David Brooks: Obama Displays 'a Kind of ESPN Masculinity'

It might have sounded quite reasonable to David Brooks and his tight circle of media friends but to most of the rest of us, using the term "ESPN Masculinity" to describe President Obama is just flat out hilarious. Brooks performs a comedy encore at the end of The ESPN Man story in the New York Times with his psychobabble description of Obama's "manliness." These supposed traits listed by Brooks are the reasons why he claims Obama remains somewhat popular despite a lousy economy.

First, let us go right to the ESPN Man money quote:

Normally, presidents look weak during periods of economic stagnation, overwhelmed by events. But Obama has displayed a kind of ESPN masculinity: postfeminist in his values, but also thoroughly traditional in style — hypercompetitive, restrained, not given to self-doubt, rarely self-indulgent. Administrations are undone by scandal and moments when they look pathetic, but this administration, guarded in all things, has rarely had those moments.

Obama administration scandals such as Fast and Furious and Solyndra are rarely covered in depth in the New York times so perhaps that is why Brooks believes Obama rarely looks pathetic. Brooks does believe the economic situation is poor but, fortunately for Obama, his "ESPN masculinity" could help him pull off a win in November:

The economic mood of the country is terrible. Roughly 75 percent of Americans believe the economy is still in recession. According to a Quinnipiac survey, only 35 percent of Americans say they are better off than they were four years ago. Barely a third believe the country is heading in the right direction. The economic climate is as bad as or worse than it was in 1968, 1976, 1992 and 2000, years when incumbent parties lost re-election.

Brooks admits that Obama's is introducing issues primarily for campaign purposes and that he is "classless" which he probably meant in a different way but is inadvertently funny:

In 2008, Obama had that transcendent, messianic tone. This year, he has adopted a Clinton 1996 type of campaign — strong partisan attacks combined with an emphasis on small and medium-sized policies — like the Buffett Rule and student loans — intended to display his common man values. As a result, Obama has come off aggressive, but also, (unlike Romney) classless and in touch with middle-income groups.

The final line of The ESPN Man leaves us laughing again with Brooks' psychobabble focus on Obama's post and pre-boomer "manliness":

I’d say that Obama is a slight underdog this year: the scuffling economy will grind away at voters. But his leadership style is keeping him afloat. He has defined a version of manliness that is postboomer in policy but preboomer in manners and reticence.

What's next? A Sports Illustrated cover for The ESPN Man?

UPDATE: My DUmmie FUnnies "co-conspirator," Charles Henrickson, has written a parody song featuring David Brooks singing to Obama. It is called "A Fine Bromance" sung to the tune of A Fine Romance:

A fine bromance, like no other
A fine bromance, my Brooks brother
Barack and Brooks—it’s mutual admiration
Your rock-star looks are causin’ a strange sensation
A fine bromance, though you’re frazzled
A fine bromance, I’m bedazzled
I like to stare at the crease in your well-pressed pants
I’ve widened up my stance
This is a fine bromance

A fine bromance, we’re pie-chartin’
You make bromance that’s bi-partisan
You’re cooler than the clams that are down in the seaweed
You cast a glance my way and I get all wee-weed
A fine bromance, you’re my Marx guy
When we slow-dance, you make sparks fly
You make me have to cancel my “No we cant’s”
You’ve got me in a trance
This is a fine bromance

A fine bromance, with no disses
A fine bromance, Barack, this is
The “right” may be the box that a guy like I’m in
But I’m the kind that writes for the New York Times in
A fine bromance, my dear comrade
A fine bromance, like you and Rahm had
I feel a tingle running now up my pants
I’ve widened up my stance
This is a fine bromance

2012 Presidential New York Times David Brooks
P.J. Gladnick's picture