In his Washington Post column today–one of thousands he has written over his career that end with a cry to end “partisan gridlock”–David Broder gets misty-eyed over the indictment of Senator Ted Stevens. It was “a poignant moment last week,” Broder writes, “when Ted Stevens of Alaska, newly indicted for accepting unreported favors from an oilman friend, walked over to Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who uses a wheelchair because of age and illness, in search of support and consolation.” According to Broder, Stevens and Byrd represent “the rear guard of a generation of senators who see it as their principal responsibility to help their chronically needy citizens obtain the federal largess that can spell the difference between subsistence and a decent living.”
Is there anyone else in the entire country who believes that Stevens had as his highest aim the alleviation of poverty? (Anyone other than Heather Lende, anyway, who also had an op-ed in the Post today, entitled “He’s Still Our Uncle Ted.”) Poor Alaskans benefited far less from his tenure in the Senate than did the political donors to whom Stevens steered so much pork. And Stevens hasn’t done so badly either, with VECO Corp., an oil field services company, having carried out a renovation that more than doubled the size of his home.
The last time Broder was this overwrought was back in 1994, when Dan Rostenkowski, then chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, was indicted on corruption charges. “Seeing him brought down,” Broder wrote, “is a citywide sorrow.”