Brooks to Obama: Just Be Yourself

The long giggled-about “bromance” between New York Times columnist David Brooks and President Obama appears to be heating up again. In today’s Times, the conservative Brooks offers the president some earnest campaign advice: don’t play to your base. In an era when only 15 percent of Americans say they trust the federal government to do the right thing most of the time, Obama will commit election suicide if he casts himself as a big-government liberal aligned with the activists camped out in lower Manhattan. “Obama, who is still widely admired because he is reasonable and calm, is in danger of squandering his best asset by pretending to be someone he is not,” writes Brooks. Better to take his cues from Bill Clinton, who lowered the ideological temperature of his campaigns and won people over with individual policies.