I never thought I’d use that as a post title, but this is as on the money as it gets:
In the space of 10 days, thanks in no small part to my own newspaper, the president of the United States has been portrayed 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.
This remarkable fiction began unfolding on Feb. 21 in the Sunday column of my friend Dana Milbank, who wrote that “Obama’s first year fell apart in large part because he didn’t follow his chief of staff’s advice on crucial matters. Arguably, Emanuel is the only person keeping Obama from becoming Jimmy Carter,” i.e., a one-term failure.[….]
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.
Milbank now is urging Obama to emulate Gordon Brown, who is probably just weeks away from being voted out as Britain’s prime minister, and start bullying people himself. That is — well, it’s in the great tradition.
The irony is strong in this one, yes.
If I read it right, Broder’s message: don’t listen to that reporter and start bulying, listen to this reporter and not bully. (Note the added counter-evidence offered in support of his consultant-like position.)
Just report bitches.
A reasonable column from David Broder. Will wonders never cease?
He probably just feels a tad threatened by a young punk who looks to move in on his territory.
Davis X. Machina
I’m buying a Powerball ticket on the way home — the laws of probability seem to have been temporarily suspended.
The post title kind of loses its shock value without a period at the end. [Edit: I guess periodically, DougJ gets to feeling down and edits his titles…] After all, it could just be a post that happens to talk about what David Broder said.
The pro-Rahm stories are obvious bullshit, but I never would have thought in a million years that Broder would be the one to call bullshit. This is a time-honored Washington tradition: your loyal aides get to “leak” to a friendly journalist the story about how their boss is the only icon of virtue in the vast den of iniquity that is Washington, and everyone agrees to pretend like this is real reporting. The papers would all be out of business if they couldn’t churn out stories like this.
I don’t think he’s giving Obama advice so much as just saying that the Milbank column is total bullshit.
I give him a lot of credit for calling out Milbank like that.
Even David Broder thinks Dana Millbank is a wanker.
BAWWWW NO ONE IS LEAKING TO MEEEEEE
Everybody out of the universe, now!
Broder is working on many levels here. Or maybe I am reading too much into this and it’s really all about the fact that Broder sees Dana Milbank as an irreverent young hippie who must be put in his place.
The Grand Panjandrum
Jesus Babbling Christ! It’s hard out there for a Dick Whisperer.
@Radon Chong: Dana Milbank is not a wanker-that is David Broder’s claim to fame-he is more of an uberwanker.
Davis X. Machina
Need to increase my default font size — I read that as ‘Broder is wanking on many levels here.’
My money is on Ezra Klein having written this and handed it in under Broder’s name while telling the editor “David asked me to give this to you”.
Or maybe I am reading too much into this and it’s really all about the fact that Broder sees Dana Milbank as an irreverent young hippie who must be put in his place.
Taken at face value, Broder is saying exactly what I think about this, that Emanuel allies are spreading bullshit to the Post, that the Post shouldn’t be running it, and that Dana Milbank’s advice is probably bad.
Just because Broder is usually wrong doesn’t mean he’s wrong here.
Even if I didn’t agree with Broder’s point (!), I’d applaud any case of Broder punching Millbank, for any reason.
As for me, I’m off to fire up the Improbability Drive. Now it’s gotta work!
Based on this, I’ll bet even Broder calls Milbank the Dick Whisperer in the private.
The Grand Panjandrum
BTW what the hell is going on at the Post? With the Sally Quinn thing and now Broder attacking colleagues in print it would be irresponsible not to speculate.
shorter David Broder:
Dana Millbank may think he is an ASS clown, but he is really an ass CLOWN.
OT, but just because Harold Ford has dropped the idea of running against Gillibrand for Senate, he hasn’t stopped bringing the fun:
What? no mention of all the other whispers about Rahm being half-way out the door? This all seems like damage control and watch-the-birdie.
The real issues are Obama’s judgment, temperment, and principles (if any). I bet he’s got “make-me-an-offer” tatooed on his ass. Rahm wears it on his sleeve!
I would have agreed with every word of Broder’s piece, but the part where he suggests the mullahs might be listening to suggestions that the President is a wuss was a little too Ari Fleischer-like for me. Maybe he had his tongue in cheek or something.
What, no “Black Jimmy Carter” tag?
I agree the stuff about Mullahs was out of line. I hate that bullshit.
I’m shocked that he called out his own paper instead of going with the ever popular “some say”.
This can only be about pissing on Milbank from a great height. I don’t know what he did to piss off The Dean, but that’s the only explanation for Broder’s remarkable foray into reality.
Holy shit. I actually agree with this excerpt. I am shaken to my very core.
Stopped clocks and blind squirrels come to mind.
Really, though, this sounds like a pissing contest between Brooks and Milibank more than any sound advice on the part of either. We all know where these two yahoos stand on any policy of merit.
Must have whispered dick to one too many people.
Stopped clock. Twice a day. Etc.
It is possible he didn’t mean it seriously. I loved the dry wit of the line: “Except that the chief of staff doesn’t usually force the president out.”
@Nellcote: Yeah, that struck me as well.
And Stark replaces Rangel on Ways and Means? That’ll be exciting. HCR should sail through easily, at least.
Ack! Jon Sift has died. On the way to his father’s funeral.
Bill E Pilgrim
When David Broder is accusing you of presenting petty Washington gossip as if it’s thoughtful informed journalism, you’ve really got to get out of Washington more often.
The main point of the article (that the multiple Rahm articles are all BS) is surprising coming from Broder, but obvious. What bowled me over was the following passage:
It almost sounds like he’s saying that Obama is making good decisions on important things, and that (a) the Republicans are being obstructionist, and that (b) the Democrats are either being.. er.. I can’t quite make out what Broder means there, but the point is that Broder is praising Obama for doing the “right thing” despite opposition.
This was obviously not written by David Broder. Did the smoke monster get him? Jacob?
@The Grand Panjandrum:
To help make ends meet, the publishers are filming a reality show in the newsroom. Think of it as a cross between Survivor and Lord of the Flies.
No joke! In the middle of voting day in the House a gooper took the time for a parlimentary inquiry as to how a chairman is chosen. I suspect they’re going to try, without success to get Stark out.
Must see teevee!
@Davis X. Machina:
Six of one, half a dozen of the other…
The only reason for this column is that somehow Millbank has frosted Broder’s cookies in some kind of internal pissing match. Because otherwise… it’s the first sign of the End of the World (2012 Edition).
So I was looking out my window here at work on the third floor, and I saw a couple of pigs at eye level…
@MagicPanda: The only rational explanation is that this was composed by Bizarro Broder.
True. The absolute worst “journalists” are also those who fancied themselves great campaign strategists as well. (I’m looking at YOU, every person from HRC’s campaign.)
If you asked me to describe what is wrong, lacking, banal, mediocre, and corrosively unintelligent about the modern media, I am not sure that I could do better than answer, “Dana Millbank.”
One looks at Millbank and wonders what could possibly have happened that would allow such a pinbrain to be propped up in print and television media as someone remotely worth listening to on any subject under the sun.
Broder orginally got his reputation in part because there once was a time, a very long time ago (sometime back around the Younger Dryas or so) when he wrote stuff like this on a regular basis. He may be reaching the regressing back towards childhood stage of dementia.
Great stuff. Whatever Broder is smoking should be shared immediately with other Beltway pundits.
May I add: Or from former Congressmen named Joe Scarborough.
@geg6: Y’know, I remember being fairly impressed by Ford’s Tennessee run. What the hell happened to that guy? Or was it that he only existed in my mind?
Or from anybody, anybody at all, from the other side. Jeesh, how hard is that to figure out? Did Eisenhower take advice from Rommel on how to plan the Normandy invasion? Gee, I wonder why not? Sometimes I think we have a political class mostly as a place to put all the people who are too stupid for any other occupation.
Leelee for Obama
@Sentient Puddle: No, you remember correctly. THAT Harold Ford was worth knowing about. I don’t really know who this one is.
My guess is that losing to that dipshit Corker unhinged the other Harold completely. In retrospect, that may be understandable.
Perhaps someone slipped you a tab of Ecstasy or something? But seriously, I thought he was okay back then, too. But I was looking at him through the lens of what kind of decent Dem can I possibly expect from TN? I mean, I live in a Blue State. I honestly don’t expect much in the areas of brains or policy chops from Red State Dems and he seemed head and shoulders above the usual ones.
Once he started appearing on MSNBC a lot after he lost, I realized that I had overestimated him. By quite a large amount.
Aww..crap. I feel for the family, losing your son who was enroute to your husband’s funeral? I can’t imagine the pain and heartbreak. Having just lost someone (I’m leaving for India in a couple of days to attend the last rites as eldest son).. how horrible :(
This should have a separate post, considering that Jon Swift used to post here on Balloon Juice often during the election.
Note that Broder developed an aversion to Rahm profiles just as one appeared in which Rahm was shown as opposing Baucus’s delay of the health care reform bill in a futile quest for bipartisanship. Now, I’m not sure I believe that Rahm really did play the good guy as claimed, but I don’t find it surprising that Broder got miffed at the idea that he was doing anything to oppose the blessed goal of
caving in to Republicansbipartisanship.
Why, oh why is Rahm having such a hard time whipping Obama into shape if he can be bullied by anyone who enters the room? Does Obama also have short-term memory loss and so cannot remember Rahm screaming at him to man up and chop some balls, thus he caves whenever someone new enters the room asks him to cave? Perhaps the Prez is really walking around the Oval Office exclaiming: “Hey! It’s Tony Randall!” all day long and that will be Milbank’s next big scoop. Worse Dementia Than Reagan. Tsk, tsk.
Also: I thought Rahm was “Obama’s Iago” (which would make Obama…well…you get the picture). Thanks to the WaPo we now find out Obama is actually King John and Rahm is…umm…I don’t know…a really potty mouthed Queen Elinor or something.
Poor ol’ Rahm…probably will have to go somewhere where he’s appreciated again and where men are men. Like back at the old boutique investment brokerage. :(
Well he’s right…but so what? A stopped clock is right twice a day. There’s no way Broder can claim that accomplishment.
@ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Well he’s right…but so what? A stopped clock is right twice a day. There’s no way Broder can claim that accomplishment.
Island in Alabama
Have we ever seen someone get called out and pwn’d by his fellow columnist?
He’s right, of course, but that’s a stunning lack of self-awareness there.
Come on, Broder wrote that? I know his name’s on it, but … it actually makes sense, it actually has a valid point. He must have forgotten to take his Stupid Pills® this morning.
Actually it looks like Brown may not lose. The British conservatives are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I wouldn’t be that surprised if we were saying the same thing about the Republicans after the November elections.