Two recent articles in national newspapers, both by well-known conservatives and dealing with Barack Obama’s presidency, stand in stark contrast with the relentless and mean-spirited criticism aimed at Obama during the various — and seemingly endless — Republican Party presidential debates.

Conservative columnist David Brooks gave his Feb. 9 New York Times column the title “I Miss Barack Obama.” Brooks makes clear that what he misses are certain Obama qualities, five in all, which for most of the candidates who wish to succeed him “are in short supply.”

First of these qualities is integrity, represented by the complete absence of the sort of scandal that plagued Ronald Reagan in the case of Iran-Contra and Bill Clinton’s dalliance with Monica Lewinsky. The second is “a sense of basic humanity,” a “basic care and respect for the dignity of others.” The third is “a soundness in his decision-making process” that carefully involves listening to his advisers before acting. The fourth is “grace under pressure,” the financial crisis he inherited as a prime example. And the fifth is “a resilient sense of optimism” best understood in contrast with “the pornography of pessimism” exuded by Sanders, Trump, Cruz and Carson, all of whom want us to believe “this country is on the verge of collapse.”

Segue to the second recent article, this by President Ronald Reagan’s chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Martin Feldstein, titled “The U.S. Economy Is in Good Shape,” which appeared in the Feb. 22 issue of the Wall Street Journal. Feldstein writes America is “essentially at full employment,” tight labor markets are resulting in higher wages, payroll employment is up 600,000 over the past three months, real disposable income is up 3.5 percent at an annual rate and real GDP growth should be up 2.5 percent this year. The United States, he points out, is the only advanced economy is the world right now where the trend lines are positive.

Brooks and Feldstein are honest conservatives. Neither is uncritical of certain of Obama’s policies. Brooks, for instance, believes Obama’s Middle Eastern foreign policy has been too timid, and Feldstein appropriately worries about the worsening national debt and the failure of our public school system to reach global standards. These issues are legitimate, though more or less debatable, concerns. “Obamacare” could well be added as a policy failure of the Obama administration, not because it did not expand medical insurance to millions who lacked it before, because it did, but instead because Obamacare leaves too many consumers at the mercy of for-profit insurance companies.

Nonetheless, three cheers for two honest conservative thinkers. In a less partisan political arena, where the demagoguery and know-nothingness of cynical conservative politicians would be ignored or dismissed by a savvy and better educated electorate, President Obama’s record as a person of integrity and, as Brooks says, “good manners,” would be judged fairly instead of being routinely maligned by dishonest self-styled conservatives who, as they say about one another, are “liars.”

Roger Bowen is author of three books and several hundred articles, both academic and accessible. He lives in Prospect Harbor.