EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a David Broder column from May 1992 that the Washington Post Writers group selected to remember the columnist, who died Wednesday at age 81. “Of the many hundreds of David Broder’s columns that we could cite in tribute, this one ... stands out because it shows his fundamental honesty as he confronts his own — and the country’s — failings when it comes to healing the scars of slavery and racism.”
When the National Governors Association holds its winter meeting here starting on Feb. 26, I expect to see some initial steps in the 2012 presidential campaign. That three-day gathering will offer the first and best opportunity for the enlarged group of 29 Republican governors to caucus and confer among themselves.
While I was out ill for six weeks in December and January, the world changed. Before that, the White House had badly misjudged the political climate. When I went to Ohio with Vice President Joe Biden, he did his best to ignore the evidence of economic pain, giving a pep talk to skeptical factory workers and telling me and other reporters that he believed Democrats would retain their majorities in both the House and Senate.
It took a month for Barack Obama to make clear what he has learned from the midterm election “shellacking,” but the time has not been wasted. Future political historians are likely to trace his recovery — and re-election, if that’s what happens — back to decisions made in December.
The delay until today that Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson obtained before their debt-management commission decides on their tough-medicine recommendations may not be enough to produce the votes needed to send those proposals on to Congress.
Suppose he is serious.
If you have any doubts about the real meaning of this month’s midterm elections, let me refer you to the most notable winner in those tests. I am talking about Lisa Murkowski, the re-elected senator from Alaska.
When the rules of the House of Representatives forced the Democrats to confront a painful choice among their leaders, they did what Democrats are often inclined to do. They changed the rules.
WASHINGTON — The term of art that has been agreed upon for the voting that remade our politics earlier this month is that it was a “wave election.”