George Packer gets in on the Broder-bashing:
Broder wasn’t analyzing Palin’s positions or accusations, or the truth or falsehood of her claims, or even the nature of the emotions that she appeals to. He was reviewing a performance and giving it the thumbs up, using the familiar terminology of political journalism. This has been so characteristic of the coverage of politics for so long that it doesn’t seem in the least bit odd, and it’s hard to imagine doing it any other way.
(Packer goes on to describe some similar silliness from Adam Nagourney, who is at least as bad as Broder, in general.)
It no longer matters whether or not a politician’s performance (I think that’s the right word here) has any connection with any kind of discernible reality. Movie-goers are pickier about the believability of movies than pundits are about the believability of politicians’ claims. You’re more likely to hear a movie-goer complain “there’s no way a school teacher could afford that penthouse” than to hear David Broder complain “there’s no way `we win, you lose’ can be a serious foreign policy”.
The age of realism in politics is over.