Sunday, August 05, 2007

The "Dean" Of D.C. Journalists

Today David Broder is in full throated bipartisan mode and the emptiness of his ideas are clearly on display for anybody to read. The man is simply not that bright. Here are some samples. Broder starts to talk about how the SCHIP program is wonderful, but Bush is trying to block it.

It is up for renewal this year and suddenly has become a bone of contention. President Bush underfunded it in his budget; the $4.8 billion extra he proposed spending in the next five years would not finance insurance even for all those who are currently being served.

But when the Senate Finance Committee proposed boosting the funding to $35 billion -- financed by a hefty hike in tobacco taxes -- Bush threatened a veto, and he raised the rhetorical stakes by claiming that the measure was a step toward "government health insurance."

Broder's solution to Bush's assholish behavior is "bipartisan compromise" with Bush. Bush is known for being about the compromise after all. The democrats are evil for not working with him.

But that is Washington in this era of polarized politics. As Congress heads out for its August recess, it has accomplished about as much as is usually the case at this stage. It passed an overdue increase in the minimum wage and an overdue but healthy package of ethics reforms. It moved some routine legislation.

But what the public has seen and heard is mainly the ugly sound of partisan warfare. The Senate let a handful of dissident Republicans highjack the immigration bill. Its Democratic leadership marched up the hill and back down on repeated futile efforts to circumscribe American involvement in Iraq, then shamefully pulled back from a final vote when a constructive Republican alternative to the Bush policy was on offer.

The less-than-vital issue of the firing of eight U.S. attorneys has occupied more time and attention than the threat of a terrorist enclave in Pakistan -- or the unchecked growth of long-term debts that could sink Medicare and Social Security.

Constructive Republican alternative? The plan would have done nothing. This is xactly the kind of alternative Broder loves. US Attorneys who were investigating corrupt Republicans and those who refused to create "voter fraud" cases against democrats were fired. It is a big deal.

A journalist I know tells me that Broder really isn't this stupid. I just can't get over the fact that he is a partisan hack trying to use the voice of "moderation" to tell the democrats to continually bow to Bush's agenda.

Let's not forget that Broder was against impeaching Nixon, hated Clinton, and has bent over backwards to defend Bush. Which is fine, if your name is Trent Lott. It's not fine if you are portraying yourself as the ghost of comity past.