Feb
07
2011

The Powerless Superpower: Broder on Egypt

In yesterday's Washington Post (2/6/11), David Broder likened the U.S. position on Egypt to being a fan of the hapless Chicago Cubs: Big things are happening all around you, but you have noway to do anything about it. That is the reality that confronts President Obama today. His hands are tied while Egypt erupts. At first he expressed support and sympathy for the democratic forces filling the streets and appreciation for the Egyptian military holding fire. But when it became clear that Mubarak was on his way out, sooner or later, it dawned on everyone that the Muslim Brotherhood might […]

Dec
13
2010

Obama Pulls a Clinton on the Liberal Base

One of the more annoying corporate media storylines since the midterms dwells on whether or not Barack Obama will move to the "center" in order to have better luck in the 2012 elections. The conventional wisdom is that Bill Clinton did this after terrible losses in the 1994 midterms, and his "triangulation" proved once and for all that successful Democrats move to the right. There are several reasons this is nonsense–Clinton was more or less the original DLC "New Democrat," so he was consciously and conspicuously to the right of the party base all along. The press wanted to nudge […]

Dec
09
2010

Obama's Tax Plan Giveaway Wins Crucial David Broder Support

The Dean is happy. Washington Post columnist and "dean" of the Beltwaypress corps David Broder was one of the few people (not counting Republicans) who stood up to applaud Barack Obama's tax deal. Under the I-am-not-making-this-up headline "Centrist on the Rise," Broder (12/9/10) congratulated Obama, who has"separated himself from the left of his own party and staked a strong claim to the territory where national elections are fought and won: the independent center." Obama has"begun to regain focus as the pragmatic liberal that he is–not the hard-line socialist Republicans make him out to be but a president far more practical […]

Nov
18
2010

David Broder and Disquieting, Dodgy Dems

Beware: The dean of the D.C. press corps is disappointed. In his Washington Post column today ("Dodgeball for Democrats," 11/18/10), David Broder leads off with this: When the rules of the House of Representatives forced the Democrats to confront a painful choice among their leaders, they did what Democrats are often inclined to do. They changed the rules. Usually, such a stunt would matter only to the members affected by the change. But this one sends a dangerous signal at a crucial moment, when both parties are being tested on their willingness to respond to the lessons of the last […]

Nov
01
2010

David Broder's Economic Rx: War With Iran

Washington Post columnist David Broder sees one way for Barack Obama to demonstrate leadership after the midterms–push for war with Iran. Lest one be accused of misrepresenting his argument, this is what he wrote in his October 31 column, which starts out talking about the how a president can influence the economy: What else might affect the economy? The answer is obvious, but its implications are frightening. War and peace influence the economy. Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II. Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong […]

Oct
25
2010

Election Coverage Meme: Obama Needs an 'Enemy'

One strand ofconventional wisdom among elite D.C. reporters is that losing the midterm elections would be a good thing for the White House. Hence New York Times reporterPeter Baker (10/24/10): WASHINGTON â┚¬” Let there be no mistake: President Obama wants the Democrats to win next week's midterm elections. His voice has gone hoarse telling every audience that from Delaware to Oregon. But let's also acknowledge this: Although he will not say so, there is at least a plausible argument that he might be better off if they lose. The reality of presidential politics is that it helps to have an […]

Oct
14
2010

David Broder Pines for the Day When More Pols Were Like Traficant

David Broder–or an automated David Broderesque column-generator–bemoaned once again (Washington Post, 10/14/10) that "As the Gulf Between GOP and Democrats Widens, the Center Is Lost." To illustrate this dire situation, Broder (or the Broderbot) cited congressional voting patterns: Bill Galston, the Brookings Institution's resident political philosopher, was the first of the day to point out that, statistically speaking, the center had already disappeared. He was referring to the congressional voting studies, which I have previously cited, showing that, apparently for the first time, there is no overlap between the most liberal Republican in the House and the most conservative Democrat […]

Aug
26
2010

Help Us, John McCain–You're David Broder's Only Hope!

Some in the media just can't let go of John McCain. David Broder's column today is really headlined, "John McCain, Your Country Is Calling." He explains that he wasn't "bothered by the doctrinal compromises the senator made to convince Arizona voters that he was, in fact, a conservative. McCain has always been a realist, doing what was necessary to survive a North Vietnamese prison camp or a tough political trap." So a senator willing to do whatever it takes to get elected is apparently a badly needed voice of conscience in Washington. OK. McCain's role, according to Broder, should be […]

Jun
30
2010

Pete Peterson's Real Crisis: America Speaks and Says the Wrong Thing

Billionaire Pete Peterson has spent a lot of money trying to convince people that Social Security is a serious threat to the country's finances. And it's a message that the corporate media love to echo. So when Peterson's group decided to hold "town hall" meetings to promote fiscal austerity by cutting Social Security and Medicare, one would haveguessed that the media wouldgive it some attention. But a funny thing happened this weekend at these "America Speaks" events. Members of the public, after being given what Roger Hickey calls "misleading background information about the federal deficit and economic options to achieve […]

Nov
23
2009

David Broder's (Selective) Deficit Worries

Washington Post columnist David Broder rounds up some "non-partisan" budget experts– one of whom, oddly enough, was John McCain's Social Security adviser during his 2000 campaign — to agree with him that the Democrats' healthcare bills are too expensive. He closes with this: The challenge to Congress — and to Obama — remains the same: Make the promised savings real, and don't pass along unfunded programs to our children and grandchildren. This advice would be easier to take from someone who didn't just write that Obama should escalate the Afghanistan war because of the"urgent necessity is to make a decision […]

Nov
16
2009

Media to Obama: Less Talk, More War

From ABC World News, 11/11/09: CHARLIE GIBSON: We understand he's raising new questions about a number of plans that are in front of him. What new questions are there to be asked after all this time? MARTHA RADDATZ: Well, you would think he'd be through with the questions, Charlie. Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times (11/15/09): Barack Obama is in danger of giving deliberation a bad name. David Broder, Washington Post (11/16/09– headline: "Enough Afghan Debate") It is evident from the length of this deliberative process and from the flood of leaks that have emerged from Kabul and Washington that the […]

Jun
12
2009

Broder Column-Generator Strikes Again

Washington Post columnist David Broder has made a career out of advocating a certain type of corporate centrism–earning him the honorary (?) title of the Dean of the D.C. Press Corps. The formula is pretty simple: Argue that Democratic politicians should move to the right. So with healthcare reform a major issue, Broder's formula is easy: Barack Obama should reject his party's support for a "public option" government plan that would compete against private insurance companies. Why should Obama do this? Well, according to Broder, the appealing thing is that some lawmakers–mostly Republicans, though he mentions Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden […]

May
08
2009

Press Corp 'Dean' Preaches 'Purposeful Ignorance'

Quoting John Dewey's warning about "the proper role of the press in a democracy"–"a class of experts is inevitably so removed from common interests as to become a class with private interests and private knowledge"–Eric Alterman finds it (Nation, 5/6/09) "difficult to imagine a more telling–and disturbing–manifestation of Dewey's prediction than the current torture debate in Washington": Even after the disgraceful performance of so many armchair warriors during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, who would have dared predict the willingness, nay, eagerness, of respected journalists and pundits to argue in favor of purposeful ignorance? Sadly, many of them […]