Barack had him at hello. “This is why you go into this business, to watch a speech like that,” David gushed at the conclusion of Barack’s famous speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. “It’s a shame the networks aren’t covering tonight, because they just missed a bit of history.”
David’s affection only grew as the years went on. “Run, Barack, Run,” he wrote in 2006. They had so many things in common, like a shared admiration for political philosopher Reinhold Neibuhr. Their relationship did pose some ethical quandaries for the center-right columnist, who was openly flirting with the enemy. He guiltily went to bat for John McCain’s increasingly manic 2008 campaign.
But as soon as Barack was in the White House, the balance of the relationship shifted. Now it was Barack courting David, in the hopes that David could give Obamacare a veneer of bipartisan intellectual support. Barack showed him health care charts addressed to “Dear Comrade Brooks.” He had to have David, the last thread holding together some semblance of a Washington consensus, without which the two parties would be torn asunder, forever.
But David was unswayed. And so began years of embittered estrangement, punctuated by fleeting hints of a possible reconciliation. But it now appears David has come full circle. In February, he confessed that he may have been too hasty in jilting Barack. “I miss Barack Obama,” he wrote. Today, he suggests that Barack’s foreign policy has been wise and measured, at least compared to the candidates running for president.
The only question is: Will Barack take him back?