Broder writes that just about everyone saw the Democrats' victory coming:
Never was a political wipeout better advertised in advance than the one that hit the Republican Party on Tuesday and cost Don Rumsfeld his job. From the first of my political soundings in the Midwest in early spring, it was clear that the public's frustration with the war in Iraq, the inept performance of the Bush administration after Hurricane Katrina, and the stunning partisanship and tawdriness of the Republican Congress was reaching explosive levels.He then notes that Bush and Rove are among the only people on the planet who did not see this coming:
The only people who seemed oblivious to the warning signs were President Bush and his political adviser, Karl Rove. Against all evidence, including the warnings of other Republicans, they kept insisting that Republicans would hold the House and Senate. Bush said at his news conference yesterday, "I knew we were going to lose seats," but he acknowledged he was shocked that the twin themes he kept pushing -- taxes and security -- didn't save the GOP from "a thumping."Broder then uses Bush's obliviousness about political reality in the United States as an occasion to question Bush's grasp of reality in Iraq. Fair enough. But here's what Broder comes up with:
The Democrats will offer Bush alternatives for Iraq and so, presumably, will the Baker-Hamilton commission when it meets with him next week and issues its report in December. James A. Baker III and Lee Hamilton and their colleagues are perfectly positioned to help break the deadlock on that policy -- if Bush is looking for an out.The question is whether Bush will be able to spot a policy and political disaster in the making? The answer is not at all clear? Broder may be the only guy on this planet who still hasn't figured out that Bush's Iraq adventure is not a potential disaster or a disaster "in the making," but a complete and actual disaster right now. And what are we supposed to make of Broder's statement that Bush's ability to be "discerning" with respect to Iraq is an open question that will be resolved next week?
The question is whether a president who couldn't recognize the reality of an approaching political landslide is any more discerning about spotting a policy and political disaster in the making in a far-off land.
The answer is not at all clear.
"Facing up to Reality" indeed!
I've said it before and I'll say it again: it really says something about contemporary journalism and punditry that a guy as vacuous as David Broder can achieve near-universal recognition as the "Dean" of Washington journalists.