David Broder Learns More Campaign Lessons

After the Washington Post‘s David Broder weighed in with his thoughts on what he “learned” about John McCain in the course of the campaign–among other things, that it was a “falsehood” to suggest McCain was similar to George W. Bush–it was time for Post readers to find out what the Dean of the Washington Press Corps had learned about Barack Obama. Broder commends Obama’s impressive campaign skills, calls him “Carteresque”–as in Jimmy–and then renders this bizarre judgment:

In what history may record as his singular achievement–dealing with the classic American dilemma of race–he had the largely unappreciated help of his opponent, John McCain, who simply ruled out covert racial appeals used by politicians of both parties in the past. But Obama himself demonstrated repeatedly how to bridge the racial divides that still remain, by emphasizing his calm good judgment and respect for others.

Obama’s “singular achievement,” then, was the graciousness of John McCain, who ran a campaign that “simply ruled out covert racial appeals.” Huh.

Broder followed that with his complaint–recycled from his column on lessons from watching the McCain campaign–that Obama

rejected McCain’s invitation to hold joint town hall meetings–opening the door to the kind of tawdry exchange of charges that we have seen. In both instances, he put his personal goals ahead of the public good–a worrisome precedent.

This notion that the down-in-the-gutter tone of the McCain campaign is Obama’s fault might be a useful talking point for, say, John McCain, but is there any reason to believe that things would have turned out any differently?

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.