The following contrast in Brooks’ column rings particularly true. He notes first that, in the late 1960s and beyond, “Republicans tended to win elections because liberals were associated with disorder and conservatives with attempts to restore it.” Later, channeling Time‘s Peter Beinart, Brooks suggests that, under Obama’s steady hand, the respective party associations (with order and disorder) have been reversed.
We clearly saw that dynamic at play during the final weeks of the ’08 election, as the economic collapse became more evident and the man that was honored by Obama last night proceeded to dart about, hither and yon, exhibiting a severe case of (perhaps explainable) confusion, adding to rather than placating the disorder around him.
And now we’ll see, starting this afternoon, if that role-reversal can be sustained, if Obama can equal or better the president to whom he is often compared, whom he clearly respects and frequently cites.
Good luck and good grace, Mr. President. You’ll need both.