Brooks on Bush-Kerry

October 02, 2004

David Brooks in the New York Times has a good op-ed today looking at the debate perfomances the other night and using them as windows into the two candidates.

He argues that Kerry is great on details - an engineer and problem solver - but fails to wrap his command of the facts into a compelling package or principle. Bush is the other way around - he has a compelling narrative of life and purpose but is completely incompetant about the facts.

To translate, Bush would be a brilliant sketch artist or designer but if he were an architect no one would dare enter any structure he built. Kerry would get the math right, but the building would be an awkward sprawl of good ideas without any coherent design or purpose.

By this scheme, Clinton was so effective because he had both the wonky command of details and the inspired ability to build a compelling narrative around those details.

Brooks made me think, which is all I ask of a good op-ed piece.

EDIT - Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings disagrees - he thinks Brooks' piece is utter rubbish because it makes bad arguments using wrong assumptions and bad data.

Posted by Red Ted at October 2, 2004 10:22 AM | TrackBack