Brooks on Obama – A Misreading

David Brooks’ column on the President’s reaction to the midterm that appeared today in our local paper (Albany Times Union, Nov 19, 2014) argues that the Obama administration missed the point of their defeat. He remarked that Obama dismissed the election as being marked by low turnout, as if that were the Republicans’ fault. But he does not realize that the underlying point is that this election was a blip on the radar, and one that will disappear within two years. The Senate will fall back into Democratic hands, and likely the White House will not change hands. Likewise Brooks claims that the Keystone Pipeline is an OK project that Democrats and Republicans can agree on. Now maybe that is true, but so far the votes are not there in Congress, and development of the fossil fuel industry is not in need of political support. If anything it has had too much of this, at the hands of Dick Chaney and company in the last administration. Finally Brooks takes the President to task for threatening to act on immigration. He hints that the Republicans are in the process of developing a proposal or a policy on this that they want to bring forward. He says that unilateral action by the President will sabotage this effort. Maybe Brooks’ sources are good, but I have not heard of anything like this from anybody else. The Republicans have had two years to digest the significance of their defeat in the election of 2012 – a demographic deficit among both blacks and Hispanics – and they have not, in that time period, acted on the bipartisan legislation passed by the Senate. The President will solidify the support of these growing minorities by putting forth some common sense, humane rules on this thorny problem if he acts now, with or without the support of Congress. If the Republicans fail to seek cooperation with the President, that will just solidify their reputation for obstructionism, which will not endear them to the public.

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