This David Brooks piece is mostly just an excuse for him to make his hillllllllllarious plumber joke.* But then he realized that he only wrote enough to fill a third of the column and had to fill it with nonsense. I wasn’t going to mention it, but since it’s going around various other blogs, I thought I’d mention it too.
So far this year, both President Obama and Mitt Romney seem more passionate about denying the other side victory than about any plank in their own agendas. Both campaigns have developed contempt for their opponent, justifying their belief that everything, then, is permitted.
In both campaigns, you can see the war-room mentality developing early.
He gives one example of each campaign caring more about denying the other candidate victory than about their own agenda. See of you find the falseness in this equivalence:
In November, the Romney campaign ran a blatantly dishonest ad in which President Obama purportedly admits that if the election is fought on the economy, he will lose. The quote was a distortion, but the effectiveness of the ad was in showing Republican professionals and primary voters that Romney was going to play by gangland rules, that he was tough enough and dishonest enough to do so, too.
Last week, the Obama campaign ran a cheap-shot ad on the death of Osama bin Laden. Part of the ad was Bill Clinton effectively talking about the decision to kill the terrorist. But, in the middle, the Obama people threw in a low-minded attack on Romney. The slam made Clinton look small, it made Obama look small, it turned a moment of genuine accomplishment into a political ploy, but it did follow the rules of gangland: At every second, attack; at every opportunity, drive a shiv between the ribs.
Romney quoting Obama quoting McCain’s adviser 4 years ago, but passing it off as Obama saying it now on the one side. An Obama campaign video talking about the Bin Laden raid and noting that Romney wouldn’t have done it based on things he said in the campaign in context on the other. Really, if those are your extremes, let me suggest one side is worse than the other.
* I mean honestly, he could have chosen from any number of professions in the setup. And “no pun intended” is too clever by half.