Thursday, October 04, 2007

Broder's Real Americans

Digby describes David Broder as effectively arguing that people who disagree with him aren't real Americans. I would extend her point to suggest that Broder's position here is entirely continuous with Limbaugh's recent "phony soldiers" diatribe. Limbaugh clearly and explicitly said that even Republican soldiers who disagree with him about policy are not "real soldiers." (I know he now wishfully claims he didn't say it, but we can't let fantasy become the only standard for analyzing political fantasy.)

For me, it is the increasingly apparent continuum between the purportedly centrist Broder and the avowedly right-wing Limbaugh that fails us--that has effectively banished political disagreement, banished the public sphere in a manner of speaking.

On one side we have "real Americans" who agree with daily GOP talking points and who come to about 30% of the population in most opinion polls. On the other side we have anyone else who dares to disagree--the 70% of the American people who are so beyond the pale they can't be taken seriously and O'Reilly can call them Nazis and both parties in Congress will pass legislation saying, "Amen."

How did David Broder, icon of civic journalism, arrive at a point where he is effectively calling 70% of the American people "phony Americans"? How can he not see a problem reinforcing an anti-democratic force like Rush Limbaugh who says essentially the same thing? It is becoming difficult to avoid Greenwald's conclusion that this happens because Broder and Limbaugh ultimately agree on these sorts of things. It is becoming difficult not to conclude that the press and the Democrats capitulate because they too are closet extremists, they too are GOP rubber stamps distinguished only by an additional layer of self-loathing and bad faith.