Old Fart At Play

This was a fun post to title. I knew I wanted to use an old song title since it’s about David Broder’s blathering yet again about the glorious “bi-partisan” era of his younger days. I don’t think Broder had a youth: he was born middle-aged in a suit. I ended up with a Captain Beefheart title but seriously considered Traffic’sDear Mr. Fantasy orShootout At The Fantasy Factory.

Here’s a snippet from Broder’s latest visit to Fantasy Island aka the Dole Institute in Lawrence, Kansas:

From my seat, I was looking directly at the large photo mural of former senator Dole and his frequent partner, Rep. Gerald Ford of Michigan, the House minority leader.

One of them — Ford — achieved the presidency only briefly, when Richard Nixon was forced to resign. The other — Dole — failed each time he ran. But no one regards them as political failures, because they realized that victory is counted in more than vote totals. They won the ultimate tests of character for two reasons. They did not sacrifice their political principles. And they acknowledged that they shared the responsibility for making this system of government work.

It helped that they came to Washington as young military veterans, survivors of a war against an implacable enemy. They knew the difference between the Nazis, who were truly evil, and the Democrats, who were simply fellow Americans with different political beliefs.

For Obama and the Republicans to establish a productive post-election atmosphere, it may require nothing more than the recapture of that wisdom of their political forebears. Behave as if you are veterans, and today’s political disputes will recede.

Where do I start? First of all, if I had a c-note for every time the Obama administration has been compared to the Nazis, I’d be a rich man.

Second, Broder’s memory of how Dole and Ford *really* acted while in office is hazy. In 1966, sensing victory in what has come to known as the “backlash election,” Ford and House Repubs withdrew support from LBJ’s Civil Rights agenda and commenced racial dog whistling. That’s right: even back in the good old days politicians acted like politicians. Shocking, I know…

Then there’s Bob Dole. In the late 1960’s Dole did work with George McGovern on the food stamp program but because he was a farm state Senator and not because he gave a rat’s ass about the poor. Dole’s subsequent record was one of unrelenting partisanship leavened by the occasion “bi-partisan” remark intended to placate gullible reporters such as Broder. As Senate minority leader, Dole’s caucus was united in opposition to Bill Clinton’s agenda, in part, because their leader wanted to be President. The trend continued when Dole became Majority Leader in 1995: then as now the GOP was the party of no.

Old fartism is a natural impulse but in this instance Broder is expressing the CW of the inside the beltway punditocracy. They’re past masters at picking and choosing examples of “bi-partisanship” and of conveniently overlooking how things really work. Broder and company’s real notion of “bi-partisanshp” is that the Democrats should give in to the Goopers and allow the latter to claim victory. It’s an old dance that many of us are sick of but as long as the Broders and Halperins are still around, we’re stuck with listening to them pontificate about it.

Earth to Broder: There were NO good old days. Just ask Don Van Vliet:

6 thoughts on “Old Fart At Play

  1. Excellent.
    It seems like these old farts can go on late-night television and everyone forgets that they would drown a baby in bathwater for the party. I am reminded of McCain on Letterman after the last election.
    On another note…
    I’ve always wondered if Thingfish was Zappa’s tribute to his old HS band mate, Captain Beefheart.

  2. I refuse to believe that this professional liar does not remember how ferociously ugly and vicious the political attacks on the president were right up until JFK was assassinated. I remember it very well. It was just like this is right now.

  3. “I figured it up the other day: If we added up the killed and wounded in Democrat wars in this century, it would be about 1.6 million Americans — enough to fill the city of Detroit”. – Bob Dole in the 1976 VP debate vs. Walter Mondale
    Bob Dole thought US wars were partisan affairs in 1976. I’m an angry lefty blog commenter and even I don’t pin the Iraq War on Republicans, not with Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd and John Kerry all voting for the goddamn thing. David Brooks’s job is to piss on your back and call it rain, then have a fainting spell and call you vulgar for saying “don’t piss on me”.

  4. Let’s not forget Ford cut that sleazy deal whereby Richard Nixon was preemptively “pardoned” for any crimes he may have committed in the Watergate scandal–before being tried for those crimes.
    Yes, Republican justice was swift in that case… and then these people had the gall to impeach Clinton over a little dick-sucking. (Some of us are almost as old as David Broder, and remember these things. Yep, the Republicans lost me at Watergate…)
    As Shirley McClain said, “I’d rather have a President who fucked a few women, rather than one who fucked an entire country…
    I did wander a little far afield on that one, didn’t I?

Comments are closed.