Get ready for the biggest blogger attack on David Broder ever:
In light of Broder's latest column that accuses Harry Ried of being
"As Alberto Gonzales is to the Republicans, [Harry Reid] is to the Democrats"
"a continuing embarrassment"
someone who has given an "amateurish performance"
a "springtime exhibition of ineptitude"
someone who gave an "inept discussion of the alternatives in Iraq"
"not a man who misses many opportunities to put his foot in his mouth"
someone who "mistakenly argued that the military effort is lost but a diplomatic-political strategy can still succeed"
Even though Broder mentions earlier statements by Reid on other policies and politicians, it's clear that Broder's ire is triggered by Reid's comments regarding the Iraq War. The Iraq War is something Broder apparently approves of, along with Bush's handling of it.
This essay by Broder will probably be the one that permanently sinks his Dean reputation. Not so much for his irritation about Reid's Iraq War position, but because Broder ranked Reid with the lying, corrupt, and inept Gonzales.
People think of Broder as the 'Dean' of the Washington press corps because of things he did in the 60s and 70s. But the man he is today is much more a product of the long conservative ascendancy of the last three decades -- an ascendancy still very much alive in the town's journalistic and editorial elite. You can hear the animus more and more sharply in [his] columns as his inability to grasp the political moment becomes more and more clear.
... today it’s 2007 and Broder hasn’t just jumped one shark, he’s jumped a long line of sharks.
Evidence? If you can stand it, read his column in today’s Washington Post. Believe it or not, Broder manages to equate the corrupt, incomptent, arrogant, amoral, empty-headed Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, with the fiercely partisan, anti-Iraq-war Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The absurd, idiotic, inane title of the piece, “The Democrats’ Gonzales,” says it all. Why would Broder write such drivel? Apparently, he’s in a snit fit about the fact that Harry Reid said the war in Iraq is "lost."
Gonzales has supported torture and devised justifications for ignoring the Geneva Convention. He was an early proponent of restricting civil liberties under the Patriot Act. He argued that there is no right to Habeas Corpus, and supported the warrantless wiretaps. He has fought to increase secrecy in government, such as by working to prevent the release of the Dick Cheney’s energy task force documents. Most recently Gonzales has been caught changing his stories on the dismissals of the U.S. attorneys, making it very difficult to believe he did not conspire to fire them under the direction of the White House for political reasons. Numerous Republicans, as well as Democrats, have called for the removal of Gonzales.
In the face of all this, Broder argues that Harry Reid is as deserving of Gonzales to be removed.
Sometimes David Broder's columns read like a parody of a David Broder column. This is one of those times. Desperate to write something of the 'pox on both your houses' genre of political commentary--a genre which Broder pioneered and seems utterly incapable of deviating from--he has singled out Harry Reid and decided that Reid is somehow the Democratic equivalent of Alberto Gonzales.
Let's see, Alberto Gonzales is someone who owes his last four jobs (at least) to his personal friendship with George W. Bush. Gonzales is someone who, through his spinelessness and absentee leadership, has allowed the Justice Department to become an extension of the White House political office. This is a guy who had to clear his calendar for three full weeks so that he could practice telling a coherent story about his involvement in relatively recent events--and then bombed at the hearing. This is a guy who, by his own admission, has no idea what's going on in the agency he's supposed to be running. This is a man whose primary contribution to history was giving the President disastrously bad (and morally dubious) legal advice regarding the legality of torture.
So what exactly has Harry Reid done to warrant being equated with Gonzales? Well, according to Broder, Reid said that the war in Iraq is "lost" and he once called President Bush a "loser" and Alan Greenspan a "political hack." Yes, that's pretty much it. And somehow that proves that Reid is totally incompetent, just like Gonzales.
... Broder's base description of Gonzales -- that of a bumbling underling who just can't seem to get his durned story straight, is far more generous of a characterization than a lifelong toady like Gonzales deserves.
How about this: Gonzales is a liar, and a bad one, a painfully inept and obvious one. There is already plenty of circumstantial evidence indicating that the eight U.S. Attorneys were purged for blatant partisan purposes ....
.... we have several visible layers already of fairly clear intent to deceive, to obfuscate, and in Gonzales' case, to continue providing the unwavering one-way loyalty Bush has always expected of his lackeys.
Reid, on the other hand, has discovered a knack for lobbing verbal scuds which have rankled the seersucker suits of the serious thinkerati. He has realized that he is not working for Dean Broder nor Richard Dice Cohen, nor MoDo and her superficial high-school mean-girl bullshit.
First comment on the Washington Post thread for Broder's column:
You have got to be kidding.
And further down (it's a huge thread):
Has Broder been so co-opted by the Bush neo-cons that he is actually using the Gonzales story as a launching point for an attack on the Reid and the Democrats?
It is strange, isnt it. The long march of conservatism having finally, at long last, taken over the Washington Post only to see the country turn so far and all at once away from that now discredited and exhausted philosophy. But here, on display for all, is High Broderism. Like a sycophantic courtier in the age of Louis XVI, debasing himself before the king long after the Bastille has be stormed, Broder continues in his ways long after the country has left him. Once, his false equivalencies, faux outrage over inconsequential matters, and blindness to the corruption surrounding him, got him honors, fame, and invitations to the right parties. The dean they called him. Now, I simply call him out-of-touch.
Heres the problem, Mr. Broder. Your whole worldview is that if reasonable moderates from both parties sit down in a room and talk, all will be well. That world, sir, is DEAD, and has been for many years. The modern Republican Party killed it, to the extent it ever truly existed. Apparently, someone forgot to tell you, because you keep trying, over and over and over and over again, to create equivalence between the sins of one side and the supposed sins of the other. The problem, sir, is that one side has been in power for six years and the other has not. Republicans created the current disaster. You and other DC cocktail party pundits put all your eggs in the Iraq Study Group basket. That reference at the end of your column is the tipoff to the fundamental flaw in your analysis. After all, if sensible statesmen like Lee Hamilton and James Baker cant save us, then we are well and truly lost, according to you. Memo to David Broder: nobody gives a damn about the ISG. When Bush ignored it and decided on the surge, it became a dead letter, except to sensible pundits like yourself clinging to your 1970s notions of bipartisanship. Hello -- nobody cares. Theyve moved on. Only in your fantasy world is Harry Reid some sort of bull in a china shop, ruining things for the next commission that, this time, will well and truly save us. The fundamental problem that your worldview has, apart from the fact that your world doesnt exist anymore, is that it enables true radicals like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and their neocon friends to pretend to a moderation that doesnt exist. Republicans learned long ago that for pundits like David Broder, halfway between two positions regardless of how extreme one of the positions may be is the sensible middle. So Republicans keep pushing the goalposts further and further and further to the right, all while you keep blathering about a pox on both their houses. Only one house is blighted, Mr. Broder, and it is NOT the one inhabited by Harry Reid.