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Thursday, June 09, 2005

You Can't Parody This

David Broder's column in today's Post is titled "Proving the Value of Consensus." This could be the title of almost every Broder column. It's like a MoDo column entitled "More Shrill Harping on the President" or George F. Will calling his latest "I'm Smarter Than You (and the People I'm Writing About, Too)." A little obvious, no?

BTW, Broder praises a new bipartisan report on sentencing guidelines, which apparently recommended the following: "It suggests the creation of a sentencing commission to assess what is happening in courts around the country and recommend modifications as needed."

Don't we already have a Sentencing Commission?

Broder's main point, column after column . . . just publish this paragraph twice a week and get a new columnist:

"Consensus is not sexy or exciting, but it has its uses, as two reports issued this week remind us. When people who are smart and experienced and willing to engage honestly with each other address a problem, they can really move toward a solution."

No more. Please. Stop.

Clarification: I'm not against consensus, of course. But Broder seems to regard consensus as the end-all, be-all of existence. The fact is that there are important disagreements in U.S. politics today; the consensus that existed in Broder's youth has broken down. But he doesn't seem to get that. He seems to think that if elites just were "willing to engage honestly with each other to address . . . problem[s]," we could move toward a solution.

But one could argue that there isn't even an agreement on what the problems that need a solution are. If we can't agree on what the problems are, then how can we "move toward a solution"?

Shorter version of my view: Consensus has broken down, for a lot of reasons. Just praising the idea of consensus won't do anything to fix it. And that's all Broder has been doing for years.


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