The chronicler of dementia

It is a little known secret that David Broder lives in an assisted care facility in Washington DC and travels to the WP from time to time to share his political dementia with Fred Hiatt. And Fred always shares Broder’s dementia with the readers of the paper. This is how Broder’s dementia becomes conventional wisdom in the village instead of being the ravings of an old man who long ago parted ways with cognitive political thought. It is an embarrassment for all involved in this bit of Beltway hucksterism.

One can read a fine take-down of the latest cut and paste demented ravings of this ancient beltway maven of nonsense over at the Washington Monthly. This sentence pretty much summed up everything Broder has ever written, how Hiatt organizes the Washington Post editorial pages and the prevailing organizing belief of DC’s villagers:

Broder’s entire vision of current events appears to be filtered through a Republican lens.

It is dementia to think that everything must be filtered and vetted through Wing-nut talking points, memes, myths and fantasies. And yet that is how the Villagers think. It is pathetic to see folks promoting Broder’s chronicle of dementia as political wisdom instead of recognizing his haphazard word strings for the gibberish that they are.

Perhaps all of this helps to explain how John McCain was on Sunday talk shows this week for “the first time ever”.

Good times.






52 replies
  1. 1
    Maude says:

    How ’bout Broder trashed the assisted care facility and it wasn’t his facility to trash.
    Broder lives in Fantasy Land. He has a lot of company.

  2. 2
    c u n d gulag says:

    Isn’t it about time that Mr. Broder hung up his papyrus paper and reed pen?

    As for Johnny Mac, Christ, what if they made him the HOST of one of the MFing shows?
    That way, what with vacations, and the occasional golf or tennis tournament, maybe we’d see less of of his angry, jowly puss!

  3. 3
    Marlowe says:

    Spot on to note that Dean Boredom’s ejaculations are ‘cut and paste jobs.’ “The first time ever” had to be lifted from a CNN press release. It’s an unusual phrasing for even a hack to have written without some prompt, which he probably didn’t even process.

  4. 4
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Two things: Your link is to The Washington Monthly, not Note. I would have been pleasantly surprised to see Steve Clemons tear Broder a new one, as he tends to fetishize the Establishment himself, if not with that level of intellectual and moral bankruptcy that Broder brings to almost every column.
    Secondly, I prefer to avoid mentioning age, senility or dementia to discussions of Broder and McCain, less out of sensitivity than that all evidence suggests that these bookend overrated icons of Beltway mediocrity are unaffected by age. They are the same nitwits they were forty and fifty years ago when they were defending Nixon from Democratic overreach (plus ça change….), or damn near flunking out of Annapolis (but for the intervention of well-connected and wealthy parents), respectively.

  5. 5
    Sly says:

    Like I said, David Broder was robbed.

  6. 6
    DougMN says:

    I know its considered bad form to think this is important- but are you serious when you write that Broder lives in an assisted care facility?

  7. 7
    Napoleon says:

    @DougMN:

    I think DougJ, or perhaps someone else here, actually has a relative in the same facility and have seen him taking lunch there in the resident eating cafeteria when they have been visiting their relative.

    Hopefully they see your question and chime in with a more complete explanation.

  8. 8
    Andy K says:

    Can I haz NFL open thread?

  9. 9
    aimai says:

    Well, Broder’s function is, like the facelift for our favorite star, to reassure us that though we are getting older the world is still controlled by the same people we admired when we were younger. Broder is kept on because he’s a useful idiot, and because (some) readers feel reassured when they see his name on a column that the world isn’t being taken over by young whipper snappers with god only knows what kind of ideas. Similarly, an aging movie star has their age lines removed because they know they still have an audience as long as they can give the illusion of sameness in a shifting world.

    The same people who wanted to hear/were thought to want to hear Daniel Schorr are Broder’s presumed audience. Once they wanted to read and hear the latest, most challenging, least conventional political wisdom. Now they are scanning the headlines to be reassured that nothing really changes.

    aimai

  10. 10

    I need to stop reading BJ on sunday. It is depressing that John McCain gets any political oxygen from these shows. sigh.

  11. 11
    Jay C says:

    Does it really matter if David Broder lives in an “assisted care facility”, a penthouse at The Watergate, or a townhouse in Georgetown? The problem isn’t his residential situation, but the fact that he continues to crank out the same stale outdated tripe column after column (typically some whiny variant on “why can’t we all get along?” ), and not only never gets called on his BS, but is instead feted as “The Dean”, and given inches of Op-Ed space to spout his nonsense.

  12. 12
    Citizen_X says:

    Anybody wants to really get depressed, go read this Brad DeLong talk (pdf link) that marcopolo linked to in one of the earlier threads, discussing our missed opportunities for dealing with the economy. He actually ends it with “Let me conclude by saying that the future looks bleak,” and I have to say I can’t find a flaw in his logic.

    I’ve got to start drinking early today. Football ain’t gonna do it.

  13. 13
    dmsilev says:

    Simply put, it’s time for “The Dean” to be switched to an emeritus position. Maybe he could become Sally Quinn’s co-editor for the On Faith e-column.

    dms

  14. 14
    Dennis G. says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:
    I make that mistake all the fucking time. For some reason I transpose the names of those two site. Perhaps it is a sign of my own early dementia. Fixed. Thanks.

    As for the comments on his age, it may be in bad form to mention that as we are all on our way there. But most of us do not get a platform to recycle the same old same old over and over and over.

    In most ways his age and where he lives do not matter as he was this full of shit 40 years. I made the connection because the definition of dementia (the usually progressive deterioration of intellectual functions such as memory that can occur while other brain functions such as those controlling movement and the senses are retained) seemed to fit as an apt description of Beltway wisdom.

  15. 15
    JenJen says:

    Here’s another excellent take-down, from the inimitable Digby. She kicks it off with the same reaction I had when I read Broder’s column:

    This may be the most absurd column David Broder has ever run. And that’s saying something. In fact think it may go beyond anything a pundit has ever written, diving headlong into a fiction so ridiculous you have to wonder if he’s joking — or insane.

    Or, like DennisG said, living in an assisted living facility near the DC area.

    We’ve seen up-is-downism before, in the run-up to Iraq. But this latest trip down the rabbit hole is one wild ride. Hardcore right wingers are now centrists, the pliable Democrats are the obstructionists, rich people are being oppressed as they get richer and richer, the economy is failing so we have to destroy it. I’m dizzy.

    Me too. :-(

  16. 16

    @Dennis G.:

    Dementia: the usually progressive deterioration of intellectual functions such as memory that can occur while other brain functions such as those controlling movement and the senses are retained.

    You’re talking about me again. :-)

    Except on days when arthritis is especially active and I’m clumsy. [Does that mean that on those days I am no longer demented?]

  17. 17
    Citizen Alan says:

    Broder is on my personal list of individuals whose death I plan to celebrate with a big party, complete with noisemakers and balloons. The fact that a (c)overt fascist is “the Dean” of American punditry was my first big clue that the entirety of the media establishment could be safely ignored.

  18. 18
    srv says:

    As a nihilist, I hope for a Tea Party takeover just because it might provide an opportunity to see them hang Dave. I wonder what his last words will be?

  19. 19
    ricky says:

    @dmsilev:
    Sally would propbably resign rather than be forced to share a column with a much older man who smells of misguided urine and days of journalistic glory long gone by.

  20. 20
    martha says:

    @Jay C: Actually, it does matter. If he has dementia, a real illness that afflicts many people (including my mother), it is the height of cynicism and awful irony that his employer continues to accept these columns. But then, we know who his employer is and who his editor is.

    I’m not saying he shouldn’t continue to write–of course he should. But not for the effing Washington Post or NY Times or SF Chronicle or Topeka Gazette on matters of national politics.

    Someone should take the keys away and leave the man with some honor before it is all stripped clean away. Obviously, his editor won’t and his children are scared shitless to do so.

  21. 21
    Ruckus says:

    As one who has still has one parent left in a nursing home I think this is a very apt description. Some of those in the homes are not as far gone past the age of cognitive thought that they can actually view the world and see it as it is. But most are rooted in the long distant past and the lens on their world is blurred and distorted. Most seem to remember a past that never existed, only one they dreamed about. That’s not bad for them and doesn’t hurt anyone else if not disseminated to the rest of the world. But here we have someone whose view of the world has been wrong for decades and is still looked upon as a voice of reason.
    That’s the crux of the matter. Not the description or that someone will make the extension that all old people are demented. Many of us are or will be demented one day as our bodies can frequently be preserved longer than our minds. The trick is to actually use the damn thing, keep it warmed up and operational, not let it wither up and become useless.

  22. 22
    jwb says:

    @Dennis G.: I’ve asked this before and don’t recall getting a good answer, but how did David Broder ever get to occupy the place he does? He doesn’t write well, he doesn’t think well, there doesn’t even state conventional wisdom of the Village very well. He doesn’t seem to have rich relatives or have married well or anything. So how the hell did he come to occupy this position? It’s a really a mystery.

  23. 23

    @JenJen:

    This may be the most absurd column David Broder has ever run

    isn’t that redundant? also, too, he doesn’t run his own columns. I blame Fred Hiatt for that shit.

  24. 24
    Napoleon says:

    BTW the newest Wikileaks story are now posted on NYT and Guardian websites.

  25. 25
    Pamela F says:

    Fantastic post, dennis.

  26. 26
    Pamela F says:

    Fantastic post, Dennis.

    I wish that more folks would link to Steve Benen because he takes it to the TGOP on a daily basis.

  27. 27
    Ruckus says:

    BTW the newest Wikileaks story are now posted on NYT and Guardian websites.
    Wikileaks does not load for me. I hope that it is just busy.

  28. 28
    James E. Powell says:

    @jwb:

    I’ve asked this before and don’t recall getting a good answer, but how did David Broder ever get to occupy the place he does?

    I’ve asked the same question about nearly every member of the Village press/media. None of them are particularly skilled writers. None are really experts in anything that requires expertise. Their employers don’t seem to mind that they are wrong about nearly everything.

    It isn’t just that they are useless, it’s that they are useless and still high-paid and high-status. It doesn’t make sense.

  29. 29
    Mike G says:

    Broder is to the editorial page what Beetle Bailey or Mary Worth are to the comics page.

    They long ago lost whatever small measure of appeal they once had, but somehow they continue on because a handful of geezers who see them as a symbol of nostalgia will bellow if they are removed; so it’s easier to just leave them rotting in place.

  30. 30
    Pongo says:

    From Eschaton today:

    “It is remarkable that all serious people agree that the best way to deal with struggling economies is to plunge them as deeply into recession as possible and steal money from poor people to cover the bad debts of billionaires.”

  31. 31

    @Mike G:

    Broder is to the editorial page what Beetle Bailey or Mary Worth are to the comics page.

    That is an insult to Beetle Bailey and Mary Worth, good sir.

  32. 32
    Sly says:

    @srv:

    As a nihilist, I hope for a Tea Party takeover just because it might provide an opportunity to see them hang Dave. I wonder what his last words will be?

    The Democrats… (choke)… are just as bad.

  33. 33
    dmsilev says:

    @ricky: So far, I’m not seeing any problems with this scenario…

    dms

  34. 34
    ricky says:

    @dmsilev: I was hoping you’d say she didn’t have a problem with that on her wedding day.

  35. 35
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @Sly: awesome… awesome….

  36. 36
    Matthew says:

    @James E. Powell:

    It isn’t just that they are useless, it’s that they are useless and still high-paid and high-status. It doesn’t make sense.

    Useless if their purpose is to disseminate information and provoke reasoned debate. Not so much if their purpose is to spout and reinforce propaganda. Bad writing is good for that purpose because the mind slides past it, and stupidity/triviality is immensely useful because stupid/trivial people are easier to control.

    The established media exists to filter information as completely as possible through a status-quo filter so that business can continue. Nothing more.

  37. 37
    iriedc says:

    @Mike G: I’ll have you know that the Washington Post comics pages dropped Mary Worth some time ago to make more room for Judge Parker, Dennis the Menace, Family Circle, Garfield, Hagar the Horrible, Prince Valiant, Mark Trail and Classic Peanuts.

  38. 38
    Ozymandias, King of Ants says:

    Broder is asshat. This much is clear to anyone who reads even a paragraph of his writing. I don’t believe the crowd here would need much convincing of that. But living in an assisted living facility has nothing to do with it, and you know it.

    I don’t give a rodent’s derrière if he lives in an assisted living facility, or in Fred Hiatt’s ass, or in Dick Cheney’s man-sized safe.

    Or all three.

    But the notion that anyone in an assisted living facility ipso facto has dementia is ludicrous. As is the notion that anyone who needs help with ADL is somehow cognitively deficient.

    (And yes, I’m disabled. And yes, I spent about a month in an assisted living facility when I was first recovering. I was 28 at the time and the guy across the hall was 17.)

  39. 39
    Mr Furious says:

    @aimai:

    The same people who wanted to hear/were thought to want to hear Daniel Schorr are Broder’s presumed audience. Once they wanted to read and hear the latest, most challenging, least conventional political wisdom. Now they are scanning the headlines to be reassured that nothing really changes.

    I didn’t particularly await Daniel Schorr’s latest taped commentary with bated breath, but he was still throwing fastballs ’til the end—something that put a smile on my face each time I heard him—unlike the shit served up by Broder and his ilk.

    Broder carries water for guys like Nixon, while Schorr was literally on Nixon’s Enemies List.

    David Broder isn’t / wasn’t / never will be fit to carry Schorr’s jock. The only thing they have in common is (was) advanced age. To mention the two of them together is an insult to Schorr.

  40. 40
    Joseph Nobles says:

    OT: The undisclosed donation of millions to the 527’s and other groups bothers me, but I find the counter argument that unions have all this undisclosed money laughable. So here’s my proposal.

    The identity of any person or entity making donations to a political fund of any stripe over federal individual limits must be disclosed. I guess this should be a quarterly thing, although with the ease of disclosure over the Internet, it could be a monthly or weekly report.

    The identity of any person or entity making donations over $10,000 to a political fund must be disclosed instantly over the Internet. If you’re racking up those kind of donations, you are able to get those names out onto the Web. Well, let’s say next business day, just to be fair.

    I highly doubt that union members are making donations above $10,000 to their union’s political fund. I doubt they are over the federal individual limit, to be honest.

    Thoughts?

  41. 41
    Chris says:

    @JenJen:

    We’ve seen up-is-downism before, in the run-up to Iraq. But this latest trip down the rabbit hole is one wild ride. Hardcore right wingers are now centrists, the pliable Democrats are the obstructionists, rich people are being oppressed as they get richer and richer, the economy is failing so we have to destroy it. I’m dizzy.

    “Bipartisanship” would be so much more fun if it didn’t translate to “Republicans want, Democrats give, and now everything’s good because Republicans are happy.”

  42. 42

    That first sentence needs to be engraved on a 50′ block of marble and the letters filled with gold.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    mclaren says:

    Really? I thought David Broder was autistic and uncommunicative and wheelchair-bound, and his “columns” resulted from those bizarre uncredentialed people who claim to communicate with autistic children by means of incoherent drawings, interpretive dance, etc.

    That would explain a lot.

    INTERPRETER: “So what do we want to write our column about today, David?”

    DAVID BRODER: (Drools and gibbers while rocking back and forth in his wheelchair.)

    INTERPRETER: “Obama’s failed presidency as a result of his lack of bipartisanship! Great! Why don’t you draw something and I’ll start writing your column, David?”

    DAVID BRODER: (grasps a pencil and jerks and twitches, producing a Rorschach-like blot on the paper)

    INTERPRETER: “Okay, got it. `Washington remains aghast at the intransigence of the Democrats while Obama’s presidency continues its downward spiral…'”

  45. 45
    mclaren says:

    @Mr Furious:

    Broder carries water for guys like Nixon, while Schorr was literally on Nixon’s Enemies List.

    If memory serves, this was literally true. Didn’t Broder vehemently object to Nixon’s impeachment because it would “divide the country in a time of crisis”?

    And Broder argued against prosecuting Reagan for the Iran-Contra treason for the same reasons.

    Broder has been a bootlicking little obsequious butt weasel for the criminal lunatic far right for 35 years.

  46. 46
    Mr. Wonderful says:

    @Mr Furious–

    Well said. As much as I adore aimai I can’t go along with her equivalence. Of course Schorr was as constrained and tempered as anyone else on NPR, and nothing he ever broadcast had me shaking my fist and yelling Right on!

    But you could tell he knew a liar and a criminal when he saw one. Broder, meanwhile, thinks that lying and criminality are necessary and even sometimes endearing quirks among “our” political class. The problem isn’t that the world, or even the Post readership, think he’s wise. It’s that he does.

  47. 47
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    I know a few things about Broder.

    One is that nobody knows who he is, outside of a small cult of insane people.

    Another is that nobody who is not insane would give a flying fuck of a rat’s ass what he said about anything. He lives in an entirely self-referential world of bullshit.

    The last is that somebody should take a count of how many threads on this blog have focused on this senile old motherfucker over the years, and then find out, Why?

  48. 48
    dlnelson says:

    why does anyone listen to these old folks. For some reason they always make the news. I have sent mail after mail to David Gregory, telling him his show is a snooze fest. I have told Dianne F. she is too old to re run. Let someone else have a chance. I have told Barb Boxer, I am not happy, and I dislike Joe L. In fact, I was banned from her web site for awhile. I am one of those folks who say it like it is, I do not dance. I have had it with the spineless, it is time for all out honesty. Quit talking on blogs, do it over and over in the newspapers, senators, congresspeople, etc. write them daily. Complain to your senator, congressperson, etc. Most of them are so old, why do we even think they are relevant. Most of them are legacy babies, and they will not go without a fight. It is wall to wall right wingers, book deals, washington journal, talk radio, c span, etc. They control the air waves. We have to work harder. I hold democrats just as responsible, this country needs new blood. It is the same old, same old, and I am sick of it. If the demos do not get a real plan, and a solid plan, I am convinced they deserve what they get. I will go back to watching HBO oz and get the real deal.

  49. 49
    dww44 says:

    @dlnelson:

    Actually, I guess I qualify for your old group, but endorse absolutely everything you say. Complain where it matters and let the younger folks have a knock at fixing stuff. If enough of us did this, we would begin to reclaim the middle and shift it leftwards from the way far right place it is, thanks to the conservative domination of the airwaves, C-Span, most especially included.

    For a couple of years I had frequent LTE’s in my paper, railing against their domination by conservative syndicated writers. No Broder though, just George Will and a number of others, including Sowell and Williams, given that this small city is majority African-American. That way they get to run ONLY 1 liberal columnist and he’s black, but improve their political correctness quotient by carrying 2 conservative black columnists, plus a whole plethora of other syndicated columnists including 2 local ones, one who’s arrogant and dumb, the other who’s arrogant but not so dumb.

    I am on my two GOP Senators email list and I occasionally complain about their votes. I just sent a letter to the administrator of the hospital/nursing home where my Mom has been for 5 years, with the Reagan type dementia. The kind that takes forever, because she’s physically healthy.

    The letter to the hospital was to respectfully request that they unlock and change the channel on the ceiling mounted TV outside their gift shop from Fox News to the Weather Channel or a sports one. No response yet. I just might sic the ACLU on them if they ignore my request to dispense with the forced Fox viewing. Told them it was anti-democratic to force feed a biased propaganda network on the general public.

  50. 50
    JoyfulA says:

    @Ozymandias, King of Ants:
    I agree. Age and intellectual acuity aren’t well correlated with physical abilities. We might better conclude that Broder and his op-ed colleagues reside in the dementia unit of a nursing home, because that’s what we really mean.

  51. 51
    aimai says:

    @Mr Furious:

    Schorr was well known to be entirely ga ga by the end–those little “spots” were heavily edited so they would make sense. And, sure, he was “literally on Nixon’s enemies list” but if you listened to him by the end he was a peddler of the most generic conventional wisdom of all time which is, by definition at this point, centrist claptrap. I agree that he was trotted out on NPR because he was a *liberal* icon instead of a centrist/right icon but my point was he reassured old voters.

    aimai

  52. 52
    Mr Furious says:

    aimai,

    I missed out on NPR for most of 2008-2009, but prior to that I recall Schorr as being a pretty sharp critic of all things Bush/Cheney/GOP. And if I’m not mistaken, he was still on the air earlier this year when I returned to the listening area, and he had some good commentaries.

    I don’t care if the pieces needed plenty of editing or post-production, Schorr wasn’t selling the same right-wing apologist / bipartisanship-scolding bullshit as Broder on his worst day, and you do him a disservice to link the two.

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