If there were a more decent and generous journalist in our business than David Broder, I've never met the person.

Broder ("David" to everyone in the hallway, the elevator, the campaign filing center, of course) remained the consummate collegial figure long after -- decades after -- earning the status of "dean of the Washington press corps." He had no pretense in him. He was a big-name pundit, but, most of all, he was a thing we used to call "a newspaper reporter." He knocked on doors to the very end of his career, interviewing voters, getting to know the local political organizers, never promoting himself to a rank too exalted to conduct shoe-leather reporting or pound out a deadline story in a cold gym in some remote corner of New Hampshire or Iowa.

Who am I kidding: He loved those gyms! And the tighter the deadline, the better.

He could turn his analytical eye on his own reporting: Read this story by Broder, in which he expresses doubts about his influential report of Ed Muskie becoming tearful in the snow outside the Union-Leader office in the 1972 New Hampshire primary. Maybe it was just melting snow!

The syndicate known as The Washington Post Writers Group was pretty much invented to handle David Broder's prodigious output. He was also a professor at the University of Maryland. A number of ideologues, particularly in Blogworld, hated him for his political leanings, which were very close to being perfectly vertical. But that was enraging: He anchored himself in the political center, and religiously espoused good government, compromise solutions and bipartisanship. Naturally, the true believers viewed him as a dangerous moderate, a dinosaur, a centrist crank.

I doubt the hectoring bothered Broder, since he was too busy to worry about that stuff. He was a busy man -- he had some reporting to do.