Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Obama's Inaugural by Newt Gingrich & David Brooks

The world has been turned upside down when President Barak Obama's Second Inaugural Address is praised by Newt Gingrich but challenged by David Brooks.  Both of these conservative commentators have been praised and criticized by their own party at times with Newt Gingrich doing commercials with Hillary Clinton and criticizing Paul Ryan's budget, and David Brooks being called a "liberal's favorite conservative."  What these situations mean is that they are either truly moderate individuals in seek of consensus and solutions, or they are completely full of it.

Certainly, the pragmatism generally displayed by David Brooks is genuine, as he is a former hippie turned conservative who writes for the New York Times.  And, he has been enamored of President Obama's political abilities for quite some time.  Newt Gingrich, on the other hand, has been credited with spawning the vitriolic attitude the current GOP has toward compromise with the Democrats.  Yet, he truly is an ideas man who is willing to discuss any political issue on both a practical and philosophical level.  You just never know what Newt might say, whereas Brooks' ideas are pretty clear.

Newt Gingrich surprised me with his comments that he "liked the speech" and didn't think "it was very liberal."  Other than a few sentences about gay rights, Social Security, and climate change, Obama's speech was "emphasizing hard work, emphasizing self-reliance, emphasizing doing things together."  That is a pretty fair summation.  David Brooks by contrast calls out Obama for "misunderstanding the moment."  He worries that Obama is not "facing the fact that we do have to choose between the current benefits to seniors and investments in our future, and that to pretend we don’t face that choice is effectively to sacrifice the future to the past."

Interestingly, when you get past all the ideology and partisanship, both Gingrich and Brooks are right.

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