Dateline: Acela Corridor
Fresh from capturing the nation's attention with his surprisingly fierce yet tender 2015 performance as Marco Rubio's campaign messaging guru and Carly Fiorina's elocution coach --
...That’s where Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio come in. So far, Fiorina has looked like the most impressive candidate. She has a genius for creating signature moments. (“If you want to stump a Democrat, ask them to name an accomplishment of Mrs. Clinton’s.”) But her spotty record at Hewlett-Packard probably means she can’t start at the top of the ticket.
Rubio is young and thus uncorrupted, and he is a genius at relating policy depth in a way that is personal. He has clarity of mind and can sum up a complex subject — Russia, the Middle East — in a way that is comprehensible but not oversimplified.
This debate was one moment in time, but you can see the vectors of where this campaign is headed. This is no longer Bob Dole’s or George H.W. Bush’s G.O.P. But it’s not going to completely lose its mind, either.
It’s going to be somewhat the same, but edgier and more renegade. Right now, Rubio, Fiorina and maybe Chris Christie are best positioned to occupy that space....
-- Mr. David Brooks now returns to what he knows best: offering unsolicited advice to the Democratic front-runner...about the proper way to talk to Appalachian coal miners...from the safety of his opulent apartment in Washington, D.C.'s tony Cleveland Park neighborhood:
She heard tales of loss and renewal. Then she gave a speech proposing an agenda for the region. It was a perfectly serviceable speech. Yet you can see in it some of the reasons the Clinton campaign has not exactly caught fire.
The core problem is that she sounds like a normal Democratic candidate in the noble tradition of Edmund Muskie and Hubert Humphrey, but she doesn’t sound like an imaginative candidate who is responding with fresh eyes to situations today.
This year it seems especially important to show voters that you see them and know them, and can name the exact frustrations in their lives. Clinton’s speech was filled with the flattery that candidates always offer their audiences — “Appalachia is home to some of the most resilient, hard-working people anywhere.” But the political rhetoric was conventional and she didn’t really capture the texture of life.
To the best of my knowledge, the closest Mr. Brooks has come to manual labor of any kind in the last 20 years has been some cardio and leg work from tirelessly carrying water for Bush Administration, and a little upper body work from all the patting himself on back he did after Dubya decisively won the Iraq War in 2003 and put paid to all those dirty Liberal doubters. And the closest Mr. Brooks has ever come to intersecting with the lives and loves of Appalachian coal miner was that time The Capital Grille experimented with using Pappy's Moonshine Madness Barbecue Sauce on its baby back ribs.
Which is why, while Mr. Brooks could not exactly find anything specifically wrong with Hillary Clinton's speech --
...Clinton did gesture toward some of these truths, saying, “They’re dying from suicide, but I thought Bill really put his finger on it. He said, ‘You know what they’re really dying of? They’re dying of a broken heart.’” But her policy ideas don’t exactly respond to current realities.
She vowed to “take a hard look at retraining programs.” She’d expand tax credits to encourage investment. She’d get tough on trading partners who are trying to dump cheap steel...
-- from his position floating dirigibly far above the cares of ordinary mortals, he just could not help kvetching that somehow she just could have done better:
A daring approach might have been ...
A more imaginative approach might have been to unfurl a vision to reweave social fabric...
A more timely approach would have noted this fact...
Clinton’s speech was not bad by any means. But she could have offered something inspiring and audacious...
Oh how I despair of Mr. Brooks' rebranding:
Moreover, many in the media, especially me, did not understand how they would express their alienation. We expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough. For me, it’s a lesson that I have to change the way I do my job if I’m going to report accurately on this country.
On the other hand, there could be a play there. It could express a vital theme of our age.
Blue Gal, get my agent on the phone!