On Friday’s broadcast of PBS’s “NewsHour,” during his regular Friday night appearance, New York Times columnist David Brooks had some tough criticisms for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his campaign, accusing Romney of “faking” conservatism.
To back this charge, Brooks cited a lack of passion and suggested that that is the reason his campaign is struggling.
“Several decades ago I had a chance to have dinner with Tom Clancy, the thriller writer,” Brooks said. “And he sat down — he had just toured a battleship and he had seen a new weapon system. And he was bubbling over with excitement about this new weapon system he thought was very interesting. And he was just talking about it with great passion. And I remember thinking, ‘You can’t fake it. If you don’t feel that, you can’t write Tom Clancy novels.'”
“And with Mitt Romney, he’s faking it,” Brooks continued. “I think he’s a non-ideological guy running in an ideological age who is pretending to be way more ideological than he really is. And so he talks like he is this cartoon image of how I’m supposed to be talking and as a result, it is stupid half the time — not half the time, some of the time. It’s an impersonation. And so, if I — knowing it’s too late to change who he is running as, but just be the more boring manager you are. He’s a competent manager — we thought he was.”
Brooks’ “NewsHour” co-panelist, syndicated columnist Mark Shields, suggested Romney do something bold like embrace the Simpson-Bowles committee’s report on the federal deficit. Brooks echoed that sentiment and said Romney shouldn’t try to run on his personality, but as a manager.
“And I would say he’s going to say, ‘Hey, you don’t have to like me. I’m not going to be as personable as Barack Obama or Bill Clinton but I will reform our institutions. We have a couple institutions that don’t work and I will re-change these organizations — the tax code, the educational system, the political conversation in Washington and the entitlement system. Those four things, I’ll fix them. And if to change the political system and the tax code maybe I’m going to have to raise revenues to cut a deal. I am going to do that,'” Brooks said. “And so that would be the sort of desperate thing I would have to do. I would say there is a time for desperation because if you look at the state polls in Ohio and Florida, he’s trailing significantly in these swings states. … You see the Senate has collapsed for Republicans in the last couple weeks. Even the House is beginning to falter.”