Daily Clips: January 19th, 2016

Barack Obama was the winner of Sunday’s Democratic debate: Did you tune in to watch Bernie, Hillary, and the other guy debate after Sunday football? Probably not, and that brings a smile to the face of Debbie Wasserman Schultz!

If you by any chance did watch the extremely well-moderated debate, you would have noticed that Barack Obama’s name and legacy were enthusiastically embraced by all candidates on stage – especially Hillary Clinton. As Vox’s Dylan Matthews noted,

[Hillary] also cited Sanders’s past criticisms of the president and flirtation with supporting a primary challenge against him in 2011/2012…Clinton’s message is clear: I am the true defender of Obama’s legacy, I will preserve his gains, while Sanders dismissed them.

This may seem like a strange strategy, especially if you watched the Republican debate earlier in the week. There, Obama was portrayed as nothing short of evil. Yet within Democratic circles, the current president is seen in a very positive light. Consider this:

To put these numbers in perspective, George W. Bush’s approval among Republicans in 2007 sat at 70 percent – 17 points lower than Obama’s standing with Democrats today. For this reason, expect the Democratic nominee to not distance themselves from the president like John McCain did with Bush.

Weekly bashing of David Brooks: As most reader(s) of Daily Clips will know, I have a habit of rebutting columns written by the New York Times columnist David Brooks. Why specifically him? Because he’s a “middle-of-the-road Republican” that asks all the right questions, but then ends up with the wrong answers. He’s so close to being politically sane. Unlike Breitbart or Fox News, Brooks lives an examined life, yet he all too often falls back on faulty assumptions about life and politics.

This week, he’s basically arguing that it would be terrible for the Republican party if either Cruz or Trump wins the nomination. No faulty logic there. He believes “there’s a silent majority of hopeful, practical, programmatic Republicans. You know who you are.”

To cure Republican voters from the anger and contempt of this election cycle Brooks argues that “maybe it’s time a center-right movement actually offered” an agenda that dealt with “working class populism, religious compassion and institutional reform.” Read this as: Rubio is our only hope, Republican establishment.

Which is a pathetic option. Because Rubio, as we saw in the last debate, is willing to go angry Republican Dad to get the nomination. And Brooks isn’t the only one hoping for a Rubio surge. A similar call to action was raised in Michael Gerson’s latest column. The intellectual conservative class has finally understood that their party has lost the plot. But to offer Rubio as the bastion of the center-right? Give me a break.

Tweet of the day: This headline made me smile.

Nick Cassella

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