Thursday, September 21, 2006


David Broder channels Harry Reid

I guess there was a time when David Broder had something useful to say… but who can remember. If his writings often reflect a nostalgia for the old Washington ways, at least they haven’t tended to the hyperbolic. Well, he discards that positive trait with this latest submission for irrelevancy: Independence Days

Celebrating the so-called independent streaks we are supposedly seeing out of a few (predominately Republican) Senators, he begins:

“American politics reached a critical turn last week. The revolt of several Republican senators against President Bush's insistence on a free hand in treating terrorist detainees signaled the emergence of an independent force in elections and government.”

Let me go out on a limb and make this (not so) bold prediction: Punxsutawney Phil casts a longer shadow with more significance than this new, emergent independent force that Mr. Broder is gushing over. These are the three objects of his man-crush:

“These are not ordinary men. McCain, from Arizona, is probably the leading candidate for the 2008 presidential nomination. Graham, from South Carolina, is the star among the younger Republican senators. Warner, from Virginia, embodies the essence of traditional Reagan conservatism: patriotism, support for the military, civility.”

Of course, Senator McCain is an automatic entry – I’m just surprised Mr. Broder didn’t also apply the “maverick” tag to him. And I’m not sure what he means by assigning “star” status to Senator Graham because, well, he isn’t. Senator Warner? Mr. Broder probably intended to help the Senator with conservatives with his “embodies the essence of traditional Reagan conservatism” bit but the result is actually just an insult to the memory of our former President.

The hyperbole doesn’t stop there. Using language that could come straight from Harry Reid or The Daily Kos, he goes off on a Bush rant:

“Instead, swayed by some inner impulse or the influence of Dick Cheney, he has proved to be lawless and reckless. He started a war he cannot finish, drove the government into debt and repeatedly defied the Constitution.”

Repeatedly? Well, I’ll give him one act of defiance of the constitution – the President’s signature on McCain-Feingold. Presumably, however, Mr. Broder is NOT referring to that since his only problem with that piece of legislation is its apparent ineffectiveness (What McCain-Feingold Didn't Fix) - and not its impact on political speech. Aside from that, there is nothing in David Broder’s writing that even hint at any particular understanding of the Constitution that would suggest he knows a serial defier when he sees one.

Republicans who act like Democrats are always in style for many pundits. And these acts of independence will remain on display only as long as a compliant, Washington-based press is there to “ooh” and “aah” over them. This “critical turn in American politics” last week is, as has been said before, just another tale told, “…full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”.

Yes it's only Republicans who act like Democrats who are said to "grow" in office.
Nice touch digging up 2 year old Broder column.
thanks SD
Interesting. Broder is catching fire - on Daily Kos!! - among my liberal compatriots for being an insufferable pious pain but from a rather different angle. I will leave it to you to parse the ironies therein.
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