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A question for David Broder: Who's to blame?

I'd be genuinely curious to know how David Broder would answer the following question: How much are Republicans to blame for the current dysfunction in the Senate?

Broder has a column today entitled: "The Senate, running on empty." He says the real problem is "the absence of leaders who embody and can inculcate the institutional pride that once was the hallmark of membership in the Senate." And:

Its best leaders have been men who were capable, at least on occasion, of rising above partisanship or parochial interest and summoning the will to tackle overriding challenges in a way that almost shamed their colleagues out of their small-mindedness.

Many forces -- from the money chase, to the party realignments, to the intrusiveness of 24-hour media -- have weakened the institutional bonds of that Senate. But it is the absence of the ethic embodied and enforced by its leaders that is most crippling.

Jon Chait dismisses this diagnosis, arguing convincingly that the problems are institutional and historical. But for the sake of argument, let's assume leadership is the problem. Shouldn't we say which leaders are to blame?

The words "Mitch McConnell" don't appear in Broder's article. The words "Harry Reid," however, do appear in passing, when Broder writes that Reid "threw in the towel on energy legislation." Broder points to this as another sign of Senate dysfunction. But he doesn't say anything about the lockstep GOP opposition to energy legislation that was partly responsible for forcing Reid to throw in the towel.

Yes, Republicans said Dems were to blame for GOP opposition to energy reform because Dems didn't do this, that or the other thing. Maybe Broder agrees with this. Maybe he thinks Republican opposition was indefensible. The point is, he doesn't say.

Look: There's evidence Republicans pursued a pre-conceived strategy designed to deny Obama bipartisan cooperation solely to prevent Dems from winning major victories, and to grind the Senate to a halt to make Dems look like ineffective leaders. Never mind the fact that filibustering is at historic highs. McConnell himself all but copped to this strategy, telling Adam Nagourney that it was "critical" for Republicans to remain unified against health care reform because if it were bipartisan, the public might be more inclined to support it.

More recently, McConnell said he'd be willing to compromise during the next cycle, but only if Obama decides to change course and pursue a "center right" agenda. That doesn't sound like a real compromise offer. Does it?

This is the sort of thing that should outrage Broder, given his nostalgia for a more collegial time. If Broder has railed about this in the past, he certainly doesn't do so with any regularity.

Maybe Broder doesn't think Republicans are mainly to blame for the current state of affairs. Maybe it's all Dems' fault. Fine: If that's the case, let's hear it, and let's hear why. The point is that the Senate's dysfunction is an enormous problem that could conveivably have an impact on the fate of our planet. It's fair to expect a columnist with the institutional knowledge Broder possesses, and the respect he enjoys, to take a real stand on who's really to blame for what's happening.

By Greg Sargent  |  August 5, 2010; 4:11 PM ET
Categories:  Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Next: Happy Hour Roundup


Good questions Greg, but I find Broder really too exasperating to deal with anymore. Teh only real response to old people who don't have a clue about what's happening around them is to find a nice, pastoral setting for them to spend time in. One where they can't hurt anyone or have their opinions solicited.

I bet Broder sings the theme song to "All in the Family" with brio.

"...and you know where you were then, girls were girls and men were men, mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again..."

Posted by: BGinCHI | August 5, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

"More recently, McConnell said he'd be willing to compromise during the next cycle, but only if Obama decides to change course and pursue a "center right" agenda."

So McConnell will compromise as long as Obama does what McConnell wants him to?


The sad thing is I doubt McConnell is telling the truth. I think the GOP would filibuster everything, even if it was a Republican plan Obama put forward.

I don't think actual policy details matter one iota to McConnell and the GOP. They haven't since George H.W. Bush was President.

The Medicare Part D plan was awful legislation that cost too much and wasn't paid for. Yet the GOP ate it up. The GOP wanted to shore up their support amongst the elderly and give money to the pharmaceutical industry. It was terrible policy, but great politics.

The health care bill that passed was closer to what the Republicans put out in 1993 than anything the Dems had tried in the past and the individual mandate was a Republican idea...

Posted by: nisleib | August 5, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

"This is the sort of thing that should outrage Broder..."

It would, if it were a Democrat saying that the next Republican President would only get compromise if they governed from the center-left.

I'm sure he'd be livid - in that case.

As would the rest of our supposedly "liberal" media. They'd all be up in arms, and have Republican after Republican on air to talk endlessly about how terrible it was (to prove how not-liberal they were).

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 5, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for making this point. I see over and over again that Republican obstruction is somehow the Democrats' fault.

The reality is there's a filibuster. It takes 60 votes to break it, no matter WHO runs the Senate. There are holds, secret holds, and tens of thousands of parliamentary measures that make it impossible for the Senate to function if people choose to tie it up.

And the Republican leadership has chosen to do so. It is a clear strategy. They have been talking about "Waterloo" since 6 months after Obama took office. They are abusing the filibuster and other procedural mechanisms in an absolutely unprecedented way. There's tons of reports about the threats they are making against members who work with the Democrats on specific issues.

It's nonsense that we have an army of reporters in Washington DC, watching Congress every damn day, talking to staffers and Senators every damn day, and yet none of them feel like it's their job to enlighten us on this open secret.

Republicans have decided to nuke government so it can't fix the problems people sent it there to fix. And then they will ride the wave of rage back into office.

That's what's happening here. Pure and simple.

Posted by: theorajones1 | August 5, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Sargent points out McConnell said he'd be willing to compromise during the next cycle if Obama decides to change course and pursue a "center right" agenda, and goes on to say "that doesn't sound like a real compromise offer. Does it?"

Actually, Sargent, that is exactly what compromise sounds like. "You move my way, I'll move your way." That's the difference between compromise on the one hand and capitulation or coercion on the other.

The broader question is, I guess, how can we expect compromise from our leaders when we don't recognize it when we see it?

Posted by: jesseflick1 | August 5, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Greg, you made your bed by choosing to go w/ the WaPo. You'll have to learn to lie in it.

Posted by: joeff | August 5, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The current New Yorker has a George Packer article on the Senate and it's so much more comprehensive and smart in comparison with Broder's flawed premise and reasoning.

You can almost hear newspapers collapsing when you read this stuff.

Posted by: BGinCHI | August 5, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

jesseflick, wouldn't it sound like a real compromise offer if he said "center," rather than "center right"?

And Dems are in the majority, remember?

Look, McConnell can do whatever he wants. He's the opposition party; he's supposed to do that. Let's not call it an effort to compromise, though.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 5, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Jesseflick - Here is the full quote, you tell us if you think this sounds like compromise:

"What I hope we are going to have after November is more balance, more balance, which would give us the opportunity to do things together that simply were missing when you have this kind of disparity," McConnell said. "But, I'm not going to be very interested in doing things left of center. It is going to have to be center right."

Posted by: nisleib | August 5, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"There was never a world where Congress was going to pass the stimulus bill and health care reform and financial regulation and cap and trade and immigration reform, all in the teeth of a persistent 9-to-10 percent unemployment rate. The procedures of the Senate have been the mechanism whereby particular pieces of liberal legislation stalled and died, but the real causes of those defeats run much deeper than the filibuster."

Posted by: sbj3 | August 5, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

People who are immature always define compromise as "doing what I want you to do." It's a state of being.

If an 8-year-old does it, that's fine. But people like Broder and the right-wing know-nothings should try to grow up a little.

I guess David gets paid either way.

Posted by: BGinCHI | August 5, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Why should Republicans compromise with Democrats? During W's Presidency, the Democrats did everything to demonize Bush. As an old saying goes "What goes around, comes around!" You ain't see nothing yet...The best is yet to come...I can't wait to see political "waterboarding" of Democrats.

Posted by: davevu | August 5, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

sbj, that explanation is thoroughly bogus. the evidence shows clearly that Repubs have a concerted strategy in place. That's fine, they're the opposition party. let's just call it what it is, though.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 5, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

davevu, thanks for proving my point.

Everything you people say sounds like an elementary school kid.

"But he hit me first...."

Posted by: BGinCHI | August 5, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

davevu - Bush did a pretty good job of demonizing himself.

And go ahead and look at the number of holds, the number of filibusters, the amount of obstruction. Saying the Dems under Bush are as bad as the Reps under Obama is a total false equivalence.

Posted by: nisleib | August 5, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

For those of you with not a lot of time to spare today, here is a brief summary of Greg Sargent's case:


Awww, there there, wittle Gweggie! Dos mean old Wepubwicans make you sooo angwy, don't dey?


Posted by: etpietro | August 5, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "sbj, that explanation is thoroughly bogus."

You are using "bogus" waaaaay too often lately. Obviously I disagree with you.

From the same link:

"Nobody who isn’t immersed in the angst of movement liberalism sees the first two years of the Obama administration as a period of gridlock and inaction.

"... Packer cites job creation as an area of inaction. I suppose he’s referring to the much-discussed “second stimulus” that dwindled into a tiny package of small-business tax measures. But surely the failure of the FIRST stimulus to deliver the promised results is the real culprit here, not the otiose procedures of the U.S. Senate?"

Posted by: sbj3 | August 5, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse


Likley your use of "waterboarding" is either to piss off liberals (...or just, ya know, humans) or you actually believe it.

Classy guy.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | August 5, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

nisleib wrote:

The sad thing is I doubt McConnell is telling the truth. I think the GOP would filibuster everything, even if it was a Republican plan Obama put forward.

THEY HAVE! rememer the bi-partisan debt reduction comission the GOP proposed? Then when Obama went to empanel it, they turned en masse against him in opposition. Or look at Immigration. 80% of what the dems are proposing as a comprehensive solution was exactly what McCain used to be for.

The hypocrisy goes on and on...

Posted by: galada5865 | August 5, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

nisleib wrote:

The sad thing is I doubt McConnell is telling the truth. I think the GOP would filibuster everything, even if it was a Republican plan Obama put forward.

THEY HAVE! rememer the bi-partisan debt reduction comission the GOP proposed? Then when Obama went to empanel it, they turned en masse against him in opposition. Or look at Immigration. 80% of what the dems are proposing as a comprehensive solution was exactly what McCain used to be for.

The hypocrisy goes on and on...

Posted by: galada5865 | August 5, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad to hear that Broder has institutional respect because I don't have any respect for him at all. He's clearly a Republican or Conservative who hides behind his party of useless, ignorant, bitter, old, white men who find this President and his party so offensive they won't work with him and Broder can't bring himself to admit this. No, I don't have any respect for Broder. McConnell is a relic who admits that the GOP needed to remain united in their opposition to the President and his party or risk having a victory for the Dems? What about the American people Mitch? Have you lost your mind along with your lips? This is why I have nothing but contempt for ANYONE who votes Republican. They don't care about people yet seem to find those who are dumb enough to vote for them. Idiots get the government they deserve. A government that's half filled and run by idiots!

Posted by: roxsteady | August 5, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

galada5865 - Exacly right. I'd forgotten about the debt commission.

McConnell is lying. No matter what policies the Obama administration puts forward the GOP will fight against them.

The sooner we come to terms with that truth the sooner we can decide how best to go forward. We shouldn't keep trying to placate the GOP if there is literally no placating them.

Politics is the art of the possible, no? Is it possible to compromise with the GOP? NO.

Posted by: nisleib | August 5, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I used to be one of David Broder's big fans. He's lost me in recent years with his search for a viable and moderate, bi-partisan middle ground which even he must know is a pipe dream given current political realities. I vehemently question his assertion that right and left wing radio/tv talk shows are equally vicious and divisive. This is cynically false and dishonest. It boggles my mind how any respected journalist can possibly equate the racially motivated and hate filled drivel of Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Laura Ingrim etc. with the far more measured and responsible programming from Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Tom Hartmann, Stephanie Miller and several other progressives.

Posted by: bird-1 | August 5, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse


Do you think that Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, Laura Ingraham, ect. are knowingly racist? What I mean is do you think that they know they are racists and are therefore sending out so- called "dog whistles" to their audience? Or are they racist who do not think of themselves as racists but nevertheless are?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | August 5, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

sbj, I actually agree that the larger story of this Senate has been its accomplishments as opposed to its gridlock and failure.

That said, this has happened in spite of historic levels of filibustering.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 5, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

You should also note that the strategy of locking down the senate dovetailed with the strategy of portraying Obama as Other, as unAmerican, and as a renegade socialist, rather than the instinctive centrist he so clearly is.

Posted by: scientist1 | August 5, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

The fact is that in our legislative system of government, the majority has a substantial advantage over the minority. Therefore, it is up to the majority to initiate the process of legislative compromise. It was something the Republicans did when they were in power. Look at how many pieces of substantive legislation were passed during the Bush era that had significant bipartisan support, such as two war resolutions, tax cuts, and education and Medicare reform. In many cases, Republicans had to make compromises, even at the expense of conservative support. In efforts where they failed to compromise, such as with social security reform, they failed to get anything passed.

With such huge majorities in Congress, Democrats felt no need to compromise with Republicans. They had a 70+ majority in the House and a filibuster-proof Senate, but couldn’t get past the obstruction from members of their own party! By excluding the GOP, Democrats made each one of their own Senators individually powerful enough to stall the health care reform bill in order to extract concessions in their favor -- the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, and the elimination of the public option. If the Harry Reid had compromised just a little bit, he could have peeled off a minimum of 3-6 Republicans to vote with the Democrats; enough to squelch resistance from any individual member of his own party, while allowing him to claim bipartisanship. In the House, it was Blue Dogs Democrats on the one hand and anti-war Democrats on the other that gave Speaker Pelosi legislative fits, not John Boehner. Democrats couldn’t compromise with themselves, let alone with the other party.

So, if you’re looking to assign blame on the dysfunction in Congress, you need only look to the party in power.

Posted by: braunt | August 5, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

McConnell is the biggest coward in the history of the Senate no doubt. He's unable to break from pandering to the most extreme right wing radicals that form the base of the Republican party.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | August 5, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse


*Only* at the party in power? Your slip is showing...

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | August 5, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Look at how many pieces of substantive legislation were passed during the Bush era that had significant bipartisan support, such as ... tax cuts

Uh...nice try. Both sets of tax cuts were passed by budget reconciliation. In fact, the second go round (2003), was a 50-50 tie that was broken by Cheney.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 5, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse


"sbj, I actually agree that the larger story of this Senate has been its accomplishments as opposed to its gridlock and failure.

That said, this has happened in spite of historic levels of filibustering."

Interesting statement. The Democrats seem to say they want to campaign on their accomplishments (though I do not see a whole lot of campaigning on Obamacare, witness Missouri Prop C) while relentlessly attacking Republicans for obstructing. At some point, the narratives are in conflict as one cannot tout successes if on touts obstructuion.

That being said, What campaigning on successes I do see are by Barry, Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi. Is that how the Democrats are going to play this out? Congressional Leadership and Barry try to pitch success while the rank and file moan about obstruction? Will it's innate opposition go unnoticed by the electorate? I think at some point, probably having started with the NAACP declaring us TeaBaggers racist, that the rank and file Democrats are switching from the Republicans areobstructionist to Republicans are Racist. With that, there is no conflict with the Leaders pitching success vs. blockage, just success vs racism.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | August 5, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

"Look at how many pieces of substantive legislation were passed during the Bush era that had significant bipartisan support, such as ... tax cuts"

Uh...nice try. Both sets of tax cuts were passed by budget reconciliation. In fact, the second go round (2003), was a 50-50 tie that was broken by Cheney.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 5, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

"The broader question is, I guess, how can we expect compromise from our leaders when we don't recognize it when we see it? Posted by: jesseflick1"

Of course, for Mitch, "Center Right means where half of his minority is on one side and half on the other.

Obama DID try to work from the (lightly) right of center. considering that the Dems have large majorities that would seem a long way for the D's to go to get compromise.

Mitch thinks that what worked for newt in 1994 will work again: Bring Congress to a halt with stupid procedural delays and hope the Country blames the Dems. But the Dems didn't run against the do nothing Gingritch Coalition. THIS Do Nothing Republican Congress won't get that particular bit of tolerance.

Broder wrote what is, for him, the strongest possible condemnation of Republicans. He couldn't, and therefor didn't, convincingly blame the Democrats.

Posted by: ceflynline | August 5, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

All, Happy Hour Roundup posted:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 5, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

@greg: "sbj, ... the larger story of this Senate has been its accomplishments... That said, this has happened in spite of historic levels of filibustering."

I think that puts us back to where we started. If the accomplishments of this congress have been so historic, then I think historic levels of filibuster/obstruction/whatever you want to call it are justified and perhaps even expected or required of the opposition.

That does NOT mean that the Senate is dysfunctional. How can you call the Senate dysfunctional if you feel that they have accomplished so much?

Posted by: sbj3 | August 5, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Sargent is nothing but a Lib mouthpiece. If you were a real journalist, you would have wrote the article you thought Broder should have as opposed to the tit-for-tat crap you did. We know you will never utter a negative word to your Democrat masters, but really, this gets old. Next article - "Bush is to blame", right Sargent?

Posted by: trjn30 | August 5, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans oppose because the only other choice the Dems give them is to rubber-stamp the Democrats agenda items.

Posted by: ronjaboy | August 5, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

If you care about what Mr. Broder thinks, you are in a decided minority.

We readers care much more about WaPo hiring a couple of copyeditors, who no doubt would be far less expensive than Mr. Broder, who has had an outstanding career, probably back when Willie Mays was young and Rocky was champeen.

Posted by: gbooksdc | August 5, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Sargent raises a fine question, and let me provide a partial answer. A couple of years ago, Mr. Broder wrote a column dripping with contempt for Harry Reid, claiming that Democrats hoped to oust him as leader. Within a day, EVERY other member of the Democratic caucus signed a letter to the once-reputable Post contradicting Broder. Shortly thereafter, in an online chat, Broder dismissed them as just saying that. I note that Reid is still leader, will remain leader after his reelection, and has done a magnificent job of steering what legislation he CAN get passed to the president's desk. Meanwhile, weekly, Mr. Broder reveals himself to be the shell of a once-great journalist.

Posted by: greenm1 | August 5, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

We know from McConnell's own words the GOP plan is to block everything and then claim the other guys couldn't get anything done. What you have to ask yourselves is: Is this the right thing to do when facing a depression?

Posted by: bob29 | August 5, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for your comment Majority Leader Reid. Is Greg putting up enough posts promoting your Senate race?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | August 5, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, most current political journalists be they mainstream or bloggers stink. They are fixated on the conflict and could care less about the substance of the argument at the center of the conflict. Never mind that independent research on the issue shows one side being 75% right and the other perhaps 25% right, the issue is portrayed as having equal weight. Broder's problem is that despite the inactivity being mainly Republican obstructionism he claims it is Democrat failure. It is one of those 75/25 issues being portrayed as entirely the Democrats fault. Now, one big reason that Republicans have gained since 2008 election is the single-minded purpose that the faux media on the right practices. Republicans can say whatever they want, the truth be damned and it goes unchallenged by Fox and friends. Death panels anyone? The problem is that when the Dems err on a fact they are hammered by every news outlet and excoriated on Fox. When the Republicans "fudge a fact or two" they get a free ride on Fox and relatively gentle treatment from MSM. stink. You guys couldn't report a fact if your lives depended on it because digging for facts is harder then reporting the fight.

Posted by: army164 | August 5, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Broder has always been a Republican. It's just that in previous incarnations of Republicans they consisted of people who could be accepted as "rational" and he spouted the party line then, as he does now.
Now they are a wild-eyed bunch of radicals who depend on Republican journalists for their propaganda. Broder goes along with that too.
In previous years, Broder established himself as a calm speaking, moderate voice worth listening to. That is because the Republicans he represented were also calm speaking and moderate.
The only moderate who has not been purged from the Republican party is Broder, himself, and that is because he simply caved, in his own self-interest, to the radicals, and is now one of them himself.
Although, to be fair, he CAN spell.

Posted by: cms1 | August 5, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I was just watching C-span2 and they were in a Quorum Call. Sheldon Whitehouse(D-RI) then moved for unanimous consent to remove the quorum call because there were no Republicans there to speak. Whitehouse then stated that there was no Republican to speak on the motion to reply to Whitehouse's motion to confirm a District Court Judge in RI.

His inclination was to ask for unanimous consent to approve the nomination by voice vote, which would have confirmed the individual, but that he had too much respect to allow that to happen when the other side wasn't present.

According to Whitehouse, they had all skipped town for the recess.

Whitehouse showed respect for the other side, while the Republicans didn't even have the decency to leave one Senator behind to complete the days business.

If I were Whitehouse, I would have started asking for unanimous consent for that particular nominee, and then proceeded through the entire list of President Obama's nominees and confirmed the lot of them.

If the Republican Senators can't show up for work, they should get another another job.

Posted by: WorkatHomeGuy | August 5, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

A lot of people aren't parsing how much the Republicans are to blame. I see and hear many people saying that they're lifelong Republicans, but they'll never vote for a Republican again.
If the Republicans are smart, they'll get real leadership. Boehner and McConnell are jokes.

Posted by: amstphd | August 5, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Broder is one of the only "journalists" left, and he's being called out by a four paragraph, embedded Democrat ranter because he isn't sufficiently partisan?

Apparently, to Sargent, there are good guys and bad guys in the Senate and the role of the media is to classify them properly, damn it! That task is easy to Sargent: Democrats, good - Republicans, bad.

Greg Sargent is quite simple in his mindedness, isn't he?

Posted by: grohlik | August 5, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

What a jerk you are Sargent. Could it have possibly passed your Democrat shill masquerading as journalist, pea-brain that Broder thinks there is plenty of blame to go around?

Sargent...your problem is you think you're 'really smart' because some of your smarmy pseudo-journalist peers said you were smart in publications read only by smarmy jerks who think they're smart. Your problem is're too haven't got a whole lot of experience...your world still has too much black and white and not enough gray. I'd say your charge ahead style is refreshing...but you don't really DO just run your pie-hole a lot...or should I say type a lot. Go run something that has real people involved. Make something...BUILD something other than your own puerile ego. Get some perspective other than your own 'look at me' sense of immediate self-gratification.

You suck at what you do.

Posted by: PanhandleWilly | August 5, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

I used to respect David Broder but he seems to have become an ossified, pale imitation of what he used to be ... predictable, stodgy, and not very enlightening or adding much to the dialogue or analysis.... he's become irrelevant IMO.

Posted by: fendertweed | August 5, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Good points, Greg, but as most people here point out, don't expect Broder to understand them. I'm afraid the man is wandering somewhere around 1985.

Posted by: thmas | August 5, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

It's probably the wrong question, Greg, because people's attachment to the "rightness" of their cause runs pretty deep. Every journalist could stand up and call out the Republican party, but every self-identified republican out there will perform backflips to deny that alien idea. Self-identified democrats would do the same. Party politics, reinforced by the ease with which we can screen out contrary opinion and consume a steady diet of how right we are, has become more than just a set of policy prescriptions we believe in. It's become who we are, and defines our own sense of identity.

And it's an amazingly skewed, distorted source of identity.

Because the truth is, no matter how politically opposite I am from my neighbor, I will always have far more in common with him that I have differences. In our isolated cocoons, it's very easy to forget that, but it's the truth.

When we inflate political ideology to the extent that we lose sight of our commonalities, we lose the ability to communicate.

So sure, blame the republicans, blame the democrats, blame the media. Whether or not we see everything through the lens of ideology is a choice that each one of us makes. If the Senate isn't functioning, it's our fault. Every one of us.

Posted by: Buddydog | August 5, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

I've been a fan of Broder's for many years, but he genuinely seems to have lost touch. He longs for the days of Senate titans who actually did try to work together across party lines. And, for some reason, he blames Reid for the current state of affairs. It's not Reid. But for Broder it's personal. He blames Reid and that's it. He's lost all perspective. Must be some old grudge. It's obvious to everyone that it's the Republicans who are engaging in excessive partisanship. Broder refuses to address the issue. He's been doing this for some time now.

Posted by: mfloydhall | August 5, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

nisleib: "I think the GOP would filibuster everything, even if it was a Republican plan Obama put forward."

Indeed, that's exactly what they've done. The health care plan was similar to what Republicans proposed as an alternative to Clinton's plan. Cap-and-trade was touted by McCain during is presidential run. Disclosure as the solution to campaign fiance issues was championed by McConnell during the debate over McCain-Feingold. The debt commission was cosponsored by several Republicans who then voted against it.

Republican ideas, all filibustered or voted against by most Republicans.

Posted by: dasimon | August 6, 2010 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Broder has been living in la-la land for a very long time. Why does anyone care what he says? I can't remember a time when he said anything that implied he knew what he was talking about. Does anyone?

Posted by: dkmjr | August 6, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

I agree with others here - the Republicans would filibuster anything and everything in an effort to make the Democrats look bad.

And then they have the balls to try and claim that it is the fault of the Democrats.

Posted by: jackrussell252521 | August 6, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Like it or not, when the Dems voted against the Bushies, it was an attempt to stop things like starting the unnecessary Iraq war then hiding the cost from the operating budget, stopping no bid contracts to Halliburton, stopping making it illegal to import drugs, and creating the largest deficits in the history of mankind.

Then guess what, the economy collapsed and Bushies gave the Banksters 350 billion dollars with a two piece of paper loan agreement.

Now the Dems try to give us health care, unemployment benefits, tax the top 1% who are not creating jobs, stimulus money and green jobs.

There is a difference, and this batch of RepubliCONS are sick people who happen to be incompetent.

There is no equality here, the rethugs were invaded by southern bible thumpers and they have decided to go all in against the black guy.

Posted by: WesleyBrown | August 6, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

David Broder is a key enabler for Republican excesses and extremism. Broder consistently keeps a blind eyes to their obstructionism, their off-the-charts abuse of Senate minority rights.

In this case he is more obsessed with his hatred of Harry Reid to provide any useful commentary.

Please, Mr Broder. Just retire already. You've done enough damage.

Posted by: ANDYO1 | August 6, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

The MSM has repeated this same Republican mantra over and over and over again.

93% of the Dems vote to support the 9-11 responders . . . . 95% of the Repubs vote against the 9-11 responders . . . . so, somehow, it's the Dems who are blocking legislation.

Dems compromise to address Republican deficit concerns, and then the GOP decides that they have another problem.

Dems literally adopt prior Republican legislation, and the Republicans vote in lockstep against their own proposals.

The Republicans have ceased to be a political party that desires good governance. The Republicans have become a political party with power as their only reason for existence.

The GOP sees stopping each and every piece of legislation as an opportunity to filibuster, score political points, and reward their corporate masters.

If the GOP doesn't self-destruct first, the Republicans will destroy this nation.

Meanwhile, the MSM has failed to provide factual investigation (re Breitbart, Drudge, etal), and is merely a stenographer for whichever 15 second sound byte they can broadcast on the nightly news.

Posted by: Continuum | August 6, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

you're wasting your time, Greg

broder is a paid liar

doesn't matter if broder believes what he writes

broder is a propaganda artist from the Joesph Goebbels school of fake journalism

the problem here is that you expect truthful observations from broder

the man is incapable of telling the truth, because the truth does not serve broder's view of the world

broder is only truthful when his world view is benifited by the truth

otherwise, broder omits, obfuscates, and lies

there is a lot of that going around

Posted by: nada85484 | August 6, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

"the institutional knowledge Broder possesses, and the respect he enjoys"

Correct for the first part; now, pray tell where does the respect come form?

Posted by: grosmec | August 10, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

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