Yesterday, WaPo's David Broder went nuclear on Harry Reid for criticizing Bush's war policies, calling him "a continuing embarrassment thanks to his amateurish performance." (Broder's unfounded assertion that Reid is diminishing the Democratic Caucus in the senate prompted all of them to sign this letter to the Washington Post.)
Today, the Dean sets his sights on yet another Bush critic, but what a difference a day (or the critic's political party--you be the judge) makes:
So McCain, recognizing that neither Giuliani nor Romney is likely to challenge him from the right, is risking the ire of Bush fans in order to position himself to compete against a Democrat in an election where independents will probably cast the decisive votes. His campaign aides insist that he has never changed....Now, it is the manifest shortcomings of the Bush administration that McCain says he would not tolerate as president. In clear references to the faltering Bush performance on homeland security, Hurricane Katrina relief and the treatment of wounded veterans at Walter Reed, McCain said: "That's not good enough for America. And when I'm president, it won't be good enough for me."So how does Broder characterize the author of this multi-pronged attack on Bush administration policies, after yesterday's scorching critique of a critic?
He used the same words to characterize the failings of the president and Congress on balancing the budget, financing Social Security and Medicare, reforming the tax code, securing energy independence, and helping workers who lose their jobs to foreign competition.
And McCain did not exempt Iraq policy from his critique. Instead of underlining his support for attacking Saddam Hussein and his endorsement of Bush's decision to add troops this year, McCain emphasized the lessons of the war.
"We all know the war in Iraq has not gone well," he said. "We have made mistakes and we have paid grievously for them. We have changed the strategy that failed us, and we have begun to make a little progress. But in the many mistakes we have made in this war, a few lessons have become clear. America should never undertake a war unless we are prepared to do everything necessary to succeed, unless we have a realistic and comprehensive plan for success, and unless all relevant agencies of government are committed to that success. We did not meet this responsibility initially. And we must never repeat that mistake again."
McCain, in Broder's words, is: "the most eloquent defender of Bush's current strategy in Iraq" and the "leading Republican critic of politics as usual". Broder quotes McCain expressing "shame" about Bill Clinton's personal conduct and--again--his resolute words about current events from Katrina to Walter Reed: "That's not good enough for America. And when I'm president, it won't be good enough for me."
Broder's conclusion, "Candor, even belatedly, becomes him," is in such stark contrast to his searing indictment of Harry Reid's critique of Bush's policies that it's as if the columns weren't even written by the same objective, non-partisan, balanced, and incredibly fair-minded pundit.
Unless he isn't objective, non-partisan, balanced, or incredibly fair-minded. You be the judge.