I think Brooks reflects the general reaction to Obama's acceptance speech, which in general seems oblivious to Obama's impossible circumstances:
The next president has to do three big things, which are in tension with one another: increase growth, reduce debt and increase social equity. President Obama has the intelligence, the dexterity and the sense of balance to navigate these crosscutting challenges. But he apparently lacks the creativity to break out of the partisan categories, the trench warfare gridlock.
Thursday night’s speech showed the character and his potential. It didn’t show audacity and the fulfillment of that potential.
Consider the enormity of those challenges: "increase growth, reduce debt and increase social equity." And as you do so, keep in mind that conservatives have historically and philosophically argued the preposterousness of any president believing in the presidency's power to effect such changes. Simultaneously you must strike from your mind that a growing list of Republican presidents nevertheless possess a demonstrable record of having slowed growth, increased debt and exacerbated social inequity.
OK, now that you're in a hopelessly contradicted frame of mind, consider the intensely ridiculed audacity that Obama took to the White House, whose softening is now just as intensely ridiculed. And consider, as well, that after all the mockery of Obama's superhuman, messianic powers, he's now scorned for lacking the creative trifling of altering the human characteristics of combative partisanship and political trench warfare.
By the way, about a half-hour ago the employment figures came in--96,000 net jobs. Disappointing? Not at all. In fact, according to those who brought you the above contradictions, we just made extraordinary progress on the unemployment front, since the unemployment rate rather dramatically dropped from 8.3 to 8.1. Well, it was the percentage rate's importance they were arguing last month. Please don't suggest they'll have the audacity to change the rules now.