July 29, 2009, 4:29 pm David Brooks and Gail Collins
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images In late May, dozens of health care reform activists staged a protest outside the San Francisco Federal Building while waiting to deliver petitions to U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Gail Collins: David, your writing on health care has been incredibly thoughtful, so I’m going to take this opportunity to poke you a little. Then I’ll shut up so you can talk.
The other week I said I agreed with you about the critical importance of cost controls. Then I asked — O.K., I sort of demanded — that you denounce the Republican leaders in the Senate who were flinging around proposals to make it illegal to investigate cost controls at all. You basically said that was a stupid thing to do, but that the Republicans weren’t really the problem since they aren’t in charge.
A single-payer system would be far and away the most cost effective answer.
But actually, they are. And so are we. The reason the country can’t solve the health care mess is because the people with the biggest bullhorns don’t speak honestly and clearly about it. Nobody understands the Democratic plan, and that scares the public. The irresponsible Republicans are just waiting to make whatever comes out sound terrible. The responsible Republicans are working to come up with a compromise that’s going to be even more incoherent than the Democratic version. Read more…
July 22, 2009, 12:10 pm David Brooks and Gail Collins
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
David Brooks: Gail, you made a reference in last week’s conversation that caught me up short. You said something about how badly my guys, the Republicans, have been behaving during this whole health care thing.
It made me wonder, are they really my guys? Do I have guys anymore? Read more…
July 16, 2009, 12:10 pm David Brooks and Gail Collins
Gail Collins: David, I’d like to talk today about your columns on health care. I’ve been reading them carefully and as a result I’ve spent the last several weeks in bed with the covers over my head, awash in despair. If it wasn’t for all those Republicans committing adultery and giving resignation speeches awash with dead fish metaphors, I’d never have had the strength to crawl out every now and then and write columns myself. Read more…
July 8, 2009, 1:00 pm David Brooks and Gail Collins
Cecil Stoughton/The White House and John F. Kennedy Library, via Associated Press Robert McNamara in October 1961: Has our ruling class gotten better or worse over the ages?
David Brooks: Gail, the death of Robert McNamara has me thinking about ruling classes. On the one hand there was the Best and the Brightest ruling class of which McNamara was a part. These were men (I guess they were all men) educated at the high water mark of technocratic self-confidence. Read more…
July 1, 2009, 1:01 pm David Brooks and Gail Collins
Gail Collins: David, Happy Fourth of July in advance. How does your family celebrate? I hope you’ve got something really nice planned, so you’ll quickly recover from the fact that I’m about to rant about Republicans and morality. Read more…
June 24, 2009, 12:48 pm David Brooks and Gail Collins
Left, Alex Wong/Getty Images; right, Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters Left, President Obama at a news conference on June 23. Right, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a sermon during Friday prayers at Tehran University, four days earlier.
David Brooks: Gail, many of us were born into the wrong era. You — and I’m just guessing here — would have been happy as William Henry Harrison’s Rahm Emmanuel in 1841. You would have told him to wear galoshes on Inauguration Day and used his long presidency to advance the cause of Ohioan Cultural Hegemony — to make Ohio the cultural, financial and psychological center of the nation and the world, to the betterment of all. Read more…
June 18, 2009, 3:53 pm David Brooks and Gail Collins
Joyce Dopkeen/The New York Times A hospital emergency room.
David and I thought the responses to our health care discussion were so great we decided to broaden the conversation. Here are excerpts from some of the comments we thought were especially interesting. Read more…
June 16, 2009, 6:40 pm David Brooks and Gail Collins
Clockwise from top left: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times; Jason Cohn/Reuters; Mark Wilson/Getty Images/Agence France-Presse; Alberto Pellaschiar/The Associated Press; Georgios Kefalas/EPA
Gail Collins: David, I loved your column this week about the Obama health care plan. I think it was really on target about the White House’s politically pragmatic strategy. Our only difference appears to be that my reaction is — Yes, Barack, go for whatever you can get! While I’m under the impression that you think whatever he gets is going to be too big, too bureaucratic, too messy, and that you’d be happy to see the whole thing defeated. Read more…
June 10, 2009, 12:54 pm David Brooks and Gail Collins
Phil Marino for The New York Times
David Brooks: Gail, 30 years ago this week, I graduated from Radnor High School in Pennsylvania. Today, I’m giving some remarks to the students of this year’s graduating class.
This honor has sparked a condition that is unacceptable to people in our profession: writer’s block. I have been trying to think of some wisdom I have acquired over the past three decades, and I’m drawing a blank. Read more…
June 3, 2009, 12:56 pm David Brooks and Gail Collins
Left to right: Gabriel Bouys/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images; Jeff Swensen/Getty Images; Beth Rooney for The New York Times
Gail Collins: David, can we talk hot-button social issues for a second? I know this is not really an area where you fly the conservative colors, but you’re the go-to guy on how America lives, and I’d like to hear your thoughts even if we can’t work up a fight.
If you think of abortion, gay rights and gun control as the Big
Three, it seems to me the nation is moving in very different directions.
“ The lack of women judges in most of our nation's high courts severely compromises the quality of justice dispensed in case after case. ”— JP Gal
Sotomayor's Life Matters
“ If there was a choice between compromising gun control to the Republicans and pushing health care legislation...by all means, Obama should do it!”— Messerole
Is Obama the 'Boss'?
“ Prosecuting a few who acted in accord with the wishes of the vast majority of the public is not wise. The best thing that we can do is to make sure the bad behavior stops.”— The Wheel Turns
“ The problem with the "anti-empathy" argument is that the Constitution is a set of guiding principles, and it leaves application of those principles to modern times. When the text of the law isn't availing, empathy is critical to interpreting the law.”— Tim O'Shea
Who Will Replace Souter?
“ It is worrisome that the Democrats have no credible opposition to their agenda, something that this country really needs at this moment. ”— SJ
Specter Survives, at Least for Now
“ I wonder about these shipping companies ready to spend thousands on ransoms and yet we hear nothing about security forces on the ships. ”— pat driscoll
Exotic Datelines and Pirate Control
“ Postponing a final decision and allowing situations to develop naturally, until a decision is ripened, is a Very Mature and intellectual approach to government which has been sorely lacking at the highest levels for a long time. ”— Grant Stern
White House Time Bombs
“ Do health care! When Canadians and Germans lose their jobs, they still have health care. Why can't we?”— Louise
Obama's To-Do List
“ Thank heaven the discussion has finally turned to the most likely solution to our current financial mess: Consumer spending. Yes, let's be understated, but waiters and arborists need chickens in their pots too. ”— Jake Stone
Let Them Eat a Little Bit of Cake
“ The economic stimulus package was supposed to be quick, targeted and temporary. Looking at the depth of our economic woes, ... making America work requires more than this stimulus package. ”— Lisa Sun
The Propeller Heads' Dilemma
“ We are on the verge of a complete economic collapse and have a stimulus package that has yet to be diligently unpacked by the media and we are discussing if we still feel as good about Obama as we did during the inauguration. Didn't I see this on SNL?”— Anthony
Is the Honeymoon Over?
“ It's clear that Barack is already slipping. The only meaningful thing he has done so far is repeat the oath of office, and even that probably wasn't absolutely necessary. ”— andrew
Looking for Change in All the Wrong Places
Things Can Always Be Worse No matter what dreadful embarrassment your state is facing, you can always console yourself by remembering that you do not live in New Jersey.
The Health Care Sausage President Obama took a step closer to health care reform after pulling out all the stops to give wavering senators the spine to take a stand against financing the F-22 fighter jet, a $1.75 billion piece of pork.
The Fellowship Quiz News about political sex scandals has colored headlines since the Fourth of July. Here’s a test to see how well you’ve been paying attention.
3 Days of the Sotomayor A lot of Americans are watching the Judicial Committee hearings so let’s get to the hypothetical questions.
The Power of Posterity Without a next generation, there would be no grand designs or high ambitions. Even words like justice would lose meaning because everything would get reduced to the narrow qualities of the here and now.
Kill the Rhinos! The elimination of the biggest, hairiest, most entrenched problem in the country, the rising costs of health care, can not be done without overhauling the system.
Liberal Suicide March It once seemed as if President Obama would lead a center-left coalition, but instead, he has deferred to the Old Bulls on Capitol Hill on issue after issue.
No Size Fits All President Obama’s plan for producing more community college grads doesn’t throw money at the problem. It ties money to reform and has the potential to spur innovation.
What Obama needs to do -- and avoid doing -- to get the public on board.