The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Our Objective Press

An article on Raw Story relates a Public Radio interview with John Boehner finds him trashing Congressional Democrats for their underhanded tactics:

On Tuesday afternoon, House Minority Leader John Boehner lashed out at the Democrats who control Congress, accusing Speaker Nancy Pelosi of using strong-arm, partisan tactics to force through legislation without attempting to negotiate with GOP lawmakers. Of course, as Boehner himself acknowledged, the Democratic strategy has virtually mirrored Republican tactics when they controlled the House.

NPR host Robert Siegel asked the Ohio lawmaker about his pledge earlier this year that Republicans would work with Democrats in addressing issues important to the country: "What evidence of that has there been so far, since you've been leader?"

"Well, unfortunately, Robert, there hasn't been any," Boehner confided, although he insisted the unfriendly atmosphere in Washington was not the GOP's fault. "I was hopeful that Speaker Pelosi wouldn't make some of the mistakes that the Republican majority made by overreaching and going it alone. But what we've seen all year is an effort to overreach, to only consider what the Democrat majority wants to do."

While the inability of a hacky ideologue like Boehner to demonstrate any degree of intellectual honesty renders the entire piece useless, Siegel sorta tried to turn it into something resembling journalism.

Siegel tried to clarify that Pelosi's behavior "reminds you of what Republican behavior was" when they controlled Congress before the 2006 elections.

"Well, some of it -- it sure does," Boehner said with a laugh.

See? Objective, hard-hitting journalism. Except for its complete failure to resemble reality. By which I mean the actions Boehner's party is taking every day:

Mr. McConnell and his fellow Republicans are playing such tight defense, blocking nearly every bill proposed by the slim Democratic majority that they are increasingly able to dictate what they want, much to the dismay of the majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, and frustrated Democrats in the House.

In fact, the Senate Republicans are so accustomed to blocking measures that when the Democrats finally agreed last week to their demands on a bill to repair the alternative minimum tax, the Republicans still objected, briefly blocking the version of the bill that they wanted before scrambling to approve it later.

Kevin Drum, like myself, is pretty steamed:

It's hard to say anything about this other than the obvious: the Democrats have a very slim majority; the rules of the Senate work against them; and the Republican Party, even as it prepares to shuffle into what may well be a decade of irrelevance, continues to display a genuinely remarkable ancien régime ability to stick together and insist that nothing is wrong until its collective face turns blue. Even the fact that the entire country may well turn blue next November as a result doesn't dissuade them.

What bugs me about this is not the fact that the modern Republican Party doesn't really care about actual governance. This is hardly news. At this point, it's an exhausted organization so bereft of ideas that it really doesn't have much choice except to follow a policy of obstruction to its logical, nihilistic conclusion.

But why does the media have to play along? It's nice that the Times ran this story, but it would be nicer if the media simply reported what was happening on a regular basis. I'm not asking for special treatment, just headlines that tell us what's really going on. If Republicans have adopted a strategy of simply blocking every piece of legislation that makes it to the floor of the Senate — and everyone agrees that they have — then we should be regularly seeing headlines that say "Republicans Block ______. " There's nothing partisan about this, it's just a description of what's happening.