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June 25, 2007

"The Politics"

David Broder writes:

More than that, 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.

Wait, what the hell does that mean? How do you tackle the country's problems without worrying about the politics? Does running on a third-party ticket obviate the need for Senate approval? For Congressional majorities? Does Bloomberg's $9 billion somehow trigger a filibuster-exception clause?

People don't worry about "the politics" because they enjoy fretting. They worry about the politics because that's what's keeping them from attacking the problems facing the country. Broder happens to have picked the four policy areas Democrats have the clearest, most expansive plans on, but they can't implement them because they can't get to 60 votes in the Senate, or force Bush's signature. That's why "the politics" matter. Not worrying about such things just makes you useless. Or the Dean of the Washington Post op-ed page. Whichever.

June 25, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Long ago I learned a valuable lesson: if there is something in the media you despise, ignore it. There is nothing more fatal in the business than indifference.

In that spirit, let me ask: Dean of what now? David who?

To be honest -- completely -- if I ran the man down in the street tomorrow, I wouldn't know him from Adam.

And if I was told later whom I'd killed, I'd shrug and ask, "who?"

Posted by: wcw | Jun 25, 2007 1:23:10 AM

Ah, the Man Of The People fallacy, as documented by digby and others.

Never mind that if people stopped giving a shit about politics, Broder would be out of a job.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Jun 25, 2007 1:33:07 AM

Please, Ezra. Broder is Dean of the entire Washington Press Corps. He's the greatest thinker since sliced bread.

Mixed metaphor? I think not.

Posted by: Matt Singer | Jun 25, 2007 1:33:53 AM

Given the context, I assume he's talking about partisan politics.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 25, 2007 1:39:58 AM

Of course there should be no partisan politics involved in crafting an immigration reform policy that pleases the corporate R's and D's (more cheap labor), the xenophobe Rs (kick them all out and build a wall with machine gun turrets), and the pro-latino immigrant D's (path to citizenship, fair working conditions). That's because there is no difference between Tom Tancredo and Hilda Solis.

Uh, sure.

Posted by: Adina Levin | Jun 25, 2007 2:06:46 AM

In re: he whom I have already, as ever, forgotten, videlicet http://www.warandpiece.com/blogdirs/006337.html

A careful reading of the story of Cheney's coup against a feeble executive reveals that paragraphs 7 through 10 were written and inserted in haste by a powerful editorial hand. The banging of colliding metaphors in an otherwise carefully written piece is evidence of last-minute interpolations by a bad editor whom no one has the power to rewrite.

I wonder who that might be?

Or rather, I did. For I have already forgotten such dullards exist.

Posted by: wcw | Jun 25, 2007 2:16:31 AM

Broder may be talking about patisan politics, but the whole sentence is mush regardless. I thought it was interesting that Russert seems t have added Gwen Ifill to a more permanent role on his "reporter's panel" putting her up next to folks like Broder and John Harwood (also prone to those kind of pronouncements). Broder floated a similar line on the show yesterday, and Ifill pretty much cut through it. Candidates are talking about th issues he's mentioning, AND trying to rise above politics, and it's not working. Why? Because the media has been trained to enjoy playing up the partisan bickering, and the audience - i.e., us - can jst as easily be distracted. Moreover Broder - who seems to long for the good old days of the Truman Administration - tends to have this "above it all" stance that somehow ignores that we have partisan politics because, well we disagree about things. If Broder's got some secret way to bring America together around the contentious issues of the day, he's certainly keeping that light under a bushel. I wish we had rainbows and ponies too (as well as wishing the earth was flat), but asserting it will not make it so, despite Broder's "statesman" rep.

Posted by: weboy | Jun 25, 2007 5:32:08 AM

"More than that, 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."

As I said elsewhere, this is so brain-dead. It's really nihilism in the guise of parity.

It's precisely the great issues of the day that involve politics. That's because they require major trade-offs which by definition are political and depend on alternative views of government, industry, etc.

To declare otherwise is not simply stupid but really bad advice since by denying what's really involved, it guarantees that none of the issues will ever be resolved (which may be the intention).

Posted by: leo | Jun 25, 2007 6:57:28 AM

How does the man who's covered politics for umpteen years not understand that political problems, such as the ones he names, are susceptible to political solutions only? Why does he hate politics so much??

Posted by: Marshall | Jun 25, 2007 9:11:06 AM

By Broder's logic, the reason why the Yankees are eleven games out is that they have a baseball player as their manager. Now, if they could get, say, Joseph Levine, to manage, hey-presto -- playoffs!

Posted by: Davis X. Machina | Jun 25, 2007 9:39:01 AM

Dick Cheney doesn't worry about politics. Why should we?

Posted by: AndrewBW | Jun 25, 2007 10:12:37 AM

If Broder's got some secret way to bring America together around the contentious issues of the day, he's certainly keeping that light under a bushel.

I know he may be a little advanced in age to take on the rigors that the job would (or should) require, but given that he apparently knows how to get the people's work done without worrying about the politics, I think maybe instead of debating policy details, maybe we should all get to work on the Draft Broder campaign.

Posted by: Azelie | Jun 25, 2007 12:05:20 PM

Broder may be talking about patisan politics, but the whole sentence is mush regardless.

No, not really. He believes Americans are particularly tired of partisan politics and would welcome someone who had no ties to it. That doesn't entail being beyond politics in the broader sense, only not having a stake in the party-based aspects of it. It's an old-fashioned ideal, of course, going back to the founders of the country.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 25, 2007 1:11:58 PM

"Politics" isn't the same thing as politics - "politics" is a straw man set up by Broderesque pundits who want to show off their apparent sympathy for the common man by showing a distaste for things like "politics," debate, issues, etc.

Posted by: Ned | Jun 25, 2007 1:49:11 PM

Sanpete: "It's an old-fashioned ideal, of course, going back to the founders of the country."

This is a completely inaccurate view of our history. It defies common sense -- and glosses over how democracy really works.

But in the spirit of making sweeping statements as to what Americans are and are not "tired" of, I'd only add that they would sure as hell welcome universal healthcare -- even if, in order to get there, we had to shove it down the throats of the right-wingers.

Platitudes won't get us there.

Posted by: leo | Jun 25, 2007 4:26:26 PM

It's an old-fashioned ideal, of course, going back to the founders of the country.

And the founders realised that their ideal was just that in a very short period of time: they were almost all around for the passage of the Twelfth Amendment.

The answer to current partisanship isn't bullshit bipartisanship: it's for one party to crush the other and then call for bipartisanship on its terms. That's the true historical precedent: it's the one that provided the basis for Locke's political philosophy, and it's the real historical precedent of the founding of the US. You think otherwise? Look at the fate of the Loyalists.

The corollary is that appeals to moderation -- or, more precisely, casting oneself as the embodiment of moderation -- are an inevitable consequence of partisan times. It's an ideological posture, designed to define the opposition as immoderate, and it again has a long history.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Jun 25, 2007 4:41:24 PM

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Posted by: judy | Oct 8, 2007 8:49:53 AM

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