David Brooks: Deep down, he's shallow

Gabriel Sherman has written a priceless portrait of David Brooks in the New Republic. Perhaps beguiled by a fancy lunch at "Equinox, a few blocks north of the White House", and charmed by his host, Brooks let it all hang out.

That first encounter is still vivid in Brooks's mind. "I remember distinctly an image of--we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant," Brooks says, "and I'm thinking, a) he's going to be president and b) he'll be a very good president."

Sartorial excellence as a mark of presidential greatness certainly is a novel theory of the presidency.

Brooks positively gushes over Obama's verbal skills, which strike close observers as rather exaggerated:

"I divide people into people who talk like us and who don't talk like us," he explains. "Of recent presidents, Clinton could sort of talk like us, but Obama is definitely--you could see him as a New Republic writer. He can do the jurisprudence, he can do the political philosophy, and he can do the politics. I think he's more talented than anyone in my lifetime. I mean, he is pretty dazzling when he walks into a room. So, that's why it's important he doesn't f**k this up."

The skill set of the faculty lounge rarely translates into great leadership. If they did, Woodrow Wilson would be celebrated as a great prsident, instead of the man who screwed up Versailles and paved the way for the emergence of fascism.

Sherman deserves our thanks for enticing Brooks into this self-revelatory interview.

Hat tip: Rosslyn Smith