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David Broder is a loser

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Washington Post columnist David Broder used to be "the dean" of Washington journalism. That was before he lost his mind.

To be more precise, Broder hasn't actually gone crazy. He's gone Republican. You know, that shadow world between reason and insanity that George Bush, Dick Cheney, John McCain and Joe Lieberman inhabit. It's a world of hyper-partisanship. A world in which Republicans lie, and lose wars, and Democrats get the blame.

I used to like Broder. Long after the blogosphere gave up on him, I still defended him. I've lived in Washington since 1985. Broder, like Cokie Roberts, has always, for me, been a hard-sell moderate. He was rock solid in the middle of American politics. The Peoria of journalism. If you could sell it to Broder, or Cokie, then you could sell it to middle America.

And while I still like Cokie, Broder has become a bit of a partisan jerk. His columns are now peppered with insults and personal attacks against Democrats and people on the left of politics. Union members, according to a recent Broder column, have no "sympathy" for our soldiers in harm's way. That they hate the troops will likely come as a surprise to blue collar Americans toiling away in factories and companies and sweatshops across America. I would imagine you couldn't find a more patriotic crew than a guy in a union bar. But David Broder tells us that union guys hate the troops, so who are we to question?

Much of American journalism has moved jarringly to the right. The Republicans have played the refs for years, and reporters in newsrooms across America are desperate to not be seen as "liberals." So they overplay their hand, over extend their bias, and skew to the right in the hopes that Rush and Michelle won't criticize them for simply doing their job.

But Broder is far worse. He doesn't lean right in an effort to overcompensate. His illness is far more serious, and symptomatic of the Republican party more generally. He's grown bitter, and angry. There has been a marked turn to the nasty among Broder Republicans in the past ten years. Take George Will. I used to love the guy. Made a great read, even if I didn't always agree with him. Now he's just angry. Charles Krauthammer, same thing - the guy was just brilliant. Now he's just mean. Whether they're the cause or the symptom, the rise of FOX News and GOP talk radio have led to a coarsening of Republican culture. Rush Limbaugh isn't the extreme, he's the new Peoria. If it plays on Rush, it'll play in the GOP.

It's no coincidence that the day after a leading Republican Senator calls Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) "un-American" and suggest that he be forcibly removed from office, and the week that another former leader of the Republican party, now under indictment, accuses both Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) of "treason" (implying they should be shot), David Broder is more concerned that Senator Reid once called George Bush "a loser." (Of course, Broder himself called General Wesley Clark a "loser" just two months ago. But just like his flip-flopping, hypocritical president before him, it's okay when he does it.) Sure, Broder's own vice president, Dick Cheney, told a sitting Democratic US Senator, on the Senate floor no less, to "go fuck yourself." Sure, George Bush and Dick Cheney both called a New York Times reporter a "major league asshole." Sure, George Bush routinely flips the middle finger to reporters and has been caught on film at least twice so doing. And sure, just this week, again, George Bush and Dick Cheney said that Democrats don't care about the troops (perhaps they thought all Democrats are union members).

But Harry Reid called George Bush "a loser." And Harry Reid is a bad, bad man.

David Broder, like much of Washington journalism, and much of the country, fell for the Republicans' lies over the past six-plus years. Broder drank the Kool-Aid, kicked Lucy's football, and came running when George Bush cried "wolf." And now, rather than slinking away with a terminal case of professional humiliation, Broder is still fighting the last war. No, not the war in Iraq. George Bush's other war. The war against the truth.

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