Thursday, October 12, 2006

How did David Broder get this naive?

Broder has a column today in the Washington Post in which he examines poll results showing that people are sick of Congress and Bush's leadership. They want a change. He's sick of GOP leadership, too and longs for a change. Journalists often get tired of covering a president in his second term and, unless he provides them with a juicy sex scandal and an impeachment threat, Washington starts looking around for a change. And for a liberal-leaning pundit, the longing can be more intense and they assume that the electorate shares that desire. Though, I'm not sure how Broder can assume that low poll ratings for Congress indicate a desire for the Democrats to be in control rather than fatigue with the whole bunch of them.

But here is where Broder, despite his decades of experience, lapses into a naive optimism that divided government is superior.
But there is also a palpable sense of weariness in the executive branch and a need for relief there as well.

Fortunately, the voters have the power -- if they pull the trigger on Election Day -- to create a new plot for the Washington drama. This election campaign has been a learning experience for candidates of both parties, incumbents and challengers alike. They have been bombarded with messages from their constituents, telling them that the public is tired of the partisan bickering, tired of the gridlock and eager to elect people who will focus on the real problems and work together to find solutions.

If that lesson is reinforced by the election results, Washington will change. Congress will be run by people who talk with each other, across party lines. And even the White House may learn that it needs to end its isolation and engage more broadly at home and abroad if it is to salvage some substantial accomplishments from Bush's final two years in office.

That kind of fundamental change in the political environment is possible -- indeed, it is imminent and will be welcomed. But it will happen only if voters pull the trigger. Elections do matter, and this one matters more than most.
Does anyone really believe that there will be some substantive change in the political environment if the Democrats controlled Congress? Will partisan bickering end? Come on! Hasn't Broder read about how the Democrats are panting to start all sorts of investigations into the Bush administration? Does he think that such investigations will lead to a nonpartisan environment? Does he really think that Nancy Pelosi and Bush will then join hands to work together in a magnificent non-partisan kumbaya moment?

I think he's just combining his desire for a change in partisan control of Contress with his oft-spoken desire for independent legislators to cross party lines. It's perfectly fine for Broder to have such longings, but he should be experienced enough to recognize them for the pipe dreams they are.