Sunday, September 24, 2006


David Broder's Independence Week

David Broder’s at it again: The Tide's In for Independents This is a theme he used in his previous column (Independence Days) but once again it comes across as a just a lot of wishful thinking backed up by some cherry picked anecdotes. David Broder channels Harry Reid

I say wishful thinking because, for the most part, he highlights politicians adopting a more leftist agenda. He again takes note of the objects of his current man-crushes – Senators McCain, Graham and Warner – and adds others:

“Giuliani has flourished in Democratic New York by defying his party's rigid doctrine on social issues.”

First of all, he merely echoes Democratic clichés when he writes of Mr. Giuliani defying “his party’s rigid doctrine on social issues”. While so-called social conservatives are more likely to find a home in the GOP, such values aren’t on the entrance exam. Of course, Mr. Broder doesn’t also make such references but are there any more rigid party doctrines than the Democrats’ on abortions, unions and now Iraq? Besides, adopting Democratic Party positions in a Democratic stronghold is hardly the basis for a feel-good movie on Political Independence.

“I also would guess that Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would be such a candidate. Like Giuliani, he has governed in Democratic territory, and he managed with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature to pass a major step toward universal health care coverage.”

Again, getting an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature to move toward universal health care coverage isn’t exactly climbing the Mt. Everest of political feats.

“On the Democratic side, Sen. Hillary Clinton would, if she runs, provide a crucial test case for the independence movement.”

C’mon David – if you’re not going to take the game seriously. This woman is a veritable Lance Armstrong with the speed with which she backpedals on issues (notably Iraq) when she occasionally strays from the plantation (yes - that was intentional).

He later gushes over the possibilities of the future:

“And looking beyond 2008, think about a future contest involving Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina…What a boon for the country.”

…yeah, if sanctimony is what you’re looking for in a president.

Mr. Broder began his piece by mentioning Senators Lieberman’s and Chafee’s “tough reelection battles” as part of the independence he sees breaking out all over the political spectrum. He thinks voters will respond to this.

But they didn’t in Connecticut, did they. Democratic voters there overwhelmingly shot down Mr. Lieberman’s nomination bid expressly because he came across as too independent on a single issue. And Mr. Chafee’s message is expressly catered to RI voters – he is near-pariah in many Republican circles; being seen by Rhode Islanders as a visible impediment to President Bush’s agenda shouldn’t qualify someone for the political equivalent of the Silver Star.

This independence that Mr. Broder has been celebrating this week is the cause of some grinding of teeth from this side of the aisle because many of us see such acts as mere grandstanding for the press. Still, the GOP, as a whole, tolerates it because the alternative is so much worse.

But the Democrats are a coalition party – with each member holding firm to its matter of interest. And coalitions don’t respond well to independence so I’d refrain from buying the fireworks just yet (besides, thanks to nanny-staters all over, there is a good chance they’re illegal where you live).


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