David Broder does not like politicians who lie. I know this because he said so himself, in an infamous 1998 Sally Quinn article about why the Washington Establishment was so angry at Bill Clinton for lying about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky:
“The judgment is harsher in Washington,” says The Post's Broder. “We don't like being lied to.”
That suggestion -- that Washington, DC's elite residents take greater offense at being lied to than the simpletons outside the nation's capital -- is the kind of thing that would draw heaping piles of scorn from the political media had it come from a liberal Democrat. But it came from David Broder, beloved “dean” of the Washington Press corps, and so nobody said much of anything about his preening moral superiority.
Anyway: David Broder does not like politicians who lie. He does not like being lied to. Lying, according to David Broder, is a Very Bad Thing. So bad that David Broder suggested Clinton should resign because “he may well have lied to a federal grand jury.” May well have -- the mere possibility that Clinton had lied about sex was enough for David Broder, who very much does not like lying politicians, to call for resignation.
Since I know how much David Broder hates politicians who lie, it was a little odd when he refused to call for President Bush's resignation, though Bush lied about matters far more grave than Monica Lewinsky, and though Broder denounced Bush as a “lawless and reckless” president who “started a war he cannot finish, drove the government into debt and repeatedly defied the Constitution.” I mean, if the possibility that Clinton had lied about sex was enough to necessitate his resignation, surely the certainty that Bush had lied, coupled with his “lawless and reckless” defiance of the Constitution should require nothing less?
I mean, it simply can't be that David Broder holds Democrats to a higher standard than Republicans, or that he thinks lying only counts as lying when it's about sex. Can it? No: That does not sound like the esteemed “dean.” It can't be. Must be a fluke.
So, this morning I read Broder's celebration of Sarah Palin's virtues. Now, Sarah Palin, as you might remember, has built her entire national reputation on lies. From the moment John McCain plucked her out of obscurity in the summer of 2008 until the time she finishes her next sentence, she will have said little of any real significance that was true. Her repeated “bridge to nowhere” boast -- a remarkably enthusiastic and frequent lie. That bit about selling a state jet on e-Bay? Bunk. Her claim that Alaska produces 20 percent of America's energy? A lie in 2008, and still a lie today. “Death panels”? The lie of the year. You get the point: Sarah Palin tells lies.
But, oddly -- because, remember, he does not like being lied to -- David Broder didn't mention Palin's history of untruths in his column today. Well, I thought, Broder must have thought he had covered that ground often enough in the past that it could go unmentioned today. So I fired up the way-back machine and read all 23 Washington Post columns in which David Broder has mentioned Sarah Palin, certain that I would find numerous harsh denunciations of a politician who displays an open hostility towards the truth.
In doing so, I found Broder gushing over Palin's “deft humor and pointed questions” and wondering “Why in the world has the McCain campaign kept Palin under wraps” and praising her as “cool as a cucumber, comfortable with her talking points and unrattled by anything that was thrown at her.” But that wasn't so shocking -- Broder did, after all, note in today's column that her tea party speech last weekend “was not the first time that Palin has impressed me.”
But this part ... Well, this was a little surprising: Not once -- not one time -- in those 23 columns has Broder so much as hinted at Palin's dishonesty. Not even in a casual, polite “that wasn't quite true” kind of way.
Well, you could knock me over with a feather. I mean, David Broder can't stand being lied to. He told us himself. You remember: Back when he was talking about a Democrat, and the lies were about sex rather than everything else.