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What Would Broder Have Us Do?

I noticed that Atrios had labeled David Broder yesterday’s “Wanker of the Day,” and went to see why. At first, I nearly missed it &m

I noticed that Atrios had labeled David Broder yesterday’s “Wanker of the Day,” and went to see why. At first, I nearly missed it — Broder wrote a largely unremarkable column about the latest poll from the Pew Research Center, detailing the Republican Party’s problems.

But after 13 inoffensive paragraphs, all of which detailed a Republican Party in decline, Broder apparently felt compelled to devote a few words to slapping the Democrats.

But a word of caution is in order. There is little here that suggests voters’ opinion of Democrats is much higher than it was when they lost Congress in 1994. It seems doubtful that Democrats can help themselves a great deal just by tearing down an already discredited Republican administration with more investigations such as the current attack on the Justice Department and White House over the firings of eight U.S. attorneys.

First, what, exactly, would Broder have Democrats do? Confronted with evidence of the Bush administration obstructing justice, selectively enforcing the law, and lying about it, what’s the “reasonable” course of action for Congress? Would Broder prefer that Dems just overlook the matter? Or would he recommend that Dems look into it, but only half-heartedly?

Second, Broder seems to believe Dems shouldn’t pursue the scandal seriously because it’s unlikely that the party’s lawmakers can “help themselves” by investigating wrongdoing. But isn’t that antithetical to a traditional Broder-eque approach to politics? As I recall, principles, not political concerns, are supposed to drive decision making. Is it Broder’s belief that Democrats should only pursue wrongdoing if there’s a political upside? Isn’t that the kind callous calculating that Broder usually rails against?

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