RUSH: Howard Kurtz today in the Washington Post, a story entitled: ”The Media Elite’s Secret Dinners’ — Last Tuesday evening, Rahm Emanuel quietly slipped into an eighth-floor office at the Watergate. As white-jacketed waiters poured red and white wine and served a three-course salmon and risotto dinner, the White House chief of staff spent two hours chatting with some of Washington’s top journalists –‘ At least there are some left. Ha-ha-ha. Not unemployed. ‘– excusing himself to take a call from President Obama and another from Hillary Clinton. As the journalists hurled questions and argued among themselves, Emanuel said: ‘This feels a lot like a Jewish family dinner.’ For more than a year, David Bradley, the Atlantic’s soft-spoken owner, has hosted these off-the-record dinners at a specially built table in his glass-enclosed office overlooking the Potomac. And the guests, from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to Jordan’s King Abdullah II, are as A-list as they come. ‘It’s just a joy for me,’ Bradley says. ‘These are reflective, considered conversations, which is hard to do when you’re going after headlines for the next day’s publication.’ While the guests seem quite open, says the businessman who bought Atlantic a decade ago, he is new enough to journalism ‘that I can’t tell the difference between genuine candor and deeply rehearsed candor.”
Now, here are the regular attendees: ‘Among those in regular attendance are David Brooks and Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, Gene Robinson and Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post, NBC’s David Gregory, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, PBS’s Gwen Ifill, the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, Vanity Fair’s Todd Purdum, former Time managing editor Walter Isaacson and staffers from Bradley’s Atlantic and National Journal, including Ron Brownstein, Andrew Sullivan and Jonathan Rauch,’ and they have them frequently. Other things make so much sense now, given that these little elite secret dinners are taking place with Obama’s chief of staff and all these people. Because last Thursday on the Charlie Rose Show on PBS, he had a guest, David Brooks of the New York Times. We have a little sound bite montage here or roster, three bites that will illustrate the seduction of David Brooks. Brooks has even written about himself. I wasn’t going to use these sound bites today, Cookie put ’em in there, but when I saw that Brooks is a regular attendee at these media elite secret dinners at The Watergate with White House administration officials, I said, well, let’s listen to these and see if these things that Brooks says and the questions that Charlie Rose asks him give us an indication — because Brooks, by the way, for those of you new to the program, is the quasi-, the supposed conservative columnist at the New York Times. So here’s the first bite. David Brooks and Charlie Rose have this exchange about Obama.
BROOKS: He is, like all supreme politicians, you come out of the guy thinking — away from the guy thinking, ‘Oh, Mr. President, I love you.’ I mean, he… (laughing)
ROSE: And he knew exactly what would push your buttons.
BROOKS: I actually once went in there to — David Axelrod walks into a meeting with me carrying ‘The Reflections on the Revolution in France’ by Edmund Burke. They are not without manipulation.
RUSH: Edmund Burke is one of the Founding Fathers of modern conservative thought, and Brooks is saying that Axelrod walking around with his book was an attempt to manipulate Brooks, which Brooks later admits worked. The question then from Charlie Rose was, ‘Do you think you’re going to argue that being a community organizer was very good training for becoming president?’
BROOKS: The biggest shock to me, I thought, the guy’s 47, the guy’s barely been in Washington. Can he run an effective administration? Yes.
ROSE: And an effective campaign, too.
BROOKS: He has run a tremendously effective, efficient managerial administration. That is the biggest surprise and I think the biggest story of the first hundred days. Because if he didn’t do that, if he didn’t have the essential level of competence, nothing else would matter, people would not trust him. But he is a competent manager.
RUSH: I don’t want to spend a lot of time refuting any of this because it’s pointless. Competent manager? He’s running a marketing campaign rather than being president. He’s running a PR campaign rather than being president. He’s being president, don’t misunderstand, but it’s all perception. It’s not reality. Everything that they’re trying to fix is falling apart. Everything they’re trying to fix is getting worse, and yet, the perception is this guy’s brilliant, is great, great managerial skills, competent, very, very intelligent, like me, these people all think. I hate to do this to you, folks, but you gotta hear it. This is Charlie Rose and David Brooks just slobbering, literally slobbering over Barack Obama.
ROSE: This White House is very much an intellectual hothouse.
BROOKS: Intellectual power.
ROSE: The self-confidence and the intelligence.
BROOKS: There are certain intellects which are like fluorescent, and the president is one of them.
ROSE: He seems to be like Michael Jordan with 30 seconds to go. He wants the ball. He seems to be like Joe Montana with two minutes to go.
BROOKS: He e-mails him, ‘You’re like Michael Jordan,’ and Obama e-mails him back, ‘Just give me the ball.’
ROSE: I didn’t even know that.
BROOKS: Yeah, there you go.
BROOKS: Obama didn’t need the crowd. The crowd needed him.
ROSE: Is it John F. Kennedyesque? McLuhan said there are cool characters and hot characters. Bobby Kennedy was hot. Jack Kennedy was cool.
BROOKS: Well, I mean it’s certainly true that Obama’s cool.
RUSH: I would be embarrassed to be caught in a conversation about anybody like that, which reminds us, let’s go back to last year, before the election, October 30th, 2008, we have a montage of Tom Brokaw and Charlie Rose trying to figure out who Obama is.
ROSE: I don’t know what Barack Obama’s worldview is.
BROKAW: No, I don’t, either.
ROSE: I don’t know how he really sees where China is.
BROKAW: We don’t know a lot about Barack Obama and the universe of his thinking about foreign policy.
ROSE: I don’t really know. And do we know anything about the people who are advising him?
BROKAW: Yeah, it’s an interesting question.
ROSE: He is principally known through his autobiography and through very aspirational (sic) speeches.
BROKAW: Two of them. I don’t know what books he’s read.
ROSE: What do we know about the heroes of Barack Obama?
BROKAW: There’s a lot about him we don’t know.
RUSH: Well, they’ve certainly learned a lot about him in the first hundred days. He’s hot smart; he’s cool smart; he’s fluorescent smart, everybody in his administration is brilliant, very, very smart, and that he’s one of them. This is what having people to dinner can do for you. This is exactly what having people to dinner can do for you. Make no mistake about it, particularly if the dinners happen regularly.
RUSH: Okay. So David Brooks and Charlie Rose think that we’ve got a very competent manager here. He’s a brilliant president, a very competent manager. All right, how many tax cheats are in his cabinet? Last time I counted, it was five. How many empty slots are there in top positions like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? We have some acting director out there talking to us at this moment about what we’re going to do to avoid coming down with the swine flu. The acting director of the CDC says they’re taking the situation very, very seriously; and they’re acting very, very aggressively out there. They’re not doing anything that anybody can see! But this is all part of the propaganda allure. Is Barack Obama a competent spender of America’s money? Helllllll no! We are piling up record debt unseen in this nation’s history. Is he a competent president where tax policy is concerned? N-n-no, because we’re gonna kill the golden goose that lays all day golden eggs by attacking the wealth creators.
Oh, did you see Andrew Lloyd Webber in the UK reacting to the 50% proposed tax increase on the wealthy in that country? He said, ‘The last thing…’ He wrote a column, he wrote a piece in the UK Daily Mail: ‘The last thing this country needs is a pirate raid on the wealth creators who still dare navigate our stormy waters (…And don’t lynch me as a rich b*****d flying a kite for his own cause — I really fear an exodus of talent).’ It makes you wonder where all the producers go in Great Britain. Where will they go? But he’s worried about them leaving. He’s got a big piece. So Obama is not a competent taxer. Is he competent on the national security? He is putting us at risk with this torture ridiculousness and the memos and all this. Is he a competent America basher? Yes! He bashes America very well. I think Barack Obama is very, very accomplished at bashing America. But that sickening sound bite we had of Charlie Rose and David Brooks practically choking on insulin it was so sweet and syrupy, proves the allure of the demagogue. It proves how easy it is for them to get people — and you know who the easiest marks for demagogues are? Elites. People who are impressed with their own resumes and biographies, and people impressed with their own intelligence.