Transcript of Mr. Brooks’ comment:
‘DAVID BROOKS: And, let’s face it, Obama, whether deservedly or not, does have a (I’ll say it crudely) but a manhood problem in the Middle East: Is he tough enough to stand up to somebody like Assad, somebody like Putin? I think a lot of the rap is unfair. But certainly in the Middle East, there’s an assumption he’s not tough–’
Mr. Brooks is adroit at the first order concerns of a New York Times pundit, cultivate bourgeois political respectability. So, he places, at a distance, his reluctantly uttered accusation in the rhetorical realm of conjecture, with the inference that many are thinking the same thing, even those inside the Obama Administration. But the moralizing duty falls onto the broad shoulders of Mr. Brooks.