Broder’s Petulant Rant

What really sets off a nationally-syndicated columnist whose essays appear in hundreds of publications each week? Apparently, it’s when average people influence their elected representatives on policy, instead of opinion leaders like himself. That seems to be the takeaway from David Broder’s new column today on immigration.
At Heading Right, I take a look at Broder’s cri de coeur over the use of “modern communications” in intimidating Congress into rejecting bad legislation. The paradigm has changed, and Broder appears unaware of it or incapable of understanding it — perhaps because he has so much to lose.

39 thoughts on “Broder’s Petulant Rant”

  1. Did the good KY Senator think that the public’s will just appeared as soon as the Democrats took control of Congress? SIX YEARS and not squat, the mob had it’s own dilemma that finally came home to roost now didn’t it? Can you say political conflagration mixed in with a little hypocrisy? The leader of their party was on the same page as TED KENNEDY.

  2. How can Broder compare the immigration bill and fast-track trade pacts? The vast majority of the public was against the former; only left-wing activists were against the latter. The latter is pandering by politicians, not populism.

  3. Broder’s comments seem to fall in line with this comments on Instapundit.
    Because that might help Bush.
    UPDATE: A journalist whose name you’d recognize emails:
    Yon’s story doesn’t get attention because it is humiliating.
    It is humiliating because it is obvious that we media – and our allies in the state department, the legal trade, the NGOs, the Democratic Party, the UN, etc., – can’t do squat about such determined use of force.
    Our words, images, arguments and skills can’t stop the killing. Only the rough soldiers and their guns can solve the problem, and we won’t admit that fact because the admission would weaken our influence and our claim to social status.
    So we pretend Yon’s massacre – and the North Korean killing fields, the Arab treatment of women, the Arab hatred of Israel, etc. – doesn’t exist, and instead focus our emotions and attention on the somewhat-bad domestic things that we can ‘fix’ with our DC-based allies. Things such as Abu Ghraib, wiretapping, etc. When we ‘fix’ them, then we get status, applause, power, new jobs, ego, etc.
    Please don’t be surprised. We media are an interest group not much different from the automakers, the unions, and the farmers.

  4. Good piece, Captain.
    But is this a typo:
    “…despite the fact that less than a quarter of the populace opposed it”
    Didn’t you mean a quarter suppported it?

  5. Broder is just another wounded elitist crying over his own lose of relevance. He can’t imagine how anyone intelligent could possibly disagree with him and his fellow beltway pundits. Why don’t we all just sit down and shut up and let the “best and brightest” fix every little thing for us?
    Just another intellectual colliding violently with the Democracy to which he constantly pays such fervent lip service. It would appear that Democracy is just dandy only when Little Davy likes the results. When he doesn’t like the results, then its a “Mob Moment”!
    The fact is that, modern communications technology with all of its immediacy and transparency makes us more of a Democratic Republic than a Representative Republic. There are no “closed doors” any more, and the poor darlings just don’t know what to think!

  6. From the column:

    The point is pretty basic. Politicians are wise to heed what people want. But they also have an obligation to weigh for themselves what the country needs. In today’s Washington, the “wants” of people count far more heavily than the nation’s needs.
    You can win elections by promising people what they want. But you win your place in history by doing what the country needs done.

    I couldn’t agree with Broder more. The wisdom of the angry mob is much overrated. The often misinformed, always underinformed, occasionally malicious mob is not our American political system’s day-to-day decision-maker, and for good reason. The fact that some of those same defects (in education and character) extend into Congress itself is sad, but that’s where the day-to-day battle of logic vs. idiocy belongs–with our representatives, and not on the street.

  7. RBMN,
    Don’t you realize that many of those who vocally opposed the bill are like me…in that we would whole heartedly support “normalization” of the illegals in country….IF Washington first made ANY effort to really secure the boarder?
    Or do you still contend that the “shamnesty bill” would have improved our boarder security?

  8. As I commented here, David Broder swerved into one bit of truth: the fact that Washington is totally out of touch.
    Unfortunately, Broder seems to be part of the elitist crowd.

  9. Well, apparently this “unruly, misguided, underinformed mob” knew more about the bill than one of its strongest supporters, Sen. McCain. McCain had to be told by bloggers that the White House had quietly stripped out the back taxes provisions. On this one either the elites didn’t really care what was in the bill (as long as they got their beloved amnesty for their gardener and housekeeper) or they did know and they were trying to pull a fast one. Neither interpretation is terribly flattering for a self-appointed group that wants us to sit down, shut up and let them run things.

  10. The internet has destroyed the middle man in virtually every industry it has touched. From bank tellers to stock brokers to music distributors; it has seriously changed the business model. Only an arrogant liberal hack could miss the message and so hold himself up as a fool. The train is leaving the station Broder – all aboard!!

  11. It does take a lot of courage and character to do the unpopular because it is the best thing for the country. But my question is: What qualities are required to do the unpopular when it is not the best thing for the country?
    There some folks on the right (left and center) who are passionate adversaries of “comprehensive” immigration policy because they are basically isolationist or even racist, but that is not the gist of the argument that inflamed so very many people against it.
    We do not trust the government to do the hard things that take significant funding and political resolve. They have too often betrayed us in the past when they promised to secure the borders and enforce immigration policy. It is the opinion of many Americans like myself that liberal immigration policies are suicidal when combined with unrestrained illegal entry into the country.
    It isn’t that hard to imagine twenty years from now that we will have fifty million illegals in the country and be forced to go through another round of “we can’t beat em, so we’ll have to join em” again.
    LISTEN CAREFULLY… make an informed decision as to how many people should be allowed to immigrate to the US each year. That number should reflect what is best for the US and nothing else. Then aloow that number of people to immigrate each year, chosen from the most desirable of those who wish to come here. Every person who comes here over and above that number is, by definition, a negative impact. If they were not, we would have increased the immigration quota by one, would we not?

  12. Re: Patrick at July 5, 2007 11:07 AM
    It’s true the devil is in the details, but it’s also true that most all bills (immigration reform included) are necessarily somewhat vague about the everyday nuts-and-bolts details of enforcement. The bill gives goals and guidelines to the federal agencies, and then the federal agencies proceed to fill in the details after the bill is passed. So bills, by their very nature, can be construed by ideological opponents to have all sorts of practical defects, precisely because the bill will never contain all the enforcement details. That’s why laws get changed later, if needed, to provide more guidance to the agencies that get it wrong. It’s a continuing process. But if the process never starts, it can’t improve over time with guidance from Congress.

  13. I guess you could call this Broder’s “Let Them Eat cake,” rant.
    And, it’s no wonder the elite’s “paper of record” is hitting hard times.
    Yesterday, on the Net, there was a re-play of a muzzy parade in Blackburn. The town that’s now mostly Pakistani. And, this wonderful British lady was interviewed; as the “parade” of screamers were passing by her home. RUBBISH, she said.
    So polite. So accurate.
    The whole bit of Roay kow-towing done by these idiots has met the word I’ll use from here on out. RUBBISH.
    The WaPo actually produces it right off their printing presses.
    And, while this doesn’t make the cognisenti happy; they get to pay their dues, yet. They’re just using the wrong sources to “halp” them form their opinions.
    And, the Immigration Bill that died, where they didn’t even think it was sick; will lead to other changes, ahead. Not just McCain’s Double-Talk Express tipping over, either.
    Gee. And, all we did was express our own opinions, while reading what others had to say.
    While the aristocrats “poll.” And, pay big bills for those polling experts, too. Which was one of McCain’s cash drains, if ya think about it? Who cares? Right.
    That sweet British lady, saying “RUBBISH,” was a gold mine.

  14. It takes DEMOGOGUERY to oppose the VAST MAJORITY and nothing in our Constitution authorizes that kind of behavior in elected PUBLIC SERVANTS.
    We didn’t appoint them as Lords over us.
    We didn’t cede them OUR JUDGEMENT CALLS – they are admonished to COME TO THE PEOPLE for MAJOR changes and upheavals.
    We the People are NOT impressed with their ability and “courage” to turn into DICTATORS after an election is over.
    I haven’t nopticed ONE of them OVER-RULING We the PEOPLE yet with something that was the RIGHT thing to do.
    When they did it because an issue needed to be dealt with, their heavy-handed and ill-advised tactics usually ended up making things worse – they didn’t work AT ALL at getting a consensus from the GENRRAL PUBLIC on what to do or HOW to do it.
    Dictators have a very special place in hell – especially when they are Socialists.

  15. RBMN, do you consider the back taxes provision to be a minor technicality? Do you consider whether or not an illegal has to return home to apply for a Z visa a minor provision? That skilled workers should have priority, or should family members, the latter causing nearly endless pattern of chain migration? Do you consider an effective physical barrier at the border a minor provision? Contrary to what you say, the wheels came off this bill because of the big things, not to mention the sheer arrogance of the bill’s bien pensant backers, not the small technicalities that could be “fixed” later.

  16. They lied to us in ’86, they lied to us about the border fence, they can’t even process the current applications for passports that they mandated. Now we’re supposed to buy the “comprehensive immigration plan” WITHOUT debate, WITHOUT examination of particulars? As for Broder, just another elitest snob. Had the bill passed, he’d be crowing that “the people have spoken”. It was a bad bill, addressing too many issues and leaving too many loose ends subject to later “determination” and subject to “future funding”.

  17. Patrick wrote: “RBMN, do you consider the back taxes provision to be a minor technicality? Do you consider whether or not an illegal has to return home to apply for a Z visa a minor provision?”

    YES. The real goal is to get the illegals here in America to come forward for photo, fingerprints, and vital record information. Those other things just interfere with the primary goal: identifying most of the people here illegally. I suspect the back-tax provision was there mostly to take the bill away from the Senate and give it back to the House, where all tax legislation has to originate.

  18. As newspapers are being quickly and effectively replaced by other sources of information not requiring a leftist slant or overpaid hack-journalists to transcribe the actual story into what the people ought to believe, Mr. Broder’s cushy job is at risk, and people do tend to scream when their own ox is being gored. Once “movers and shapers”, the pundit-person of today is staring into the face of extinction in a market-driven information age that passed the old mainstream media with astounding speed. The recent Immigration Bill was posted online and read by thousands of savvy taxpaying bloggers before the senators (much less the columnists) ever got a chance to see it. Mr. Broder is in the unenviable position of owning the fastest quill pen in town while trying to compete with 3 gigahertz personal computers with almost instant access to world-wide communication and information. It’s hard when your self-importance comes to grips with your unimportance, isn’t it, David?

  19. It was not ignorant masses nor mobs that squelched the shamnesty bill but rather informed citizens, armed with facts provided by think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and data presented by able senators such as Jeff Sessions. This oppositional research was not provided by the media whose role should be to be a conduit of information.
    Too many of our lawmakers are behind the curve in knowing what exactly is in the bills that they rubberstamp and what new data is emerging beyond what is published in dead-tree media.

  20. RBMN…if that is the “real goal”…then as some of us have said before…we could easily support / buy off on that….but only IF the critters did something…ANYTHING … to secure the border first.
    Your stated “real goal” by itself is not the answer. It boggles my mind that you should keep chanting that one. It makes me question your “fortitude” on the other part of the equation.

  21. I just don’t get why “bringing them out of the shadows” is such an overarching goal, in the complete absence of anything else but weak symbolism, which is what this bill did. Those with nothing to hide will do so, but so what. The security risks (Al Qaeda sleepers and whatnot) and common criminals like “living in the shadows” just fine and they will continue to do so. It’s not hard, as millions have already proven. I just don’t believe this government has the stones to do real enforcement after all these Z visas are handed out like candy, but by gum we’ll make every five-year-old who accompanies his parents to Canada wait months to get a passport. That we can do…..

  22. Arrogant, ignorant, elitist, demagogic, out of touch, unethical – David Broder makes an excellent poster child for the MSM.

  23. Broder is right on.
    Washington – and Congress in general – have become focused on doing only what is percieved to be popular and not what is best for the country.
    The only one who refuses to listen to the mob is President Bush.
    I would have supported the President’s Immigration Bill, but not the not the puddle of goo that it morphed into after Congress got a hold on it.
    We elected our leaders to lead – not make decisions based on the winds of public opinion. If that’s what we expected, than any schmo could be a President or Congressman. Sometimes, being a true leader is the loneliest place in the world. Just ask President Bush.
    Semper Fidelis.

  24. I love this line:
    “With all its shortcomings, the defeated legislation offered some prospect of improving at least some aspects of that broken system.”
    It offered “some prospect” of “some aspects…” Hahaha maybe it might have possibly done some good perchance if only. Now that’s comprehensive!

  25. Now is the time for real leadership on immigration and border security.
    First make real and dramatic progress onsecuring the border – all borders- by igh tech, fence and personnel.
    Second, devise and demonstrate a real system that can actually be implemented to perform an accurate census on the illegals, identify them and document them.
    Under no circumstance should illegals get any social security credit for work done here illegally or by fraud. Period.
    Any monies they have paid in should be forfeit as part of their fine.
    We should investigate how to reform the anchor baby loophole. Its present use was not what was invisioned when it was written and is a perversion of its intent. It is like a hole in the wall and needs to be sealed up.
    Regularization should only be offered to those who cooperate fully with registration and documentation – that turns the tables on those who are hiding in the shadows excepting for May Day demonstrations.
    Sanctuary cities should lose al federal funding. Employers who conspire to commit id or credit theft to illegally hire illegals should have their officers face personal criminal penalties.
    Coyotes – basically human traffickers- should face very stiff criminal penalties, including loss of property. Any committing violence while being coyotes should have their criminal penalty increased.
    It can be done and must be, if we are to head off the inevitable potential tidal wave if leftists take over Mexico.

  26. Mike,
    With all due respect to your point about leadership, we do live in a representative republic, where our members of Congress must answer to what the people who put them into office see as what is good for our country. The senators who supported the comprehensive bill made very poor cases for how our country would benefit from this blanket legalization.
    Those illegals and their enablers who have taken to the streets in protest marches and those pushing legislation through the machinations of open-border lobbies seem more like examples of mob rule than do those citizens who wrote, faxed, emailed, and called their representation in Washington to voice their opposition.

  27. If this bill was good for the American people, then our lawmakers should have been able to intelligently explain to us why it was good.
    I missed those intelligent explanations and only heard “trust us.”
    It appears to have fallen to a lack of trust.

  28. Mob rule? Gosh, that’s awfully strong. I live in DC and somehow the pitchfork wielding mob attacking the Capitol complex didn’t make the papers.
    As for our so-called leaders, one of the sure tests of leadership is to turn around and see if anyone’s following you.
    Here’s another old saw, if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Such thin senatorial skins if talk radio and lots of faxes and phone calls undid these great lions of the Senate and turned them into quaking towers of jello.

  29. onlineanalyst
    Your assessment is correct. The only mob rule I saw was from the orchestrated protests of the illegals and those who supported them.
    The bill accomplished nothing other than allowing a percentage of illegals, who could pass a very whimsical closer look, to step ahead of everyone else who has legally attempted to become a US citizen. For those not so inclined, for whatever reason, it did squat.
    Secure the border, stop the flow, then we can discuss other aspects. Until that’s done it’s all hot air and pandering to special interest groups. If someone believes that I and others have no right to pressure our representatives and it’s improper for our representatives to bow to us, their employers then I have a suggestion. Go live under the evolving Eurocrat system. They’ll give you firm direction without representation and if you complain they’ll prosecute you for hate speech. Sadly, it appears, there’s more than a few living in this country that feel we should have that system. I hope if it ever gets that far that I’m already worm food and my decedents remember how to use their second amendment tools.

  30. David Broder. The latest Dodo bird.
    Journalists used to have a monopoly on public opinion, shaping it via periodic soapbox dissertations put to print via a tightly controlled distribution channel. No more. Somehow the public bestowed upon these selected individuals the supreme authority to determine “our” voice. Well, we know the selection process was rather out of our hands. We took what we could get.
    Now we have open source journalists whose insights are worse, on par, or even better (egads!) than the Broders of the world and who can contribute an expertise to any subject under the sun. Broder may well see his capacity to filter being ripped from his hands, and it’s too late (and not nearly as lucrative or respected) for him to return to straight reporting which actually is something of a disappearing art.
    The public has a voice. It can spread it. The public has new conduits. It can now fill it. Neither Congress not Broder understand that democracy is finding a way to redefine the Republic. Well, maybe they understand it just fine, it’s just that they fear it… because it diminishes their power and returns it to the rightful owners – the American citizen.

  31. “Please don’t be surprised. We media are an interest group not much different from the automakers, the unions, and the farmers.”
    A. But you constantly claim the contrary – that you have a special calling to inform the American people, and that you deserve special rights beyond those of the rest of us to allow you to do that.
    B. Ford and Chevy, the Teamsters, and the farmers do not have control of the public information flow of this country. You effectively do, and you have not lived up to the code of conduct you claim to have. Instead you have become a significant part of the problem by chosing a partisan position, while hiding behind a facade of objectivity.
    The only thing that surprises me is that so many young people continue to enter what has become a profession that has bartered its soul to the pursuit of power and influence, and in doing so completely sold out those it hyprocritcally claims to protect.

  32. Anyone ever seen Broder and Vermont Senator Patrick “Leaks” Leahy in the same room at the same time?

  33. Del Dolemonte, people choose journal-losem when they have no math skills. And, all the other routes to college credentialing is harder. What’s it take to become a journalist, anyway?
    Now, in real life, the competition is coming from the people.
    I’d bet most people, here, when 9/11 happened, turned on their TV’s.
    But when the doctor “chaps” decided to go jihadi in Glasgow; where’d you go for the news?
    I stayed on the Internet. And, I found others who gave links to Sky (which was commercial free), and running constantly.
    I also learned, while watching Sky news the other day; that there had been a muslem parade in Blackburn; loud. And, obnoxious. With a reporter interviewing homeowners who lived down the block this charade was passing through.
    And, this nice old lady, when asked what she thought, just said RUBBISH.
    I think she spoke for billions of people who understand English. And, found ways to follow this story. Without any dependency, at all, on the pundits. Who get paid by the nutworks.
    I’d say what “woke David Broder up” was his loss of audience. Something that’s been happening for awhile. But was first noticed only by the accountants and bean counters; over in LA-LA land.
    Now? I trust the millions of eyeballs that have been added to the mix.
    Just like when you’re traveling; and you’re out at the airports. You’re not waiting for Homeland Security to ease your flights. You’re just a passenger. But no longer a blind one.
    And, that, too, changes the options.
    What got exposed, here? That the terrorists actually had a whole avenue open to them; to do the mischief that was only at a starting point in London. And, Glasgow.
    While I’ll bet money a lot of the jihadis are now in hiding. And, worried when their neighbors write down license plate numbers on visiting cars.
    There’s nothing like lots of eyeballs.
    Just as there’s nothing that’s gonna beat our fingertips.
    And, the best word of all? RUBBISH. From a woman who lives in Blackburn. See if you don’t think she was right?
    When you can you point to anything David Broder has ever written with the same clear cut PROOF that it doesn’t take much to write about these scenes, well.
    Seen one RUBBISH. Seen them all.
    (Heck, even the Net is guessing that Libby closes the Appeals store down, to get on with his life.) The Net’s that fast, too.

  34. Well, Well. On another July 4th about 230 years ago we now know who Broder would have sided with. Not the “mob” who over threw King George. They obviously should have known their place and let their betters run things.

  35. Look, RBMN. You have it wrong. This “comprehensive immigration reform” BS is anything but comprehensive. Not only that: it relies on the good intentions of millions of people who got here through deception, fraud, and crime. Are those the kinds of people upon whose ‘good intentions’ you would have us- a nation at war- rely?
    Admit the truth, RBMN. This was a dumbass bill that was damn near plunged down our throats by a congress who does not give damn number one about our security.
    And dude, you cannot tell me with a straight face that this congress cares about our security. Your position would be hammered into the muck and left for dead by a simple question in the form of three little words: WHERE’S THE FENCE?
    Hell, I can tell you how to fix the problem using basic principles of trauma nursing:
    1: Find the source of the bleeding.
    2: Stop the bleeding.
    3: Treat the infection.
    Our current laws need to be enforced. If this Congress refuses to do it, then it’s our duty as citizens of this country to replace them with people who will enforce the law, before congress decides that ‘We the People’ have just a few too many rights.

  36. RBMN, I truly hate to burst your bubble, but NO illegal immigrant has incentive one to come forward and enter the system. The sole advantage illegals have is their illegal status, which allows employers to save money by paying less than minimum wage, no benefits, and work them in what would otherwise be illegal conditions. Oh, and sign up for every welfare benefit going, swamp the emergency rooms, and otherwise free-ride on the taxpayer’s back.
    It’s not “jobs that Americans won’t do”, it’s “job conditions that slaves would be upset with.”

  37. “Modern communications?” It was basically the radio and the telephone, both over a hundred years old. And the fax is even older than the telephone. The only difference is the self-publishing possibilities of the internet and blogs for analysis of the legislation.
    The audience and activism was pushed by radio. This reminds me of the 1994 battle against HillaryCare, which was basically pushed by Rush Limbaugh and the Wall Street Journal opinion page. The internet wasn’t a factor then.
    To paraphrase Tom Brockaw on the ’94 elections, Broder and the elite are just having a tantrum.

  38. Here’s the bottom line – the only reason that the Congress listened was because they are scared about the 2008 election.
    They don’t give a rat’s ass about our democracy, our foreign policy or the people.
    They want to keep their jobs.
    A representative democracy is based on elections; not populism. Elected leaders have the responsibility to make decisions based on their own analysis of the situation. Sometimes that means that they must demonstrate the intestinal fortitude necessary to buck the voices of the people. If we don’t agree with their decisions, (i.e. they turn out to be wrong) they don’t stay in office after the next election.
    If we don’t follow this simple logic, we might as well abandon the entire republic, and make decisions based on national referendums.
    Semper Fidelis.

  39. When an issue rises to the level of popular intensity that Comprehensive Immigration does, the people have every right, and perhaps even an obligation, to petition their government to act in what the citizenry consider the public interest. We the people, decide what the “Public Interest” is and we send them to Washington to get it done. We have never in our entire history ever looked upon those we elect to represent us, as experts whose superior public virtue deserved any level of deference from us.
    Our job as citizens is NOT over on election day! We are obligated to make our voices heard with whatever eloquence and expertise we have, because if we sit silent and wait for our representatives to read our minds from Washington, we will abdicate our future to a cadre of lobbyists and insiders. Our representatives in Washington are going to spend all day every day talking to somebody, and if it isn’t me its going to be somebody else whose interests are very likely NOT going to coincide with mine.
    If our elites aren’t satisfied with the quality of our input, then perhaps they may wish to pay more attention to the quality of our education or perhaps even attempt to apply a little leadership to the situation. You remember leadership don’t you? Do they still talk a lot about leadership in the Corps, Mike?
    Well if they do, then think about this; the unfocused and fractious situation you find so uncomfortable is the direct result of a lack of leadership. We aren’t sure where we’re going or what we’re trying to do or how we might do it. We don’t know what we want and we’re not sure why we should pay for it either. What would you call a situation like that Mike? A clusterf**k, maybe!
    Think about it.

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