By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

David Brooks tries candor

David Brooks presumably has an idea of what his New York Times column should be about. Apparently telling us what he really thinks is not high on his list of priorities.

In the Times, Brooks has expressed — well, reservations about Sarah Palin. At a public event on Monday, he described her as “a fatal cancer to the Republican Party.” In the Times, Brooks has been skeptical about Barack Obama. On Monday, he said he’s “dazzled.”

Well, at least he’s straight with us when he’s not writing.

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Gone hiking


  1. Aaron Read

    Here’s what I’ll be interested to see: if Obama really does win by a landslide, will he rightfully claim that he has a “mandate” from the voters, refuting the fallacy that Bush tried to claim in both 2000 and 2004? Or will he stick with the more centrist aw-shucks approach?I’m inclined to think the latter; Bush drew his strength from seeing everything the reverse of what it was…his razor-thin margin could not be realistically massaged into anything moderately approaching a mandate, so the only strategy was to go for the brazen lie. If Obama actually has the mandate, he doesn’t need the brazen lie.But I’d be fascinated if Obama did actually claim a mandate and operate in a dictatorial manner like Bush did, just espousing Democrat/liberal policies instead of Bush’s. Methinks a great deal of Obama supports WANT to see that, despite the unlikelihood of it happening.For Obama supporters, it’s not just about seeing Obama win, it’s about seeing Bush (and everything Bush stands for) lose and lose hard.

  2. Tony

    Bush won by 35 Electoral Votes and 3 million votes. That isn’t “razor-thin” in my book.

  3. Vox

    “Bush won by 35 Electoral Votes and 3 million votes. That isn’t ‘razor-thin’ in my book.”True enough. But it’s also not a mandate.

  4. mike_b1

    Once again, Tony, you struggle with the math. Bush beat Kerry by less than 3 points. When you have 121 million or so votes cast, the actual number is of little consequence. Of the recent presidents who were reelected, they all increased their margin of victory. Reagan won his second term by 18.2 points; Clinton won his second by about 8.5 points; Nixon won his by 23.2 points; Eisenhower won his by 15.4 points.Comparatively, Bush 2’s win was indeed razor thin, especially given the almost-certain crap Diebold, his Florida friends and others pulled. And he’s the only one since WW2 whose margin of victory decreased.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Mike: How do you figure Bush’s margin of victory decreased in 2004? He lost in 2000.

  6. mike_b1


  7. Ani

    I had thought Brooks was a lot older than he apparently is.

  8. O'Rion

    So Sarah becomes a “cancer” at the same time McCain’s battleground state numbers drop like a stone? Being critical after the ticket tanks is hardly a revelation, coming from the Eastern establishment newspaper.

  9. mike_b1

    She was always a cancer, O. Sometimes it just takes awhile for the tumor to be detected.

  10. Tony

    Once again Mike you show your partisanship and also show the fact that you have no clue whatsoever about political campaigns. Three points is not close at all in the scheme of things. One point translates into 1 MILLION VOTES! Bush beat Kerry by more than 3 MILLION VOTES. Millions and millions and millions of votes.Although, the popular vote doesn’t matter since it doesn’t elect the president. It’s the Electoral College that matters. Bush won the EC votes by 34. Not a Reagan landslide but not close either. Bush won the EC votes by 13 percent more than he needed. Let’s look at some of the states: In every state Bush won, sans Iowa, Nevada, and New Mexico, he won by more than 85,000 votes. In other words, in all but three of the 31 states he won, Bush won easily or handily. He won Iowa by 13,500, Nevada by 22,000, and New Mexico by 8,200 votes. Close but still, in order for Kerry to win, he would have needed a transfer of more than 43,000 votes … not an easy feat. Gore won Iowa and New Mexico, meaning that Kerry couldn’t even hold the Gore states. If Kerry won both states, the results would be tighter but still no win for him. Kerry barely won New Hampshire – a state Bush won in 2000 and barely won Wisconsin. Simply put, when looking at the election returns, you know, the actually votes and not just your own personal opinion because you are a partisan, the 2004 election wasn’t “razor-thin” … the 2000 election was.

  11. mike_b1

    Blah, blah blah. One million votes means nothing in a population of 270 or so million, of which more than 100 million voted (not including Florida). It’s all about the percentages.”Partisan” is just name-calling that so-called people use when they have nothing else to throw.Blah blah blah

  12. mike_b1

    Tony, I should add, sometime look up the number of votes that were DQ’ed in those states. It was more than 43,000. In other words, Bush won those states by fewer votes than are thrown out or otherwise not counted. That’s not a mandate. That’s an embarrassment. Or — more likely — cheating.

  13. Tony

    Now you’re talking out of your ass Mike. Look at the returns. Are you telling me that Bush stole hundreds of thousands of votes from each of the 28 states? Now you’re just looking like an idiot. Bye bye!

  14. Tunder

    So much for being the world’s favorite “hockey mom.”

  15. mike_b1

    Tony, as Robert Kennedy Jr. noted in a detailed story in Rolling Stone (and also in Vanity Fair), Bush supporters such as Diebold in all likelihood stole thousand of vote. What I said was he “probably cheated.” Either way, hundreds of thousands of votes nationally were thrown out or otherwise not counted. Here’s one country report that sums it up:, it would probably surprise you to learn votes by military personnel and other Americans overseas aren’t even counted unless there is a sufficient number to affect the outcome of that state’s results. And in many cases (, the votes aren’t received until after the deadline, making them null and void.Bye bye yourself, until you take a civics class (or at least one on reading comprehension).

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