Elizabeth Warren’s Presidency, According to David Brooks

Are you having trouble seeing the future? No worries. David Brooks will wipe your windshield clean for you.

In his September 20th column, Brooks has scoped out the next 50 years of U.S. history, beginning with Elizabeth Warren’s election as President and the Democrats back in charge of the Senate.

Here’s some of what Brooks says is destined to follow:

  • A moment of “dance-in-the-streets euphoria” on the part of “the American educated class”;
  • An Administration composed of self-righteous ideologues, incapable of compromise;
  • Failure to enact President Warren’s take-it-or-leave-it proposals, one after another — Medicare for all, free college, a wealth tax, and the rest;
  • Warren and her kind swept from office in 2024 on a fresh tide of national disgust;
  • A country soured forever on the twin follies of “conservative populism” and “progressive populism”; and finally…
  • A resurgence of Clinton-Obama-style “moderate liberalism… embracing all and seeking opportunity for all.”

As a freelance pundit, this is where I should jump in with my critique of the Brooks scenario. But I’m going to save myself the trouble. Truth is, I can think of little to say that has not already been said in the online comments of hundreds of pissed-off readers of the New York Times op ed page. I now yield the podium to a few of them:

“Another paternalistic little fable.” – mary k, north Carolina

“Every time I read what David Brooks has to say about Warren, I am left wondering – would he say the same things if she was a man? She is so far from his caricature of her, I think her strength is threatening to him.” – Cassandra, Sacramento

“Has he not heard about the climate crisis? There is no mention of it in this essay.” — the quiet one, US

“BTW Dave, in your vision of 2050 did you happen to see how climate change was progressing? I’m interested to know how my grand kids are coping.” – Claudius, Pleasant Vly, NY

“David Brooks continues his habit of characterizing garden variety liberal Democrats as bomb-throwing radicals. Elizabeth Warren… hardly needs Prof. Brooks to instruct her that she will meet with resistance in the U.S. Senate. She works in the U.S. Senate.” – Chris Rasmussen, Highland Park, NJ

“I think Mr. Brooks conflates American Democracy with a love of capitalism a bit too much; what people want more than a chance to become bazillionaires is a chance to feel treated fairly within the system that dominates their lives.” – Brad Price, Portland

“FDR was pushed from below by the socialists and the Communists and the unionists. The middle class was born and the corporatists and the capitalists had to start paying their own way. Modern day GOP-supported capitalism is completely out of control.” – Bill T, Farmingdale, NY

“If centrist Democrats see a candidate win by running on a progressive platform, they’ll migrate left. And what were once fringe ideas – like universal healthcare, free college, a green new deal – will become more mainstream.” – Quay Rice, Augusta GA

 “The positions you regard as extreme are likely to be remembered as an opening offer in what becomes a compromise piece of legislation.” – DA, St. Louis

“You assume that she will choose to be a failed dogmatist over a successful pragmatist. You say that what distinguishes her from Bernie is that she shows self-awareness (a debatable point about Bernie) and then spend the rest of the column outlining a scenario where she is utterly unaware of those with whom she has to work… What I respect about conservatives is that they played the long game. You don’t dismantle the New Deal and Great Society overnight. I support Warren because I sense she has the self-awareness to know that to move our nation toward economic, social and environmental justice, we have to play the long game.” – Tomg, Rosendale

“Warren is both a savvy politician (knows how to work with people and get things done) and a fighter for principles and policy… American capitalism is seriously broken… It no longer serves even the middle class, much less the working class and the poor. It is not about making things or serving the public good. It needs major repair, not tweaks and fixes. Warren is the only Democrat running [with] the wherewithal, the smarts, the experience, the know-how and the fight, to take on the rich and powerful… All that said, even if Warren wins and the Dems take back the Senate, the rest of us will have to stay active or became more active to have a chance of turning the hate-filled, mean-spirited society around so that it truly works for the public good.” – rgoldfilm, Berkeley

“To paraphrase Elizabeth Warren, it’s amazing that David Brooks would go to the trouble of writing a piece likes this, just to show us all the things we cannot have and all the things we should not fight for”. – adam, Brooklyn ny

“Dems have always known how to legislate for half a loaf. Exhibit A: Obamacare. Unlike craven Mitch, a Democratic Congress would send bills to President Warren without requiring pre-approval. Warren herself knows how to wrangle.” – A Boston, Maine

 “We need five or six parties, not two. We need an electorate that builds their opinions based on the same factual foundation. We need healthcare and college for all with opt-outs for people who want to buy their own (e.g., in NYC, not everyone takes the subway). We need… a lot. In the meantime, I’ll take Warren with open arms.” — mattcasper11, San Diego, CA

“I sense a certain panic in the course of reading this op-ed. People who have benefited from the status quo tend to be the ones most resistant to change… With Warren, I see a fighter; for our democracy and for social justice.” – wp, Oklahoma City, OK

“I suspect that Elizabeth Warren will not hold your opinion in anywhere near as high regard as Obama apparently did. You were exactly the kind of thoughtful conservative that Obama was trying to win over. Yet somehow, when push came to shove, you sided in your columns time and again with the obstructionist Republicans in opposing Obama’s initiatives… You demonstrated that the bonds of loyalty to ones friends and colleagues and ideology are not easily broken…” —  DebbieR, Brookline, MA

“Looking back from 2050, half of us have drowned.” — Amos Baynes, NC

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