David Broder is Not Smarter Than a 5th Grader

by Brien Jackson

If I tried to write about every dumb thing David Broder said, I probably wouldn’t have time to write about anything else. Still, his effort today, another shocking paen to the unending virtue of “bipartisanship,” is particularly onerous, and deserves a few words. Yglesias, Booman, and Krugman have already done a good number on it, so read what them to gauge most of my feelings on this abject nonsense (I especially liked Yglesias’s notation that Broder really has no business being a political journalist in the first place).

I’ll just add that what really jumps out at you the longer Broder tries to keep this schtick going is how embarrassingly thin the premise is. I think it was Yglesias who, a while back, noted that the dynamics of an expanding caucus altered the dynamics of bi-partisanship (you’re getting more votes and the opposition is getting more ideologically extreme), but that this sort of arguing from Broder & Co. never seems to reflect that. You get the same nonsense whether there’s a 54 seat majority with half a dozen moderates in the minority or whether there’s 60 members in the majority and only two moderates in the minority, even though the reality is very, very different. It’s also odd just how little logic is involved in this excercise. Presumably, Broder is a fetishist for bipartisanship because he equates “bipartisan” with “consensus.” But, ultimately, an increasing majority caucus is in and of itself an example of some emerging consensus. After all, when you consider not just that there are 60 Democrats in Congress, but that they represent every region in the state, as well as the fact that the Democratic nominee for President just won 365 electoral votes, including Indiana and North Carolina, that seems like pretty conclusive evidence that there’s broad approval for the Democratic agenda, especially considering how poorly Republicans continue to poll. So there’s really no reason for anyone who’s paying attention to think that a bill garnering 56 Democratic votes and 4 Republican votes must necessarily be better than one getting 60 Democratic votes and nothing else.

But then, given Broder’s own statements, you have to wonder just how much attention he’s paying.