Perplexing Political Punditry: 'Palin's Perfect-Pitch Populism'

David Broder, the dean of the Washington punditry establishment, has penned quite the column in the Washington Post:

Her lengthy Saturday night keynote address to the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville and her debut on the Sunday morning talk show circuit with Fox News' Chris Wallace showed off a public figure at the top of her game -- a politician who knows who she is and how to sell herself, even with notes on her palm.

Top of her game? Really the top of her game was back in the summer of 2008 at the GOP convention. Since then it has been one more embarrassing debacle after another. She's got her fan base to be sure and it's not an insignificant number but most sentient beings see Palin as an on-going political train wreck. There's an entertainment value in Palin-watching for certain but it's more a morbid curiosity than any deep yearning for her pearls of political insight.

Broder continues on:

Blessed with an enthusiastic audience of conservative activists, Palin used the Tea Party gathering and coverage on the cable networks to display the full repertoire she possesses, touching on national security, economics, fiscal and social policy, and every other area where she could draw a contrast with Barack Obama and point up what Republicans see as vulnerabilities in Washington.

Touch is the right word because any details were sorely lacking. One really has to wonder about David Broder's senility at this point. Full repertoire? Of what? Of meaningless stock phrases such as "commonsense conservatism"? Her national security policy was "we win, they lose." Her economic prescription was more of the same policies that got us in our present predicament.

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Harry Reid Mocks David Broder

Harry Reid is not a fan of WaPo columnist David Broder.

Reid couldn't have been less impressed. "To focus on a man who has been retired for many years and writes a column once in a while is not where we should be."

No doubt the most hilarious moment of the day.

Nice. More at TPM.

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David Broder Gets One Right

In his Sunday column in the Washington Post, the Dean of the Washington Presscorps, David Broder, actually got something right. After calling the soon to be sworn in Al Franken, a "loud-mouthed former comedian," and waxing on about the merits of bi-partisanship to no one's surprise, Mr. Broder ended his column with a few words on the forgotten for now but still embattled Governor of South Carolina.

The saga of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and his Argentine romance has been such ripe fodder for the gossip mills that the essential governmental question has almost been forgotten.

Whether Sanford can resolve the mess he has made of his personal life is of little concern to anyone but the people involved.

But when he disappeared for five days, telling no one in his administration or even his security detail where he had gone, he did something totally irresponsible. Had any kind of emergency occurred, South Carolina would have been leaderless.

At the moment Sanford abandoned his duties in secret pursuit of private pleasure, he in effect tendered his resignation.

The Legislature should insist he follow through on it.

Yup. Mark Sanford breached his duties. If he won't resign, he should be impeached.

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David Broder Consigns His Column to the McCain Campaign

Um, I'm pretty sure this wasn't how it played out:

The first question I asked John McCain and then Barack Obama was: How do you feel about the tone and direction of the campaign so far?

No surprise. Both men pronounced themselves thoroughly frustrated by the personal bitterness and negativism they have seen in the two months since they learned they would be running against each other.

"I'm very sorry about it," McCain said in a Saturday interview at his Arlington headquarters. "I think we could have avoided at least some of this if we had agreed to do the town hall meetings" together, as he had suggested, during the summer months.

[...]

Since the idea of joint town meetings was scrapped, the campaign has featured tough and often negative ads and speeches. They culminated last week in an exchange in which Obama said that McCain and his supporters were calling attention to the Democrat's unusual name and the fact that "he doesn't look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills."

Wow. According to Broder, the reason why the campaign turned negative in the last week or two was because Barack Obama decided not to disarm his campaign and agree to give John McCain a whole lot of free media through a series of "townhall" meetings. Interesting. But totally wrong.

The reason why the campaign has turned negative is simple -- it's because the McCain campaign decided to go negative. Obama didn't force McCain's hand. The lack of endless debates that political elites, but not regular voters, watch did not create the negativity. McCain simply realized that he could not win on the issues, that in a vacuum he had no shot at victory, and that instead he had to run shady ads that are effectively nonsensical but nevertheless seem to be hits on his opponent.

The point of noting this is not that the person who goes negative first loses -- because I certainly do not believe this to be true -- or merely to lay blame (though to suggest that no one is to blame, or both candidates are equally culpable, is rubbish). But do note, however, that despite McCain having descended into the muck in recent days, Obama nevertheless has led by 5 or 6 points -- or more -- in almost every reputable non-tracking poll recently, and that Obama continues to hold an electoral college edge. The tenor inside the Beltway may have changed, and Broder may be convinced, but it's not clear to me that the voters are buying it.

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Memo to Broder re: Journalism and Ethical Reporting

Dear David Broder,

You sir, are a role model.  You are widely known and well-regarded as both "the dean of political journalists" and as a Pulitzer-prize winning author.  I'm sure you agree this status compels you to follow the highest ethical standards of your profession.  

As a member of The Society of Professional Journalists, you also know you are obligated to follow their Code of Ethics.  It is with dismay I note you apparently violated many of these important ethical principles in your recent column, A Way Back to the High Road? 

After reviewing the attached list of particulars, I hope you will promptly correct these mistakes, thereby avoiding permanent damage to your reputation and credibility.

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