It's bad enough that Washington Post columnist David Broder's latest paint-by-numbers lamentation of partisanship and obstructionism credulously treats John Boehner's election-season attacks on Congress as sincere efforts at reform. What's worse is that in failing to hold those most responsible for egregious acts of partisanship accountable for their actions, Broder actually encourages the very behavior he attempts to wish away.
Early on, Broder unleashes one of the most Broder-esque sentences imaginable:
That is par for the course in this campaign season, and it represents the sort of reflexive partisanship that voters are understandably sick of.
(According to pundits like Broder, voters are always understandably sick of reflexive partisanship. My own suspicion is that actual voters are more sick of sky-high unemployment rates than of political adversaries behaving in adversarial fashion, and that belief in bipartisanship as an end rather than a means is pretty much exclusive to the chattering class.)
Broder then insists that we take seriously John Boehner's criticism of Congress:
In such a setting, it might well behoove people to assume that Boehner should be taken seriously when he acknowledges that the reputation of this Congress is so bad that it cries out for reform.
Incredible. When the leader of the party that does not control Congress says a month before congressional elections that the reputation of this Congress is bad and cries out for reform, that's an allegation, not an acknowledgement. It's an attempt to encourage unhappiness with Congress for the purpose of gaining control of it, not rueful acknowledgment. Broder's blindness to that obvious reality leads him to, as Steve Benen put it, overestimate Boehner's capacity for seriousness.
Here's an example of that overestimation:
Two years ago, Deborah Howell -- the late Washington Post ombudsman -- wrote a column responding to the reporting of Harper's Ken Silverstein which detailed how the Post's David Broder and Bob Woodward benefited from speaking fees despite a Post policy against such action and Broder having frowned on the practice in the past.
Silverstein wrote of Howell's column at the time:
Howell acknowledges that Broder and Woodward broke the Post's own rules and "did not check with editors on the appearances Silverstein mentioned." She extracts an apology from Broder, and says the Post "needs an unambiguous, transparent well-known policy on speaking fees and expenses. . . . Fees should be accepted only from educational, professional or other nonprofit groups for which lobbying and politics are not a major focus–with no exceptions."
But Howell goes very easy on Broder—who has been flagrantly dishonest with his own employer and with Howell–and Woodward, who is allowed to glide away from some very embarrassing matters. Also, Howell deals with only a few speeches by Woodward and Broder, even though Woodward gave dozens and Broder gave roughly a score. I understand that she could not deal with each instance individually (nor did I), but she could have mentioned prominently the fact that the two men, and especially Woodward, are regulars on the talk circuit and that the problem is not restricted to the few speeches she discusses in her column.
Meanwhile, Woodward told Howell that he turns down "lots" of speech requests and gives "many" for free. That's nice, but irrelevant, he's still broken Post policy by receiving payment for a number of the speeches he did accept. He also called Post policy "fuzzy and ambiguous." So why didn't he ask anyone at the paper to clear things up for him before accepting so many speaking appearances for fees that apparently top (easily) $1 million?
Finally, Woodward told Howell "all his speaking fees — which range from $15,000 to $60,000 — go to a foundation he started in the 1990s." He added, "It's a straight shot into the foundation that gives money to legitimate charities. I think that's doing good work."
St. Woodward can don his halo and gaze in the mirror all he likes, but he really shouldn't treat Post readers with such contempt. The facts are clear. He reaps significant tax savings by giving the fees to a "charity" that gives away a small fraction of its assets, and by far the biggest beneficiary of his foundation is Sidwell Friends, the elite private school sitting atop a reported $30 million endowment and attended by his own children.
According to a new report it looks like nothing much has changed. Silverstein writes this week that Broder and Woodward continue to take speaking fees despite the dust-up and eventual contrition from two years ago. Silverstein writes that Broder keynoted a conference last May sponsored by GenSpring Family Offices at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida:
Broder spoke at a dinner on the conference's first night, immediately after attendees had returned from a visit to the International Polo Club. The following day the conference offered a panel called "Uncle Sam Comes to Dinner: Washington's Increased Presence in the Ultra High Net Worth Family," during which the speakers analyzed "proposed and pending legislative agendas to assess how healthcare and tax reform might affect your family enterprise."
Among the panelists was Patricia Soldano, a lobbyist who heads up GenSpring's office in southern California and who is president of the Policy and Taxation Group, "an organization that educates on the destructive effects of the estate tax to families and their businesses." In other words, the conference Broder spoke at was not only hosted by a business with significant interests in Washington, but the group's lobbying agenda was a notable component of the event.
Broder writes about financial reform and tax policy with some regularity. Last July, two months after the GenSpring affair, he wrote a column in which he cited a poll by a group called Third Way, which asked whether voters would prefer job creation programs that relied on new government investments or cutting taxes on business. "Cutting taxes on business won 54 percent to 32 percent," Broder wrote. "This sounds to me like Ronald Reagan returning to whomp Barack Obama. Maybe all the Republicans have to do is to reject the Bush label and bring Reagan back for an encore."
According to Silverstein's report, Woodward to continues to speak at groups with "big interests" in Washington:
A review of tax records shows that [Woodward's] foundation continues to give about half of its donations -- about $230,000 during the past three years -- to Sidwell Friends.
In November of 2009, he spoke to the Semiconductor Industry Association Award Dinner at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose. Last month, he spoke to the Grocery Manufacturers of America at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. (Jenna Bush was another keynoter.)
Silverstein did reach out to Broder and Woodward for comment over email but neither have yet replied.
Earlier, Eric Boehlert pointed out the silliness of David Broder's description of the Tea Partiers and Ronald Reagan as a "populist." Broder's lack of perspective is perhaps inevitable, as it seems he based his entire column on the views of a single American Enterprise Institute writer.
Broder's column comes in at fewer than 600 words, but that's enough space for him to introduce Henry Olsen of AEI, refer to an article Olsen wrote, indicate that he interviewed Olsen, quote Olsen half a dozen times, and paraphrase him a few more. There is no indication that Broder talked to anyone else or conducted any research other than reading Olsen's paper and interviewing him. In short, it isn't entirely clear why Broder's byline appears on the piece rather than Olsen's, perhaps with an "as-told-to" credit for Broder.
Media Matters' Jamison Foser has looked at Washington Post's David Broder extensively, concluding in a February column about the "myth" of the Post's "liberal" op-ed pages:
Let's start with David Broder -- he is, after all, the much-lauded "dean" of the Washington press corps, and frequently described as a liberal. In the context of the Post's roster of opinion writers, he may be one. But from his 1969 complaint that nasty anti-war activists were out to "break" an unfairly maligned president Nixon to his 2006 description of anti-war activists as "elitists" and his Cheney-esque 2007 slur that Democrats have little "sympathy for" the military, David Broder has made clear that he is no liberal.
I've previously laid out at some length the case against David Broder's sterling reputation. This is a man who thought that President Clinton should have resigned because he "may have" lied about an affair, but who didn't think President Bush should have done so after he lied his way into a war. Not even when he declared Bush "lawless and reckless" did he think resignation was in order. And, having piously insisted that he and his beltway buddies don't like being lied to when Bill Clinton wasn't telling the truth about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, Broder lavishes praise upon Sarah Palin, a politician who only lies when she speaks. And when she writes.
In his 2006 column declaring Bush "lawless and reckless," Broder seemed more upset with the "vituperative, foul-mouthed bloggers on the left" and gratuitously slammed Al Gore and John Kerry for a "know-it-all arrogance rankled Midwesterners such as myself" (no surprise, really: During the 2000 campaign, Broder bashed Gore for the sin of offering too many details about "what he wants to do as president.")
In 2005, Broder blamed congressional Democrats -- who were in the minority -- for a failure to conduct oversight hearings; in 2007, when Democrats were in charge, he bashed them for doing so. He's against investigating torture, and he was against investigating the outing of a CIA agent. But he's in favor of investigating the Clintons' marriage (not the marriages of Republicans, though!).
Anyway: there's much more here, including the fact that David Broder praised President Bush's response to Katrina. What more do you need to know?
Now, Eric Alterman -- a senior fellow at Center for American Progress and a Distinguished Professor of English at Brooklyn College -- writes that the Post "ousted" David Weigel for displaying "bias" in his emails to a private, off-the-record listerserve but they continue to let Broder work despite the fact that he "has clearly showed bias and retains his job."
Is there anything more predictable than a David Broder column lamenting an excess of partisanship on both sides? If so, it's a David Broder column lamenting an excess of partisanship on both sides without actually providing an example of excessive partisanship by Democrats.
Broder begins with a singularly odd complaint: that among members of Congress there is "no consensus about the accomplishments or outrages of this historic session." Why on earth would Broder expect there to be consensus among members of Congress about accomplishments and outrages? He does understand that we have multiple political parties because we don't all agree on everything, right?
Broder then attempts to explain why voters don't like Congress:
Most Republicans I have talked with say they are convinced their outnumbered legislators have done the right thing by denying virtually all their votes to Obama and using every device possible to slow down or derail his agenda.
Most of the Democrats I interviewed are just as certain that the folks in the White House and the House speaker's office were justified in pushing the health-care bill to final passage in the face of polls showing that most voters were opposed.
But the partisanship on both sides was a turnoff to independents.
Notice that what Broder describes the Democrats doing -- passing health care reform despite (some) polling suggesting it was unpopular -- isn't actually "partisanship." Depending on your point of view, it might be called "leadership" or "defying the will of the people" -- but it isn't "partisanship." Broder continues:
They were the people who had taken Obama seriously when he said he wanted to move Washington beyond the recriminations of the George W. Bush years. Regardless of their views on health care -- or the economy or education or anything else -- they are turned off by the inability of both parties to overcome their parochial concerns and agree on steps to curb the joblessness and debt that are consuming the country.
But Broder offers no example of Democratic inability to "overcome their parochial concerns" in order to get things done. Indeed, Democrats have repeatedly incorporated Republican-friendly ideas into their initiatives. Last year's stimulus package, for example, was smaller and more tax-cut-laden than many economists thought it should be, in a largely-unsuccessful effort to woo Republicans. And the health care package contained many ideas Republicans had previously supported before deciding to oppose anything and everything President Obama wanted to do, just because he wanted to do it.
And that is, in fact, what the Republicans decided to do. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has admitted as much. That is partisanship. Democrats passing legislation despite a lack of Republican support even after Democrats incorporated their ideas -- that is not partisanship.
Maybe that's why Broder didn't actually explain specifically what each party has done that constitutes an excess of "partisanship" -- if he did, it would be quite obvious that he's drawing a false equivalence and setting up a scenario in which the only way Democrats can avoid criticism for being partisan is by capitulating completely to Republicans.
On February 11, Washington Post columnist David Broder wrote his impressions of former Gov. Sarah Palin's address to the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, in which he described her as "by all odds a threat to the more uptight Republican aspirants such as Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty -- and potentially, to [President] Obama as well." Broder attributed her power to her "pitch-perfect recital of the populist message that has worked in campaigns past":
Her lengthy Saturday night keynote address to the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville and her debut on the Sunday morning talk show circuit with Fox News' Chris Wallace showed off a public figure at the top of her game -- a politician who knows who she is and how to sell herself, even with notes on her palm.
This was not the first time that Palin has impressed me. I gave her high marks for her vice presidential acceptance speech in St. Paul. But then, and always throughout that campaign, she was laboring to do more than establish her own place. She was selling a ticket headed by John McCain against formidable Democratic opposition and burdened by the legacy of the Bush administration.
Three days after this stirring tribute to the former governor, Broder devoted his latest column to the recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. Given his assessment that Palin has "locked herself firmly in the populist embrace," it should come as no surprise that Broder's coverage of the poll results completely ignores one of the most significant findings: that very few Americans actually hold a favorable view of Palin, and even fewer consider her to be qualified for the presidency:
Although Palin is a tea party favorite, her potential as a presidential hopeful takes a severe hit in the survey. Fifty-five percent of Americans have unfavorable views of her, while the percentage holding favorable views has dipped to 37, a new low in Post-ABC polling.
There is a growing sense that the former Alaska governor is not qualified to serve as president, with more than seven in 10 Americans now saying she is unqualified, up from 60 percent in a November survey. Even among Republicans, a majority now say Palin lacks the qualifications necessary for the White House.
Palin has lost ground among conservative Republicans, who would be crucial to her hopes if she seeks the party's presidential nomination in 2012. Forty-five percent of conservatives now consider her as qualified for the presidency, down sharply from 66 percent who said so last fall.
Among all Republicans polled, 37 percent now hold a "strongly favorable" opinion of Palin, about half the level recorded when she burst onto the national stage in 2008 as Sen. John McCain's running mate.
Among Democrats and independents, assessments of Palin also have eroded. Six percent of Democrats now consider her qualified for the presidency, a drop from 22 percent in November; the percentage of independents who think she is qualified fell to 29 percent from 37 percent.
If this is Palin at the top of her game ...
David Broder does not like politicians who lie. I know this because he said so himself, in an infamous 1998 Sally Quinn article about why the Washington Establishment was so angry at Bill Clinton for lying about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky:
"The judgment is harsher in Washington," says The Post's Broder. "We don't like being lied to."
That suggestion -- that Washington, DC's elite residents take greater offense at being lied to than the simpletons outside the nation's capital -- is the kind of thing that would draw heaping piles of scorn from the political media had it come from a liberal Democrat. But it came from David Broder, beloved "dean" of the Washington Press corps, and so nobody said much of anything about his preening moral superiority.
Anyway: David Broder does not like politicians who lie. He does not like being lied to. Lying, according to David Broder, is a Very Bad Thing. So bad that David Broder suggested Clinton should resign because "he may well have lied to a federal grand jury." May well have -- the mere possibility that Clinton had lied about sex was enough for David Broder, who very much does not like lying politicians, to call for resignation.
Since I know how much David Broder hates politicians who lie, it was a little odd when he refused to call for President Bush's resignation, though Bush lied about matters far more grave than Monica Lewinsky, and though Broder denounced Bush as a "lawless and reckless" president who "started a war he cannot finish, drove the government into debt and repeatedly defied the Constitution." I mean, if the possibility that Clinton had lied about sex was enough to necessitate his resignation, surely the certainty that Bush had lied, coupled with his "lawless and reckless" defiance of the Constitution should require nothing less?
I mean, it simply can't be that David Broder holds Democrats to a higher standard than Republicans, or that he thinks lying only counts as lying when it's about sex. Can it? No: That does not sound like the esteemed "dean." It can't be. Must be a fluke.
So, this morning I read Broder's celebration of Sarah Palin's virtues. Now, Sarah Palin, as you might remember, has built her entire national reputation on lies. From the moment John McCain plucked her out of obscurity in the summer of 2008 until the time she finishes her next sentence, she will have said little of any real significance that was true. Her repeated "bridge to nowhere" boast -- a remarkably enthusiastic and frequent lie. That bit about selling a state jet on e-Bay? Bunk. Her claim that Alaska produces 20 percent of America's energy? A lie in 2008, and still a lie today. "Death panels"? The lie of the year. You get the point: Sarah Palin tells lies.
But, oddly -- because, remember, he does not like being lied to -- David Broder didn't mention Palin's history of untruths in his column today. Well, I thought, Broder must have thought he had covered that ground often enough in the past that it could go unmentioned today. So I fired up the way-back machine and read all 23 Washington Post columns in which David Broder has mentioned Sarah Palin, certain that I would find numerous harsh denunciations of a politician who displays an open hostility towards the truth.
In doing so, I found Broder gushing over Palin's "deft humor and pointed questions" and wondering "Why in the world has the McCain campaign kept Palin under wraps" and praising her as "cool as a cucumber, comfortable with her talking points and unrattled by anything that was thrown at her." But that wasn't so shocking -- Broder did, after all, note in today's column that her tea party speech last weekend "was not the first time that Palin has impressed me."
But this part ... Well, this was a little surprising: Not once -- not one time -- in those 23 columns has Broder so much as hinted at Palin's dishonesty. Not even in a casual, polite "that wasn't quite true" kind of way.
Well, you could knock me over with a feather. I mean, David Broder can't stand being lied to. He told us himself. You remember: Back when he was talking about a Democrat, and the lies were about sex rather than everything else.
Washington Post columnist David Broder thinks Barack Obama is trying to do too much -- and that it's his own fault:
Obama, on the other hand, came into Christmas Day with an overloaded set of self-imposed tasks. He was winding down one inherited war in Iraq and expanding another one in Afghanistan. He was renegotiating our relations with other powers in the world and attempting to enlist their help in confronting outlaw regimes in Iran and North Korea. And simultaneously, at home, he was being pressed to rescue a badly wounded economy while lobbying a reluctant but allied Congress to pass controversial, ambitious changes in health care, climate control and financial regulation.
Raise your hand if you think dealing with two "inherited" wars and rescuing a "badly wounded economy" constitute "self-imposed tasks." How about dealing with financial regulation and a badly broken health care system? Anyone think those are optional? Yeah, I didn't think so.
Broder contrasts Obama's purportedly full plate with the ease with which President Bush shifted into fighting terrorism:
Bush reacted with anger and a determination to punish the people who wreaked the havoc.
For Obama to establish a new priority would obviously be much more difficult than it appeared to be for Bush. And this new priority would be a much less comfortable fit for Obama than leading a war on terrorism was for Bush.
Seems like there should have been room in there somewhere to mention that as "comfortable" as Bush was punishing "the people who wreaked the havoc," he was also pretty darn comfortable punishing the people who didn't. Or that Bush's obsession with the people who didn't wreak the havoc probably contributed to the fact that Osama bin Laden remains free to this day.
But Broder didn't bother mentioning either of those things. I guess that's why he's called the "best of the best."
From David Broder this morning:
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who is incapable of dissembling, quickly made it clear that the withdrawal will begin -- not end -- that year, and only if battlefield conditions permit.
Incapable? Really? Seems pretty unlikely to me that we've ever had a Defense Secretary who is incapable of dissembling, or that we ever will.
I recently suggested -- in response to another Broder column -- that it might be time for the Washington Post to consider term limits for its columnists. The fact that Broder has become so enamored of -- or is it "chummy with"? -- government officials that he believes they are incapable of obscuring the truth is certainly an argument in favor of such a preposition.
That kind of blind faith no doubt contributes to the eventual need for sentences like this one, from Broder's December 28, 2003 column:
Democratic critics accuse me of "falling for" Colin Powell's arguments for intervention, which is correct[.]
And it also leads to passages like this one, from Broder's Washington Post colleague Richard Cohen:
The evidence [Colin Powell] presented to the United Nations-some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail-had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn't accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool-or, possibly, a Frenchman-could conclude otherwise.
The clincher, as it had to be, was not a single satellite photo or the intercept of one Iraqi official talking to another. And it was not, as it never could be, the assertion that some spy or Iraqi deserter had made this or that charge -- because, of course, who can prove any of that? It was the totality of the material and the fact that Powell himself had presented it. In this case, the messenger may have been more important than the message. [Emphasis added]
You've probably noticed that Washington Post columnist David Broder and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are having a bit of a spat. Again. What you may have missed was the Beltway media rallying around Broder via a Politico article earlier this week:
In an age of ideological divisions, Broder is widely known as a fair arbiter on Capitol Hill, a journalist who's as interested in the process as he is in the policy and politics. He favors pragmatists over fierce ideologues and speaks up for decorum in Washington politics.
David Broder called for Bill Clinton's resignation over lies told about an affair, then refused to call for George W. Bush's resignation over lies told about a war, and refuses to explain the disparity. He writes extensively about the marriages of Democrats, but when asked if he plans to write a similar article about Republicans, replies, "Why would I write such an article? I know of no occasion for that." Broder may be "widely known as a fair arbiter," but it's hard to justify that reputation if you look at his actual track record. Which I have, in great detail.
As for Broder's staunch defense of decorum in Washington politics: that, too, is rather inconsistent. Or perhaps when he dines on quail with his good buddy, the famously indecorous Karl Rove, he does so in order to urge his pal to tone down the partisan attacks? (Or maybe Broder's insistence that reporters should apologize for Rove for -- correctly -- suggesting Rove was part of a campaign to out Valerie Plame was an example of his defense of DC decorum? Criticizing someone for outting a CIA agent is so rude.)
Anyway, take a look at the things Broder is praised for in that Politico article: his sense of "decorum" and his "temperate disposition" and the fact that he "knows everybody."
Well, I couldn't care less about his disposition or who he knows. I've read quite a bit of his work, and much of it isn't any good.
The Washington Post's David Broder had a predictably dour column about health care reform yesterday -- a paint-by-numbers job consisting of little more than a couple of quotes from interest groups that don't like government spending and a poll showing that people worry health care reform will add to the deficit. (Broder's summary of the poll alone took up 6 of his 16 paragraphs.)
If Broder ever was worth reading for his insights rather than his reporting, that time is long gone, as yesterday's column reminds us.
And, indeed, Broder's colleague Ezra Klein quickly exposed the flaws in the little bit of Broder's column that wasn't simply a regurgitation of poll results and interest-group quotes:
David Broder has a column today expressing skepticism that health-care reform will really cut the deficit. But he doesn't provide much evidence for the charge.
The specific budget gimmick mentioned in the column is that Reid has delayed the subsidies "from mid-2013 to January 2014 -- long after taxes and fees levied by the bill would have begun." But not that long. The excise tax, for instance, begins in 2013. More to the point, it's not clear what Broder's complaint is. Reid delayed the implementation of the subsidies in order to ensure the bill's deficit neutrality in the first 10 years, which is what Broder wants. Why attack him for it?
In other words, the revenue and the savings grow more quickly than the costs. Extend that line out further and, yes, federal spending on health care falls as a result of this bill. In other words, the bill satisfies Broder's conditions. But he doesn't come out and say that.
More broadly, I'm confused by the budget hawks who that take the line: "This bill needs to cut the deficit, and I don't believe Democrats will cut the deficit, but since the actual provisions of the bill unambiguously cut the deficit, then I guess Congress won't stick to it."
People who want to cut the deficit should support this bill, and support its implementation. The alternative is no bill that cuts the deficit, and thus no hope of cutting the deficit.
If anyone wants to offer a reason -- other than inertia -- why the Post's print edition carried Broder's column and not one by Klein, I'd love to hear it.
Many who have heard Republican leaders in Congress proclaim their opposition to almost every piece of Obama's program are saying, "To hell with them." Instead of seeking to enlist Republican support, they urge Obama to tailor everything to the wishes of his Democratic allies.
Yet when it comes to the big initiatives -- energy, health care and the rest -- the risks of such a choice are obvious. When no Republican votes are in play, the price individual Democratic legislators can extract from the White House goes up. We saw plenty of that with the stimulus bill and the energy bill, both of which were weakened substantively by the concessions Obama had to make to get the last Democratic votes.
This simply does not make any sense. Broder thinks that the stimulus and energy bill were weakened substantially by concessions made to get the last Democratic votes, which is why Obama should seek Republican votes.
Huh? Does Broder really think "big initiatives" would be weakened less if Obama were attempting to woo Republican Senators? And if so, is there really anybody at the Washington Post who honestly believes that David Broder's increasingly nonsensical observations deliver greater value to readers than, say, Dan Froomkin's White House Watch?
That record has been clouded by a fog of rhetoric -- especially the excesses of Republicans decrying the president's "socialist" schemes and the Democrats calling the GOP the "party of no."
Democrats call the GOP the "party of no" because they've been opposing everything, en masse, and rarely offering up more than a bumper-sticker of an alternative. Republicans have been calling Obama's plans "socialist" because ... well, because they feel like it, and because they know gullible and weak journalists like David Broder will fail to call them on the absurdity of the claim, not because Obama's plans actually constitute socialism. And yet, to David Broder, those two rhetorical gambits are equivalent. Again: this is nothing short of nonsense.
In his Washington Post column, David Broder asserted that Americans have "forgotten" former President Bush and that "Obama has become the only president [they] think about." In fact, the poll Broder cited undermines both his assertions.
The Washington Post's David Broder wrote that Sen. John McCain "is the rare exception who is not assumed to be willing to sacrifice personal credibility to prevail in any contest," while Sen. Hillary Clinton "ha[s] added to her reputation for opportunism" with "[t]he negative attacks she has launched against [Sen. Barack] Obama." It was the second time this week that a Post columnist has explicitly contrasted McCain's and Clinton's credibility and perceived integrity, suggesting that the former is motivated by principle, and the latter, by a desire to win, ignoring McCain's numerous falsehoods committed during his presidential campaign.
The New York Times' David Brooks asserted that Sen. John McCain's March 26 foreign policy speech "was so important because he broke with Bush on several ways" and described one of those ways as, "Should the U.S. go it alone on certain issues? He said no, we are -- we need a strong America, but in the community of nations. And he detailed that." Similarly, The Washington Post's David Broder wrote that McCain "outlin[ed] a vastly different approach from President Bush's" in the speech, in part by offering a "repudiation of unilateralism." Yet neither Brooks nor Broder accounted for any of the statements McCain made during the run-up to the Iraq war about France, Germany, and Belgium, which revealed a very different attitude to U.S. allies.