2010/05/20

Broder's "reporting"

David Broder starts by lavishly complimenting his subject, Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT).

Bennett, 76, who followed his father to Washington and Capitol Hill, is the kind of legislator reporters value, because he can speak thoughtfully and dispassionately about his colleagues' collective mood without subjecting you to gobs of self-serving rhetoric.

Bennett then complains that the Federal Government is "big and intimidating, and it's out of control." Ehh, I agree that it's big because, well, it's dealing with big problems. It's a nice theory that we can get along with no authority higher than that of a county sheriff, but what is a county sheriff supposed to do about, say, a massive oil leak about a mile under the ocean's surface? If BP could have dealt with the problem by itself, I presume it would have done so.

This uncertainty is compounded by political and economic trends, and by individual companies quietly disregardful imposed regulations.

As the Deepwater incident reveals, shareholders are responding to uncertainty and complexity by demanding additional disclosure on environmental practices, safety protocols, overall risk exposure and a company’s response to forthcoming regulations. [emphases added]

Yes, the Federal Government fell down on the job of regulating BP so that the spill might never have happened, BP was clearly cutting corners, they didn't even have an up-to-date disaster recovery plan in effect, but that's hardly an argument for shrinking the government and making it even less effective. President Obama may not have fixed the problem by now, but he's at least got people working hard to try and solve it.

The Federal Government is "out of control"? Really? How, exactly, has the government demonstrated that it's "out of control"? Bennett's primary example is that

...Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi forced an unusual Sunday session of the House of Representatives to push through an amended version of the Obama administration's health-care bill. "It was a Sunday, which is a very special day for me and my fellow Mormons," Bennett said. "And it was really a display of partisan political muscle."

Awwwww. Weep. Sob. Wail. It of course never occurs to the columnist playing stenographer to the Senator to point out to readers that Republicans were digging in their heels and fighting the passage of the Affordable Care Act every single inch of the way and were using every single, solitary parliamentary trick and procedure at their disposal to delay the vote in any way possible, thereby making a Sunday session a necessity if the wishes of the majority of the American people who voted for a President who clearly and explicitly promised to pass a health care reform bill were to be respected. But nooooo, Broder can't possibly introduce any objectivity, why, that's something only a reporter might do!

Bennett attributed his difficulties to a mainstream reaction against the centralization of power in the capital...

You mean the tea party folks? Not only were the tea party people never the majority of the country, their main figurehead, Glenn Beck, has clearly seen his days of fame and glory come and go.

Think about all the magazine covers, the massive amount of media coverage and free publicity that Beck generated over the past 12 months. Think about the fact that Beck is supposed to be at the forefront -- the media point person -- for a burgeoning political, right-wing revolution that's unfolding across the country. Beck is the anointed leader of the almighty Tea Party movement. And what does he have to show for it one year later in a nation of 300 million people? About 100,000 more television viewers.

Nah, the tea party's big moment in the sun was last year's 9/12 rally in Washington D.C., a gathering of around 70,000 people. Not a bad number to assemble on the National Mall by any means, but there have been no similarly large gatherings since and their lobbying has definitely hit the point of diminishing returns. No, sorry to inform Senator Bennett, but "reaction against the centralization of power" doesn't explain much of anything.

The same sentiment carried to Arkansas, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln was forced into a runoff by her labor-backed challenger, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter.

Uh, Blanche Lincoln failed because she was shown to be a corporate shill who couldn't care less about anybody who makes under a quarter of a million dollars a year. The "same sentiment" had nothing to do with anything. Broder also attempts to draw the once-Republican Arlen Specter into the same corral, but again, his grand, sweeping generalizations have nothing to do with the reality of Tuesday's races.

Sorry, but Broder and his subject, Senator Bennett, have both achieved a major FAIL!

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