Pulitzer-prize winning columnist David Broder of the Washington Post died today. He was 81.
I think Broder got kind of a bum rap from my fellow progressive writers and bloggers. It's true, he had a phrase named after him -- "high broderism" -- and in fact, he deserved it. But the thing about phrases like that is that they have a large element of truth.
High broderism is more or less bipartisanship for the sake of bipartisanship. Doesn't matter if one idea is actually better than the other -- all that matters is meeting halfway. Compromise is king. This thinking is the protective buffer around an insider-elite in Washington, D.C. We D.C. beltway-types know better than you... if only you'd compromise...
It can drive you nuts, because it distracts from advocacy of really good ideas, no matter where they come from.
I spent a good deal of time in Washington, and I always had a pretty healthy mix of distaste for, and longing to be a part of the beltway elite. You can't help it -- evil as they are, you want into that special club (and a guy like me was never, ever getting in -- at least not above board; maybe working the front desk taking tickets or checking coats or something...)
I kind of liked reading Broder. I frequently disagreed with him, and when he was in "full broderism" mode, it drove me nuts. But he was great, and there was rarely a time when I read something was wasn't left at least thinking.
He and his family will be in our thoughts.