Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Broder Examines His Colon

The Dean goes in deep:

The Monday night agreement to avert a showdown vote over judicial filibusters not only spared the Senate from a potentially ruinous clash, but also certified John McCain as the real leader of that body.

In contrast to Majority Leader Bill Frist, who was unable to negotiate a compromise with Minority Leader Harry Reid or hold his Republicans in line to clear the way for all of President Bush's nominees to be confirmed, McCain looks like the man who achieved his objectives. If -- as many expect -- McCain and Frist find themselves rivals for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, the gap in their performance will be remembered.

Um, no. No one gives a shit. While I certainly won't deny that the filibuster fight and the judges it's about are important, the people in this country don't give a shit and won't remember the fact the John "The Press Swoons at My Every Move" McCain was one of 14 senators who brokered a deal on this issue because most people in the country don't give a shit about this issue and more importantly most people in this country don't think bipartisanship and dealmaking for their own sakes are important.

It just isn't the case that there are two sides two every issue, there are courageous people who can forge a compromise if they want, and that compromise is intrinsically better than the original two positions. More importantly, it just isn't the case that the electorate is especially enamored with compromise.

McCain's popularity, largely a media creation thanks to friendly copy written by happy well-lubricated journalists during his primary run, had nothing to do with his being a "moderate" or a "compromiser." It had to do with the perception that he was "independent" and an "ass kicker." Independence has nothing to do with compromise or moderation, it's just about the myth that you're somehow your own man. The mushy middle in this country isn't about compromise or moderation, it's about a fear of being on the losing team. The mushy middle isn't looking for moderation, it's looking for a leader.