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May 04, 2007

50 Democratic Senators Sign "Hissy-Fit" Letter Condemning David Broder For Daring To Criticize Harry Reid

An ill wind chilling dissent blows across the American political landscape.

I guess all 50 of the Senate Democrats (did Tim Johnson actually sign this?) are supporters of Ari Fleisher's oft-quoted-out-of-context statement that in these troubling times, public figures must "watch what they say."

Veteran political columnist David Broder set off a firestorm recently when he called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid an "embarrassment'' for declaring the Iraq War "lost.''

From the assault subsequently directed at Broder -- from other journalists, political operatives, left-wing bloggers and even the entire 50-member Senate Democratic Caucus -- you'd have thought Broder had had an intimate encounter with an intern.

...

In a letter to The Washington Post that had the unmistakable whiff of a powder room manifesto, otherwise known as a hissy fit -- as opposed to a "bed-wetting tantrum,'' as Paul Begala described Broder's column -- the senators asserted that their leader is a "good listener,'' who has an "amazing ability to synthesize views and bring people together,'' and who also demonstrates a "mastery of procedure.''

It is perhaps admirable, and certainly reassuring to Reid, that his fellow senators came to his defense. But this kind of overreaction to a columnist is rare, if not unprecedented, and betrays a disturbing hostility to legitimate criticism.

...

Outrage has become such a predictable response to any difference of opinion that it's lost its heat. When everything is outrageous, nothing is.

...

Part of this devolution in discourse has been brought about, no doubt, by the volcanic explosion of the blogosphere, which has democratized free speech in a way that is not always positive or pretty. Everybody can type, but not everyone can write. Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone comes equipped with the same skills and experience.

The disinhibiting effect of anonymity, meanwhile, has unleashed something dark in the human spirit that seems to have infected the broader culture. It isn't enough to say that Broder is all wet; instead he's "foaming at the mouth,'' a "gasbag" and a "venomous'' bloviator, borrowing again from Begala.

The absence of fairness and respectful dissension -- and the decline of civility wrought by our nation's unhinged narcissism -- now there's something worthy of outrage.

Via the New Editor, which notes the vagina-fearing Iranian Foreign Minister walked out of a meeting with Condi Rice because a female violinist there was dressed "too revealingly."


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posted by Ace at 02:25 PM

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