Thursday, July 05, 2007

 

Power to the Pundit

Elsewhere on today’s Op-Ed pages, David Broder is once again upset that the People are being listened to:

“A particularly virulent strain of populism has made official Washington altogether too responsive to public opinion.” David S. Broder - A Mob-Rule Moment

Then, while implicitly placing himself among the ranks of Aristotle and Edmund Burke, he laments Congress actually paying heed to the perceived popular will. He is particularly regretful over Congressional inactions on immigration and trade policy.

This not a new meme for Mr. Broder; his 2000 book “Democracy Derailed” hit on a similar theme. I suppose, in the good old days, Congress would instead read columnists like David Broder to delineate their correct course of action and the People probably weren't as informed or as inflamed. Instead:

“In today's Washington, a badly weakened president and a dangerously compliant congressional leadership are no match for the power of public opinion -- magnified and sometimes exaggerated by modern communications and interest group pressure.”

["dangerously compliant congressional leadership"????]

He’s not always so disdainful of public opinion:

The gap between public opinion and Washington reality has rarely been wider than on the issue of the Iraq war. A clear national mandate is being blocked -- for now -- by constraints that make sense only in the short-term calculus of politics in this capital city.” A War The Public Will End

And before that:

“The latter verdict -- backed by public opinion polls -- carries more weight. So the Democrats are fully justified in their effort to limit the use of war funds by imposing deadlines or target dates for the withdrawal of American combat forces.” Time for A Bargain On the War

Now, can you guess which of these columns he ended the following with:

“You can win elections by promising people what they want. But you win your place in history by doing what the country needs done.”

(Hint, he wanted the immigration and fast-track trade negotiation bills to pass; he is not a current big supporter of our involvement in Iraq)


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