Paul Begala Calls WaPo's Liberal Broder a 'Venomous' 'Gasbag'

One of the most marvelous aspects of today’s liberal media is how members of “the club” better not say or write anything bad about another member or risk excommunication.

Such is clearly the mantra of CNN’s Paul Begala, who published a scathing rebuke of the Washington Post’s David Broder on Thursday.

In it, he referred to the clearly left-of-center columnist as “a gasbag,” “the Hindenburg of pundits,” who has been “downright venomous lately,” especially with his most recent "bed-wetting tantrum."

And you thought Begala reserved such contempt exclusively for Republicans.

What got Paul in such a snit? Well, Broder had the gall, in a column also published Thursday, to criticize Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada):

Here's a Washington political riddle where you fill in the blanks: As Alberto Gonzales is to the Republicans, Blank Blank is to the Democrats -- a continuing embarrassment thanks to his amateurish performance.

If you answered " Harry Reid," give yourself an A.


The Democrats deserve better, and the country needs more, than Harry Reid has offered as Senate majority leader.

Begala likely loved the slam of Gonzales. However, writing so candidly about a fellow Democrat is verboten for shameless pols like this former Clinton administration hatchet man who responded (emphasis added throughout):

Broder, of course, is a gasbag. The Hindenburg of pundits.


Mr. Broder has been foaming at the mouth these days. A man generally given to soporific prose, Broder has been downright venomous lately. And what has put the Benzedrine in Mr. Broder's Ovaltine? Not the fact that President Bush continues to lie about "progress" in the war in Iraq. Or that Dick Cheney continues to lie about pre-invasion links between al Qaeda and Iraq. Or that the Bush Administration has neglected our wounded warriors, ignored the victims of Katrina, potentially obstructed justice by firing US Attorneys who were pursuing GOP wrongdoing. Not even that the Bush Administration lied to the families of Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch, cynically using their blood to distract from their own incompetence and dishonesty.

No, none of this raises Dean Broder's hackles.

He reserves his vitriol for Harry Reid.

Get the point? It’s okay to shills like Begala if members of the club write vitriol about Republicans. But dare point the microscope at a Democrat, and you will suffer the tortures of the damned.

Begala continued:

Why Reid? Because Reid has been one of the few politicians with the courage to speak the plain, unvarnished truth to power, and the hallmark of Mr. Broder's career has been to suck up to power. Reid calls Bush a liar. Broder can't handle the truth.

Ouch. Alas, Begala was just getting warmed up:

His arrogant, elitist, condescending attack on Reid is just the latest Broderian baloney. As Eric Alterman points out in What Liberal Media? "Back in 1968 [Broder] felt the anti-war activities of the likes of Robert Kennedy and Gene McCarthy were ' those involved.'" Prof. Alterman further notes that Broder "frequently dressed down" the critics of Ronald Reagan as "quick-lipped liberals" who "pop off in opposition."

Broder heaped scorn on President Clinton, telling Sally Quinn, "He came in here and he trashed the place. And it's not his place." In Broder's mind Washington is Broder's place. The Establishment's place. And the man from Hope with a heart as big as Texas just didn't know his place. Hysterically, he said Clinton's marital infidelity was worse than Watergate.

Is the picture becoming clearer? Broder was one of the few journalists that at times was willing to tell the truth about President Clinton, and as a member of that Administration, it is clearly Begala that can’t handle such:

Perhaps Broder's bed-wetting tantrum against Reid was spurred by the certain knowledge that while Harry Reid has been telling hard truths, Mr. Broder has been falling hard for transparent lies.

Astounding hypocrisy from a man that wouldn’t know the truth if it ran him over. Yet, in his concluding paragraph, it seems Begala has made a bit of a Freudian slip, as his castigation of Broder appears just as likely an introspective confession:

My guess is that Give 'Em Hell Harry is going to keep telling them the truth, and Mr. Broder is going to keep thinking it's hell. As George Orwell said, "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

How true, Paul. Maybe you and Harry should try it some time.

Now that would be revolutionary.

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Noel Sheppard's picture