Monday, November 22, 2010

So I was reading David Broder's column in the Cincinnati Enquirer

and I was shocked at the triviality of the topic and analysis in "Congressional Democrats aren't showing they can make hard choices." The current story involved the Democrats creating a leadership post so that Hoyer and Clyburn could both have titles of leadership. Ok, so they did it. Prevented some needless hard feelings. So what? Why is this important? I decided to write about the issue, because of the example Broder gave at the end of his column. I go online to get the language to cut and paste. Here is the factual basis for the accusation in the last three paragraphs of the online column.

Normally, this would not matter much. But we are about to start a Congress in which everything depends on the willingness of the leadership in both parties to face up to hard choices - on the budget, Afghanistan and a dozen other issues.
Too often in the past, Democrats have avoided making hard choices by throwing more money in the pot or taking similar self-indulgent steps. When it came to the stimulus legislation and health-care reform, for example, Democrats spent to buy votes rather than make tough choices.
The Democrats' unwillingness to face the hard choice in this internal fight sends exactly the wrong signal.

Wait a minute! This is an entirely different historical accusation from what I recalled. So I went back to the physical newspaper. Here is the original middle paragraph:
Too often in the past, Democrats have avoided making hard choices. Way back in Lyndon Johnson's time, a well-conceived and carefully targeted Model Cities program was disgraced when the chairman of an appropriations subcommittee saw to it that Smithville, Tenn., his hometown, become one of the recipients. Some Laboratory for urban policy.
I see one likely explanation for this change. David Broder has lost it. I mean, really. Smithville getting  a little Model Cities money more than 40 years ago is the best he can do? So he sent out this column, and then someone in the adult supervision dept. read it, and observed, "This story about a Model Cities program under Lyndon Johnson, which you somehow link to this Hoyer-Clyburn leadership contest is a bit, trivial, remote, disconnected, and, well, nonsensical.

So it was changed to a more recent, facially relevant, example. Of course, the new example is a lie. The Democrats did not avoid tough choices in health care. They got what they could get given the Republican obstruction. The problem with the stimulus was not that Democrats threw money at it. They didn't throw enough money, again because of the Republican obstruction.

If he wanted to talk about making tough choices, Broder could have written about the Republicans, who are, at this very moment, demanding a tax break for the rich, and at the same time, a reduction in the deficit, with full knowledge that doing both is impossible. Therefore, Republicans are scrambling all over each other to avoid assignments to the appropriations committee for fear that they will be blamed for reality-based, aka, hard choices that must come.

Whatever happened behind the scenes, it is clear that David Broder is transparently and fundamentally dishonest.