Thursday, March 4, 2010

David Broder Tosses Ice-Cold Water on WaPo's Emanuel Love Fest

Washington Post writers Ezra Klein, Dana Milbank, and Jason Horowitz have engaged in public displays of affection for Rahm Emanuel. Last weekend, however, Washington Post writer Colbert King rained on the parade with a scathing critique of Emanuel. Whereas the former portrayed Emanuel as a skillful taskmaster whom President Obama foolishly shunned to accept the counsel of starry-eyed advisers (like Jarrett and Axelrod), King argued that Emanuel was a classic Washington insider who wanted to blunt the possibility of meaningful change.

Today, David Broder joins King and expresses passionate dissent from the Emanuel love fest. Broder's article, "The Fable of Emanuel the Great," criticizes his colleagues who have portrayed Obama "as a weakling and a chronic screw-up who is wrecking his administration despite everything that his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, can do to make things right." Broder says that this is a "remarkable fiction" started by his "friend" Milbank.

Broder offers a very different perspective from "others" in the White House who apparently have not been seduced by Emanuel's "distractingly prominent quadriceps." According to that narrative:
The underlying problem . . . is a badly damaged economy that has sunk Obama's poll numbers and emboldened Republicans to blockade his legislative program.

Emanuel, who left a leadership post in the House to serve his fellow Chicagoan, Obama, has worked loyally for the president and is not suspected personally by his colleagues of inspiring these Post pieces.

But, as one White House staffer said to me, "Rahm likes to win," and when the losses began to pile up, he probably vented his frustrations to some of his old pals in Congress. It's clear that some of them are talking to the press.
Finally, Broder contends that the flurry of stories praising Emanuel have emerged because his "friends are so eager to exonerate him," but that in doing so, "they are threatening to undermine the president." Broder, however, argues that Obama should simply ignore Emanuel's media pals:
From too many years of covering politics, I have come to believe as Axiom One that the absolute worst advice politicians ever receive comes from journalists who fancy themselves great campaign strategists.
Broder's article is quite refreshing. I was beginning to suspect that the Washington Post server was taken over by an Emanuel-loving computer virus.

11 comments:

Kansas City said...

Broder is an interesting guy, who at the age of 80, apparently had decided to more honestly express his views. Since he is a liberal, this is especially rare and refreshing.

The recent pro-Rahm publicity is weird. I doubt that all the praise Rahm stuff would be coming out without his blessing, but it is very odd behavior by him. He must really think the ship is sinking and he needs to establish the story that it was not his fault.

Elizabeth said...

No bromance for Broder? How disappointing.

KC, not sure how refreshing Broder really is (apart from this moment of lucidity), since after the Tea Party convention he gushed that Palin was

at the top of her game -- a politician who knows who she is and how to sell herself, even with notes on her palm.

Ahem, yes.

LETICIA said...

How disappointing. I was hoping to hear something about Mr. Emanuel's "Lugubrious deltoids" or "Whimsical glutes" maybe.

PS I'm not sure what lugubrious means. My friendly online dictionary should fix that however.

Kansas City said...

The pro-Palin column is further evidence of how Broder has become an honest pundit. Recently, he has criticized Rahm, praised Palin, praised Napolitano, criticized Reid - what you have is honesty. I'm not saying he is right or wrong. But he is honestly and objectively writing his views. Is there another liberal who does that?

Maybe Kristin Powers and Susan Estrich. I cannot think of any others.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Are there any CONSERVATIVES who do this? I have a long list of articles (I actually have stopped adding to it) criticizing liberals and defending conservatives. I have not seen many conservatives do this. I would say that political debate is highly partisan. But I have criticized liberals much more than I have seen conservatives do the reverse.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

I don't know what this article says about Broder. I think it says that the Rahm-Love Club was getting nauseating. Even someone who supports Rahm could find the love fest insulting and beneath good journalism. Besides, Colbert King -- also with the Washington Post -- criticized them first!

LETICIA said...

In unrelated news, Glenn Greenwald has an excellent article in Salon today:
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/

Kansas City said...

Examples of Honest Conservatives: George Will, David Brooks, Peggy Noonan, Jim Pinkerton, Cal Thomas, Charles Krauthamer, Bill O'Reily, Bill Gertz, John Strossel, John Fund, Jonah Goldberg, Glen Reynolds, Megan McGarle, Brit Hume.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Thanks for the link, Leticia!

KC: I haven't seen many of the people on your list defend liberals....Not a big issue -- most of the media figures are loudly partisan, and I would include many of your examples of "honest" people on that list.

LETICIA said...

Darren: Any thoughts on the article? Obama's near constant abandonment of his supposed principles on the campaign trail sickens me, but I'm glad at least a few people are calling him on it.

LETICIA said...

Wait, I wrote part of that wrong. I meant his near abandonment of the principles he spoke of while on the campaign trail.

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