David Broder Praised and Slammed on Politico.Com

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By: E&P Staff

Columnist David Broder was defended in a Politico.com piece, and then criticized by many people in comments posted under the piece.

Writing the commentary was Andrew Glass, a Politico.com senior editor who formerly worked with Broder at The Washington Post and is now also a fellow faculty member with Broder at the University of Maryland?s Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

Glass, who described himself as “a Broder fan,” wrote: “Some critics equate Broderism with the plaintive cry of Rodney King, the man whose vicious beating by members of the Los Angeles Police Department was caught on video. King asked, ‘Why can’t we all just get along?’ In today’s partisan climate, these critics respond, this is not really possible — and even if it were, it is probably not desirable.

“Still others accuse Broderites of defending at all costs what these critics perceive to be Washington’s permanent ruling class. Broderism allegedly covers up for the establishment, whatever its failings, lest the voters, as one … blogger recently put it, ‘lose faith in and deference for their betters.'”

But Glass praised the columnist, saying that “unlike much of the political blogosphere, Broder looks askance at ideological crusades and partisan rants.”

He also approvingly quoted Broder as having said: “I think the country is closely balanced, with a controlling group in the center that rejects extreme positions and seeks practical solutions drawn from the agendas of both liberals and conservatives. Most Americans I meet are not ideologues of any sort. They are practical people seeking practical solutions to real challenges.”

And Glass wrote: “Actually, Broder appears quite able to push the envelope — albeit in a civilized way. Thus, in a recent column, Broder, after interviewing Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), suggested that the country would be better off in 2008 with a presidential third-party victory by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with Hagel as his running mate.

“While a Bloomberg-Hagel combo would plop squarely in the middle of the road, it would still fall outside the two-party big tent, where, to the extreme distaste of Broder?s critics, all politics supposedly must take place. Could this mean that the high priest of Broderism has turned his back on his followers?”

Most of the people posting below Glass’ piece had a much different view. They said a Bloomberg-Hagel ticket would be conservative rather than centrist on many issues and added things like:

— “Broder is not neutral. He is a shill for the Establishment which is dominated by the GOP. His idea of a good compromise is Dems caving to GOP demands. This is a man who demanded that Bill Clinton resign for lying about his sex life and yet he has gone out of his way to defend a president who’s lied the country into a ruinous war leading to the deaths of tens of thousands.”

— “This is a man who wrote a fawning column praising Bush’s selection of Cheney as VP even though Cheney’s record as an extremist was well established at the time. This is a man who wrote a column demanding that reporters apologize to ‘poor Karl Rove’ for correctly accusing him of outing a CIA agent.”

— “I’ve noticed that Broder has become, well, cranky the last couple of years (a la Andy Rooney) — and certainly in his reputed attempts at ‘moderation’ has attempted to defend the indefensible in several columns about Bush and Iraq. A moderate? Maybe at one time, even for most of his career. No longer.”

Broder’s column is syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group.

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