That's DEAN Nelson Muntz To You!

Cross-posted from My Left Wing

Here's a Washington political riddle where you fill in the blanks: As Alberto Gonzales is to the Republicans, Blank Blank is to the Washington press corps -- a continuing embarrassment thanks to his amateurish performance.

If you answered "David Broder" give yourself an "A."

Broder, you see, started his latest column off as follows:

Here's a Washington political riddle where you fill in the blanks: As Alberto Gonzales is to the Republicans, Blank Blank is to the Democrats -- a continuing embarrassment thanks to his amateurish performance.

If you answered " Harry Reid," give yourself an A. And join the long list of senators of both parties who are ready for these two springtime exhibitions of ineptitude to end.

Gonzales, of course, utterly failed to provide the Administration cover on the mushrooming US Attorneys scandal, which is actually just one facet of the much larger corruption of government scandal, Department of Justice subdivision, which has more impeachable offenses wrapped up in it than Carter's got little liver pills.

And Harry Reid?  Harry Reid's offense is to say "that the war in Iraq 'is lost.'"

In fact, to give the full context (from AP):

Reid said he told President Bush on Wednesday he thought the war could not be won through military force, although he said the U.S. could still pursue political, economic and diplomatic means to bring peace to Iraq.

"I believe myself that the secretary of state, secretary of defense and - you have to make your own decisions as to what the president knows - (know) this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday," said Reid, D-Nev.

But even the Broder-abbreviated version is, of course, not only (a) true, and (b) what the Iraq Study Group tried in vain to make Bush realize, but (c) something the American people seem to have figured out all by themselves (certainly without any help from David Broder):

* A new NBC/WSJ poll finds that Americans are siding with Congress against the White House on Iraq. Some "55 percent believe that victory in Iraq isn't possible" - suggesting that majorities agree with Harry Reid that the war is "lost." What's more, the poll finds that "56 percent say they agree more with the Democrats in Congress who want to set a deadline for troop withdrawal."
Broder's column, however, launches into how Schumer tried to "clarify" Reid's statement in the same sort of smarmy way that endeared him to us so much during the last election cycle, and then tries to pile up examples of Reid making embarrassing statements.  (Those of you who can remember Newt Gingrich's reign as Speaker of the House, go wait out in the hallway.  Broder's column is not for you.)  For example:
Reid is assuredly not a man who misses many opportunities to put his foot in his mouth. In 2005, he attacked Alan Greenspan, then chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, as "one of the biggest political hacks we have here in Washington."
(That was embarrassing.  Newt was Speaker then.  How could Reid have ignored him in favor of Greenspan?  Tut! Tut!
He called President Bush " a loser," then apologized.
That was a blunder.  Everyone knows Bush is a loser.  What's to apologize for???

But then Broder tries to get weighty.  And when he does--watch out!  All bets are off:

Most of these earlier gaffes were personal, bespeaking a kind of displaced aggressiveness on the part of the onetime amateur boxer.
As opposed to the displaced aggressiveness on the part of a whole party of chickenhawks, right?
But Reid's verbal wanderings on the war in Iraq are consequential -- not just for his party and the Senate but for the more important question of what happens to U.S. policy in that violent country and to the men and women whose lives are at stake.
Ummm. David, don't look now, but shouldn't you have worried about this a bit earlier, like when the Bush Administration lied us into the war with Iraq in the first place, violating ever tenet of the Powell Doctrine along the way???  The Brits have a phrase for what Reid's done in comparison: small beer. Microscopic's more like it.

Given the way the Constitution divides warmaking power between the president, as commander in chief, and Congress, as sole source of funds to support the armed services, it is essential that at some point Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi be able to negotiate with the White House to determine the course America will follow until a new president takes office.
Again, the one who thinks that "negotiate" is a four letter word here is Bush, not Reid.

Instead of reinforcing the important proposition -- defined by the Iraq Study Group-- that a military strategy for Iraq is necessary but not sufficient to solve the myriad political problems of that country, Reid has mistakenly argued that the military effort is lost but a diplomatic-political strategy can still succeed.
I know war is peace and up is down, but this is ridiculous!  What part of "withdraw from Iraq" don't you understand, you witless idiot???  That's what the ISG said to do.  That's what Reid is saying.  And that's precisely the opposite of what Bush intends to do, and you're playing semantic games to make it seem like Reid's the odd man out here???

Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh said:

So, Gonzales, almost universally judged a liar and an incompetent who has dragged the administration into one of its most politically perilous scandals yet.

Reid, frequently makes off-the-cuff remarks that are anathema to Broderite Beltway insiders.

Sounds about even, I guess. But I think I'll take Reid.

But that's typical Josh Marshall uderstatement. Besides, the real comparison isn't Reid to Gonzales.  It's Broder to Gonzales:
The Democrats deserve better, and the country needs more, than Harry Reid has offered as Senate majority leader.
He's calling on Harry Reid to step down, because he dared to call a spade a spade!

Sorry, no. It's well past time for Broder to go. He is nothing but a rightwing shill. 

Think I'm exaggerating?  From a collection of outrageous Broderisms collected over at Harpers by  Scott Horton ("Broder Bumbles Again"), try this one on for size:

Let me disclose my own bias in this matter. I like Karl Rove. In the days when he was operating from Austin, we had many long and rewarding conversations. I have eaten quail at his table and admired the splendid Hill Country landscape from the porch of the historic cabin Karl and his wife Darby found miles away and had carted to its present site on their land. (May 18, 2003)
So there you have it, folk.  The man paraded about as the "Dean" of the Washington press corps, revealed in all his splendor--four frikken years ago, no less!--as not really the dean at all, but actually the second string bully to the real toughs in town.

In other words: Nelson Muntz.

Ha! Ha!

Tags: David Broder, Media, Washington press corps (all tags)


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