After assessing candidates from both parties in this election season, David Brooks has written a buzzy column in the New York Times headlined, "I Miss Barack Obama." How so? Let him count the ways: Obama has "basic integrity," as evidenced by his generally scandal-free administration. Contrast that with, say, Hillary Clinton constantly having to explain away some "vaguely shady shortcut." Obama has "basic humanity." He recently visited a mosque, for example, while Donald Trump wants to bar Muslims from entering the country. Obama hears out all sides when making decisions, balancing his wants with the "limits of the situation." Bernie Sanders, in comparison, "has been so blinded by his values that the reality of the situation does not seem to penetrate his mind."
Obama has "grace under pressure," while Marco Rubio tends to sweat and turn into a robot. But perhaps the harshest dig comes at the expense of Ted Cruz. Brooks floats the idea of how people would feel hearing that Barack and Michelle Obama had joined the board of their local charity. "You’d be happy to have such people in your community," he writes. "Could you say that comfortably about Ted Cruz? The quality of a president’s humanity flows out in the unexpected but important moments." Obama has a sense of optimism, too, and while he's not perfect, Brooks predicts that these characteristics he embodies will be missed by everyone, "regardless of who replaces him." Read the full ode-to-Obama column here.