Broder and the dead center

Nothing reminds of how times have changed more than reading a David Broder column. I used to like the guy; thought he was level-headed, smart, always looking for moderation. That suited me fine ten or fifteen years ago, but somewhere along the way, the political discussion has moved so far to the right that Dems are taking policy positions once advocated by Dwight Eisenhower and Republicans have adopted the policy positions of the John Birch Society. Broder hasn’t noticed the change. He’s still calling for “bipartisanship” so we can “get something done”.

Digby captures the brain-dead rightward march of moderation in a post today:

I knew the gasbags would insist that it’s time to let bygones be bygones and meet the Republicans halfway in the spirit of a new beginning. GOP politicians have driven the debt sky-high and altered the government so as to be nearly unrecognizable, so logically the Democrats need to extend the hand of conciliation and move to meet them in the middle — the middle now being so far right, it isn’t even fully visible anymore.

Today we have none other than the centrist drivel king, David Broder, reporting that a group of useless meddlers, most of whom who were last seen repeatedly stabbing Bill Clinton in the back, are rising from their crypts to demand that the candidates all promise to appoint a “unity” government and govern from the the center — or else they will back an independent Bloomberg bid.

Isn’t it funny that these people were nowhere to be found when George W. Bush seized office under the most dubious terms in history, having been appointed by a partisan supreme court majority and losing the popular vote? If there was ever a time for a bunch of dried up, irrelevant windbags to demand a bipartisan government you’d think it would have been then, wouldn’t you? (How about after 9/11, when Republicans were running ads saying Dems were in cahoots with Saddam and bin Laden?) But it isn’t all that surprising. They always assert themselves when the Democrats become a majority….

Moderation these days plays into the radical right agenda. As just one of many examples consider social insurance programs like SocSec and Medicare. These programs depend on coherent fiscal policy at the federal level. To undermine these programs the radical right has spent decades piling up debt and making taxation—with or without representation–impossible. In the face of that demagogic assault the Broder moderates can only say “let’s all get together and agree to cut the social insurance programs…moderately”. Screw that. Bring on universal healthcare—single payer with all the bells and whistles; universal child care and k-college education; ten weeks of paid vacation for everyone and unlimited sick leave. When Broder issues his plea for moderation, I might agree to compromise on some of the programs—but only moderately.


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