The Question of Toughness


I somehow doubt that David Brooks’ glowing endorsement of Barack Obama will darken liberal doubts that he has what it takes to fight for progressive values. Basically, you face the same choice over and over again — is Obama’s undeniable ability to win sympathy and praise from the more mild-mannered and open-minded segments of the right evidence of his internal frailty or is it evidence of his ability to build a dominant political coalition. It counts, in a sense, as “evidence” for either thesis. I’ll admit that I liked Obama from before I ever heard a word from him about politics or policy, so obviously I’m biased, but I see it more in the pro-Obama way.

At any rate, maybe Ed Kilgore or Mark Kleiman will convince you.