David Brooks insists that Barack Obama, despite his misreading of public opinion, "is still the most realistic and reasonable major player in Washington." (Look at the abuse leftist commenters heap on him, as your conservatism dismisses this as liberal madness.) "In a sensible country, people would see Obama as a president trying to define a modern brand of moderate progressivism." Bring me smarter citizens--the cry of savants throughout the ages! In truth, Brooks has a point about Obama's Middle East policy and maybe on another issue or two. But what is at the man's core, what he does he ultimately want to achieve? Brooks is at odds with, among others', Charles Kesler's reading of Obama, which finds far more ambition (and political extremism) in him than in Clinton or other liberals.
Michael Gerson is even more problematic in his reasoning, making extraordinary parallels based on the relative successes of the gay rights and the pro-life movements:
But so far the gay rights movement has succeeded for many of the same reasons that the pro-life movement (to a lesser extent) has succeeded. Both have taken sometimes abstract, theoretical arguments and humanized them. Both have moved away from extreme-sounding moralism (or anti-moralism) and placed their cause in the context of civil rights progress. Whatever your view on the application of these arguments, this is the way social movements advance in America.
Yes, the way social movements advance is often through spurious comparisons, repeated by authorities. Moreover, the civil rights movement morphed into racial/ethnic preference pleading that is a key part of expanding the administrative state. It is the civil rights movement based on the Declaration that must move Gerson, but he has a strange view of it, if he wants to apply it to both pro-life and gay rights.
Both Brooks and Gerson seem to lack any objective standards by which to assess whether a policy is moral or immoral, just or unjust. Brooks endorsed a form of gay marriage; is Gerson far behind?
But as much as some conservatives fail us we should ourselves of how bad liberal establishment journalism was and remains. See the anti-Fox rant of Howell Raines, former NY Times editor, in tomorrow's WaPo.