In the Arena

Rough Start

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I know it’s become common practice to slag David Broder in the blogosphere. But let me say this in David’s defense: he is not an armchair pundit. Even now, at the age of 236, or thereabouts, he goes out and really does his homework, riding the buses and hitting the living rooms of voters in the crucial states. If you’ve ever wondered why people like me revere Broder, it’s his work ethic–and not just his kindness, civility, judiciousness and institutional memory.
And given Broder’s civility, it is really noteworthy when he hauls off and delivers a column like this about Hillary Clinton.
I know that most of the media attention has been devoted to whether or not she told a joke on Bill and how she was received by Iowa voters, But I’m with Broder: her failure to ask General Petraeus a single question was a big mistake–especially given her level of knowledge about military matters and, especially, counterinsurgency. There were some terrific, pointed questions for her to ask, and I’m disappointed she didn’t. That she chose to deliver a non-earth-shattering statement, rather than ask questions, had the feel of a strategy that had been game-planned by Hillaryland. In a way, I’m far more interested in the sort of questions she’ll ask as president–especially after Incurious George–than in canned statements about the war.