Thursday, July 03, 2008

Same Broder, Different Century

Even casual readers of David Broder this morning may have wondered why, in the face of myriad unpunished crimes and misdemeanors of the current administration, Broder would point in his conclusion to the impeachment of Richard Nixon way back in 1974 for "the sign of a nation that has [neither] lost its sense of values [n]or forgotten the principles on which [its] system [of laws] rests."

But as Broder is in the business of awarding passes to the criminal Bush regime, most readers were probably content to find themselves in rare agreement with him on the significance of the Nixon impeachment. I know that I have come to expect Broder's complete complicity with GOP malfeasance, so on balance I found that part of his column to be a refreshing step in the right direction. Baby steps, right?

Except...back in 1974, when it really mattered what Broder thought and wrote about the Nixon impeachment -- kind of like how it matters what he thinks and writes about Bush administration crimes in 2005 and six and seven and eight -- Broder wasn't proud of the efforts of his government and his nation to expell the GOP poison.

In fact, as Brad DeLong established today with a nice piece of fact-checking, back in 1974 David Broder loved and respected him some Nixon scumbaggery:

David Broder, July 10, 1974: David S. Broder (1974), "If Congress Refuses to Impeach..." Washington Post (July 10), p. A 30: [T]he case of Richard Nixon is moving... toward... the House vote on impeachment.... Suppose... few Republican defections... enough Democrats cross the line to exonerate Mr. Nixon...?... The cloud over Mr. Nixon's future would disappear... go back to being a full-time President. Congress could go back to legislating. Messrs. Doar, Jenner, and St. Clair could return to their firms.

But politically, the fireworks would just be starting.... [T]he anti-impeachment majority [would] lash... out against the Judiciary Committee members for spending $1.5 million and uncounted thousands of manhours.... [T]he tidal wave of public sentiment... sweep over the Congress... the White House charge [that the impeachment investigation was nothing but a partisan assault on the integrity of the presidential office] would surely have been proven.... The President's supporters in the country would cry vengeance....

Democratic candidates would find themselves on the defensive... a 93rd Congress which did little but posture on impeachment.... Resurgent Republicans... vindicated President... predictable public reaction against the press and the Democratic Congress....

Republican congressmen... who had broken ranks to vote for impeachment would find themselves pariahs.... If they managed to escape repudiation by the voters this year, they would be guaranteed strong pro-Nixon primary opponents in 1976. Many of them would undoubtedly wonder whether there was any way to remain in public office as Republicans.... Political scientists would... [ask] whether the friends and foes of President Nixon would not constitute themselves into separate parties, obliterating past affiliations.

All this is well within the realm of possibility. All that has to happen is for the House to exonerate the President by voting no bill of impeachment.
Despite his claims in today's column, Broder didn't give a damn back in 1974 "about the fundamental commitment of the American people." And guess how much he cares about it today?