Ground, and how Asheville authorities coddled their gun protesters, but bashed Occupy.

High Impact Posts. Top Comments.

My dream Obama would nurture investment in three ways. First, he would take spending that currently goes to the affluent elderly and redirect it to the young and the struggling.
So, stop subsidizing rich people and instead direct the money to programs like Head Start? No, Brooks means means-testing Medicare. Sure, whatever, knock yourself out. Again, it follows the Republican pattern of screwing the moderately well off while leaving the uppermost class alone, but the uppermost class is the one that writes the checks and has the lavish parties, so means-testing for elderly sick people it is.
Second, Obama could nurture investment by starting a debate on the sort of consumption tax plan Michael Graetz describes in his book “100 Million Unnecessary Returns”: Enact a value-added tax, use money from that tax to finance an income tax exemption of $100,000, cut the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, replace the earned-income tax credit with payroll tax relief and debit cards.
Ditto. While this would be a plan an imaginary Republican president might propose, doing away with the income tax and corporate taxes in favor of various consumption taxes (taxes on things people buy, instead of on how much money you've earned) is rather plainly regressive. Perhaps we could instead "nurture investment" by having a middle class again. Then people would have the money to buy things. Right now the problem isn't that there's no money for investment, it's that there's nothing to invest in.
Third, Obama could talk obsessively about family structure and social repair. Every week we get another statistic showing how social and income inequality is dividing the nation. A team led by Robert Putnam of Harvard recently completed research showing that while childhood obesity is falling among kids whose parents graduated from college, it is still rising among kids whose parents have a high school degree or less.
Yes, Obama should, to coin a new term I just thought of right now, focus on the family. He should talk about social issues. He should—oh, sweet and sour hell, he should just convert to being a social conservative, right? Michelle Obama does talk about childhood obesity, for which she gets routinely belittled, and anytime anyone talks about income inequality they're called a goddamn communist, so I don't know what Brooks wants here other than for Obama to talk "obsessively" about family structure like all good obsessive social conservatives want us to be talking about, all the time, nonstop, because the reason for all the poor's troubles is poor people's lack of proper upbringing, and they should just bootstrap themselves into Harvard and stop being so poor and stuff.

See, this is why I don't write about Brooks very often. It's predictable. The "reasonable" things are always to have both parties do what social conservatives and the current crop of fiscal butchers say we should do, and if Obama's already doing them he doesn't even get credit for that, and if congressional Republicans came out tomorrow with a proposal that we kill all the poor people and turn them into stew, David Brooks would be complaining that Obama should be showing leadership on what spices to use.

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