AP: Democracy = Partisan Bickering?
by Todd Beeton, Sat Jul 28, 2007 at 10:25:12 AM EDT
In his post announcing the retirement of Republican congressman Ray LaHood of Illinois, Cliff Schecter links to this Chicago Tribune article written by "AP Staff Writer" Jan Dennis. The article essentially serves as a political eulogy for LaHood, painting him as possessing that elusive trait reserved only for so-called moderate Republicans (and Joe Lieberman) that populate the virtuous middle of the media's imagination: he brings those partisan bickerers in Washington together.
Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis says retiring U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood will be remembered for trying to bring Democrats and Republicans together in an era where partisan politics often gets in the way of the common good.
And what does Dennis cite as an example of his bringing the two sides together?
"I'm looking forward to retiring from public life, but not life," said LaHood, who got high marks for keeping the U.S. House on an even keel when he presided over impeachment hearings against then-President Bill Clinton in 1998.
Hmm, doesn't mention that LaHood voted Yes on all 4 articles of that partisan witchhunt. What a uniter.
But worst of all, look at how Dennis frames Democrats' impending pursuit of LaHood's open seat:
But observers say the Peoria Republican's surprise decision to step down after his seventh term likely will touch off new waves of political bickering as Democrats try to grab a central Illinois congressional seat controlled by Republicans for nearly 90 years.
The nerve of the evil Democrats to presume to even try to win that seat! An election between the two parties? Actually giving the voters a stark choice between candidates? How dare they!
What other choice does the right wing have, I suppose, than to advance this idea that the pursuit of Republican seats by Democrats (aka, you know, democracy) is a form of the partisan bickering commonly blamed these days for no progress in Washington. No mention, of course, that the public actually agrees with the Democrats on virtually every issue, so those who are "getting in the way of the common good" are Republicans themselves. Nor is there a similar critique of the Republicans' attempts to retake seats won by Democrats in swing districts last year. As Schecter notes, we will likely see several more retirement announcements among so-called moderate Republicans in blue states because after years of securing their own power by enabling the extremist Bush agenda, voters are onto the hollowness of their "moderation."
An interesting side note: the wire version of this article has been stripped of the anti-Democratic spin contained within the Chic/Tribune version, an apparent admission that Dennis's unedited piece might as well have been an RNC pres release.