November 17, 2006

Where are the stories about the fractured Republicans?

As I suspected, the MSM just won't let go of this "Democrats are Divided" meme of theirs.

Today's NYT reports that John Boehner has been "overwhelmingly" elected Minority Leader in the House of Representatives and the Republicans elected "their leaders in less dramatic fashion than Democrats ..."

Oh really? As I recall, Nancy Pelosi was elected unanimously. I guess you could call that dramatic. Yes, there was a contest for Majority Leader. Yes, pressure was brought to bear and debts called in on both sides. But in the end, it was an election. All parties accepted the result, unity was shown by all. The Dems moved on.

On the other hand, John Boehner was challenged by Mike Spence and was elected by 168 to 27. If we were to follow the MSM logic, that should mean that the Republicans are fractured, that
Boehner doesn't really have the support of the Republican caucus. In addition, there was a contest for Minority Whip (Roy Blunt vs John Shadegg - vote: 137 to 57) so surely there must be some hand wringing by the reporter about splits within the Republican party and how John Boehner had been publicly humiliated by the vote. Right? Right?


The worst part? In a story that is ostensibly about the election of John Boehner and the Republican leadership, the reporter gives seven paragraphs to the subject of the headline and twenty-nine paragraphs to the "Democrats are Divided" storyline.

Arrgh!!! (Banging head against keyboard)

(On Edit) - Glenn Greenwald has something to say about this phenomenon. (Thanks to DKos)

The Bush administration has spent six years completely obsessed with personal loyalty to the President and intolerant of the slightest independence. The entire Congress was kept strictly in line for the last five years. Every official who showed the slightest independence was replaced by obedient Bush loyalists. Yet Pelosi does nothing other than support an ally rather than an opponent for the position immediately underneath her, and that makes her some out-of-control egomaniac consumed by personal vanity and emotional impulses.

And that's to say nothing of the fact that the Hoyer-Murtha race is being depicted as some sort of sign of hateful Democratic in-fighting that shows Pelosi has lost control, even though Republicans are mauling each other for every single House leadership position, all of which are hotly contested. Trent Lott beat Lamar Alexander by a vote of 25-24 in the Senate for the position of Minority Whip. There's nothing wrong with various factions competing for leadership positions. That's called an "election," and only those to whom Eric Alterman refers as the "smart boys" at TNR and Slate would view a simple election for House Majority Leader as some apocalyptic sign that Democrats are lame, idiotic and hopelessly divided.

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