Broder: Wrong Again
by Todd Beeton, Mon Jun 25, 2007 at 02:12:41 AM EDT
David Broder is a champion of the so-called middle way, this imagined bi-partisan nirvana where everyone just gets along and the people's will is done. To Broder, of all the potential presidential candidates, Michael Bloomberg represents the best promise for the fulfillment of this governing philosophy.
As Broder said on Sunday's Meet The Press:
There is such a distaste out there among the people for both these parties, and what the Democratic Congress is doing to destroy the reputation of any Democrat who comes out of Congress, as all of the major candidates do, and what George Bush has done to destroy the credibility of any Republican running as his successor leaves it wide open, if not for Bloomberg, then for somebody else to come down the middle.
Yep, that's right, the Democrats in Congress have done just as much to increase political incivility in 6 months as Bush and his Republican congress did in 6 years. It's a good thing Bloomberg is here, he has just the solution. As he said as he announced his departure from the GOP last week:
We do not have to accept the tired debate between the left and the right, between Democrats and Republicans, between Congress and the White House.
Nope, sure don't, who are these Democrats and Republicans anyway? Broder expands on this theme in his WaPo column:
...there is a palpable hunger among the public for someone who will attack the problems facing the country -- the war in Iraq, immigration, energy, health care -- and not worry about the politics.
Wow, it's become all so clear to me now. "Not worry about the politics," just like Bloomberg when he switched to the GOP just to run for mayor and Schwarzenegger when he tacked left to survive his re-election last year! Nope, no politics there.
To be fair, I can see why Broder would like Bloomberg and Schwarzenegger. Their popularity has come about by actually representing the voters who elected them (i.e. Schwarzenegger's advocacy for stem cell research and capping carbon emissions and Bloomberg's support of gun control and his plan to transition all taxis to a hybrid fleet by 2012) and yes this was achieved, technically, through bi-partisan consensus. But one glance at the issues that Broder correctly identifies as most important to voters -- Iraq, immigration, energy, health care -- and it's clear that only one party is addressing them in any meaningful way. Not only that, it is the Democratic Party that increasingly represents the majority opinion, whether it be withdrawal from Iraq, a path to citizenship, a reduction in our dependence on foreign oil and and increase in investment in renewable energies or expanding affordability and access to healthcare. Yet Broder refuses to acknowledge this. Nope, the Democrats are the problem. Again from Meet The Press:
The Democrats have taken the position that they now will do the nation's business and if they're not doing that business, and clearly the immigration issue is very much on people's minds, I think they will suffer the same consequences that the Republicans suffered a year ago. People are fed up with seeing Washington bickering, fighting, in-fighting and never dealing with the issue.
Worse yet, the Democrats seem to believe it.
John Edwards made a passionate statement of what the Democratic Party represents to him at the CDP state convention in April:
I have such a strong belief in what the Demcoratic Party is supposed to represent...If my party can't be the voice for the poor, for the elderly, for the disabled, for the disenfranchised, well, what reason do we exist?
Sure, it's a partisan speech spoken to a partisan audience. I get it, but if you define the party in a strong compelling way to all audiences, not just partisan events, you can get your message out, define who you are even more starkly to voters and even grow the party. That's what Dean did as a candidate in 03 and it's what he continues to do as chairman today. And as I wrote last week, it's something it appears the candidates this year have largely abandoned. I welcome evidence that I'm wrong.
The truth is that the only way the will of the people who elected Democrats into office in November will ultimately be fulfilled is by electing more Democrats, both to the presidency and to a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. Running away from ones own party when its core beliefs represent the majority of Americans is foolish. If Broder had his way politicians would meld into each other and the lines between the parties would be blurred (except that everyone would have to do what the Republicans want.) But isn't that exactly what got us into this mess in the first place? The solution to the disillusionment people feel with the two parties is actually to give voters a clear choice; it's this lack of definition that is causing so many people to register unaffiliated or decline-to-state. If you ask independents their main problem with the two-party system, the most common answer I bet you'll get is that "there's no difference between them." It was a ridiculous assertion in 2000 and 2004 but it's even more nuts now.