Over at If I Ran the Zoo, ahab discovers that David Broder's latest column in The Washington Post is cribbed from a cinema classic.
Seriously, though, here are excerpts from Broder's column. It's supposedly about the brilliance of Newt Gingrich. But that's not what it's really about:
In the years since I first met him in 1974, I have learned that it's wise to take Newt Gingrich seriously.... if there is any politician of the current generation who has earned the label "visionary," it is probably the Georgia Republican and former speaker of the House.
For that reason alone, it is regrettable that Gingrich has virtually decided to pass on the 2008 presidential race....
Gingrich is brimming with ideas on these subjects, but he is realistic enough to suggest that it may be five years before public opinion -- and other politicians -- are ready to embrace some of them.
That five-year estimate is significant. It would run to the end of the next presidential term....
... he says, Hillary Rodham Clinton faces few obstacles to winning the Democratic nomination. And he leaves reporters with the feeling that he thinks a Hillary Clinton presidency would provide fertile ground, just as Bill Clinton's did, for a Republican revival.
... I have no reason to doubt that he'd spend five more trying to put his beleaguered party back on its feet.
...If big ideas and big ambitions can bring Republicans back to life, Gingrich is ready to supply them....
This column isn't about Gingrich at all -- it's about saving America from those dastardly Democrats.
To The Washington Post's elite opinion-mongers, this is the single most important task facing the political class -- not ending the war or finding a new post-9/11 security strategy or getting health coverage to tens of millions of insured people or reducing income inequality in America, but getting the GOP back on its feet. (For another example, see Sally Quinn's bizarre notion, floated back in June, that Fred Thompson should replace Dick Cheney as VP because, among other things, "Thompson would give the Republicans a platform for running for the presidency.")
I'm also struck by Broder's contentment with the possibility that Newt's dazzlingly brilliant ideas might take "to the end of the next presidential term" to sink in, and by his apparent seconding of Newt's belief that "a Hillary Clinton presidency would provide fertile ground, just as Bill Clinton's did, for a Republican revival."
I still think the press lords won't let Hillary win, going after her all through '08 the way they went after Gore. But maybe, instead, they'll go relatively easy on her ... then declare her presidency illegitimate starting on Election Night, framing the narrative as "She didn't win; the Republicans lost." And then they'll undermine her for four years, treating her entire term as a moment when everything went out of whack -- a moment requiring a Republican restoration.
I don't know how many of the press lords will join Broder in hoping Gingrich leads that restoration, but if she wins, restoration is what they'll be calling for before the confetti is even swept up in her campaign headquarters.
I should add that, of course, getting the GOP on its feet isn't absolutely the only way to save American from those horrible icky Democrats, in Broder's eyes -- see also his fascination with Unity08.