Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

August 13, 2010

THE INADEQUACY OF POLITICAL REPORTERS' FANTASIES.... Politico's Mike Allen chatted with far-right media personality Hugh Hewitt this week, and the two speculated about the midterm elections. It led to an exchange I can't quite wrap my head around. (via Atrios)

Hewitt: Yes, I'm saying that Michael Bennet's going to get wiped out by Ken Buck. What do you think?

Allen: (laughing) I don't know, but I can tell you the press loves the fact that Ken Buck, he'll definitely be covered. Very colorful, he definitely will be good copy. It's just like the dream of every reporter is that the Republicans will pick up nine seats, and that Marco Rubio wins in Florida, because Hugh, you know what that means?

Hewitt: Impeachment! No. (laughing)

Allen: That's a 50-50 Senate. That's power sharing. Ben Nelson suddenly is huge.

Now, it's certainly possible that Republicans will pick up nine seats in November. That seems like a pretty ambitious goal, but I suppose it's doable if the cards fall just right for the GOP.

What I don't know is why that's "the dream of every reporter." We had a 50-50 Senate early in 2001, and it wasn't especially exciting. Indeed, as Republicans moved even further to the right in the ensuing decade, an evenly-divided Senate wouldn't be more interesting, it'd be considerably less so -- the entire institution, which is often paralyzed in a 59-41 chamber, would grind to a halt. Nothing could pass the committee process; nothing could reach the floor; nothing could overcome a filibuster, and nothing could pass.

That's not the stuff of fantasy; it's the stuff of nightmare. It wouldn't be exciting; it'd be boring. ("The Senate today failed once again to act on _______. It is the ____ consecutive bill the Senate has killed this year.")

As for Allen welcoming the day in which Ben Nelson is "huge," I can't help but notice that Ben Nelson already has enormous influence. In a 60-40 Senate late last year, Nelson was the single most important lawmaker in Washington. On every key vote, the Senate leadership has to make sure the center-right Nebraskan is happy -- a dynamic the senator is happy to exploit -- if Democrats have any hopes at all of overcoming GOP obstructionism.

It's possible Allen's envisioning a scenario in which Republicans are suddenly able to start legislating by adding Nelson's vote to their unanimous caucus, but under those circumstances, the bills would (a) be vetoed by the White House; or (b) would be blocked by Democratic filibusters.

Besides, what's so great about making Ben Nelson "huge"? What makes this the stuff of Mike Allen's dreams?

Steve Benen 10:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (37)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

Quote: 'the bills would (a) be vetoed by the White House; or (b) would be blocked by Democratic filibusters.'

OK, I'll buy the veto thing, but on what planet would there be a Dem filibuster? The repugs didn't have 60 through the W years, yet they got whatever they wanted, without a whimper. I take that back, whimpering is all the Dems did.

Posted by: BillFromPA on August 13, 2010 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Also, there's this whole other thing called the House of Representatives.

Posted by: superking on August 13, 2010 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Because this is a parlor game to these people. They figure they're rich and/or well connected enough that they're insulated from the consequences of any policy failure short of a thermonuclear exchange and they just want something entertaining while they munch on the gourmet popcorn.

Posted by: drkrick on August 13, 2010 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Say what you want about others - fact is, your guys have also sold out America

First, these vampires designed "free trade" agreements to use slave labor abroad at the expense of American jobs.

Next, they moved their investment capital and assets abroad sucking the life-blood out of the U.S. economy.

Then, they covertly used America's remaining wealth to prop up their bogus financial instruments like credit default swaps and derivatives, which came crashing down.

Finally, they got their taxpayer bailout, and now they want your pension funds and cash deposits to stay under their control.

barky obummer hasn't missed a beat, picking up where clinton and chimpy left off.

Posted by: Eric Blair on August 13, 2010 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

There is an 18%-23% chance of the Republicans having at least 50 seats after the election. There is even a 6%-15% chance of the Republicans holding 52 seats.

Another way of looking at things is that the odds of neither party controlling the Senate is between 15.3%-16.9%. The odds of the Republicans controlling the Senate is 17.7% to 17.8%.

Posted by: neil wilson on August 13, 2010 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

BillFromPA - it was actually much worse than you say:

...whimpering is all the Dems did.

They actually voted wholesale in support of everything chimpy demanded - EVEN WHEN HIS APPROVAL RATING WAS 23 PERCENT!

In 2006 they ran on "accountability", won historic gains, and then took all accountability "off the table".

Does anyone really wonder why we have another lying corporatist in the white house?

Posted by: Eric Blair on August 13, 2010 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Also, there's this whole other thing called the House of Representatives.

Pretty tough to imagine the circumstances in which the GOP picks up 9 Senate seats and doesn't control the House as well.

Posted by: drkrick on August 13, 2010 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Hewitt is right about one thing. Ken Buck is a formidable candidate. Backed by the Tea Party, he called the "birthers" among them, "dumb a...s" and still beat the establishment candidate by a wide margin. Buck is from Wyoming, a graduate of Princeton and U of Wyoming law school. He has been an assistant US attorney and the elected DA of Weld County in Colorado for over ten years. His son is currently at West Point. He also has real cow dung on his high heeled cowboy boots.

Michael Bennet is "wet behind the ears" when it comes to outside of Denver Colorado politics. I wish him well. But, nobody helps him by dismissing his opponent.

Posted by: JoanneinDenver on August 13, 2010 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

Eric Blair,
"barky obummer." Wow, how NOT clever!
You might remember that TARP was passed under Bush, not Obama. Even George Orwell, dead these many years, might know about it. And you, bud, ain't no George Orwell.
Your assessment isn't far off, but it would be more fair to blame the Whoreporatists in Congress and their pimps in business. Presidents can set an agenda. They can veto legislation. They can't create it.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on August 13, 2010 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

What the brief, reproduced exchange says to me is that Allen is not so concerned with bringing vital information to the American public as he is in putting money into his own pockets!

As the only industry with written constitutional protections, the press has perverted its purview by producing piss-ant reporters working to profit through pithy propaganda as opposed to providing the public with appropriate precise reporting aptly applied to the art of journalism from yesteryear!

On another thread, the following was pointed out: Politico is a company that works to profit from politics, so it stands to reason employees of Politico would be partisan hacks as opposed to any other principled type of reporters! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on August 13, 2010 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Clearly to Mike Allen the function of government is to cater to his sick taste in entertainment, none of this provide for the general welfare crap.

Posted by: john sherman on August 13, 2010 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

The role of the left should not be to uphold or defend a government increasingly at odds with the interests of the people, but to change it, drastically and from the ground up.

However, here you will find a lot of rote cheer-leading and endless distractions that seek to place blame for dem leadership/obama's failures on others.

Posted by: b on August 13, 2010 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

"What makes this the stuff of Mike Allen's dreams?"

...because the news media has become reality tv.

Posted by: SaintZak on August 13, 2010 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I for one, can be counted as a former Republican who is distinctly unhappy about the direction of the Democratic party.

I left the Republican Party because of its extremist, blindered, right-wing lunacy, I surely don’t like it that the Dems have become the party of moderate, blindered, right-wing lunacy.

Posted by: UnkaWillbur on August 13, 2010 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Theoretically, the only absolutely safe seat in the next election is John Thune's -- he is running unopposed. Factually, the Republicans have nominated so many unelectable extremists -- for seats they might have, and in some cases should have won -- that, despite the polls now, I insist that the Democrats are more likely to pick up seats than to lose them, and that the worst we come out is minus two, the best, maybe plus four -- though that would take everything breaking right including a lot of teabaggers staying home in a couple of states when they lose the primary, and the Louisiana mess getting so ridiculous that Melancon sneaks in. My best guess -- wish I had the time right now to break it down, race by race -- is that we pick up one. (I count Crist as a pick-up and a sure winner.)

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on August 13, 2010 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

The constant drumbeat against Democrats as 'on the side of the banks' has paid off.

47% of all Americans right now believe that Obama designed and implemented TARP--and have forgotten that it was entirely Bush's programme.

Republicans hijacked 700 billion dollars for the banks, in hopes of tying Obama's financial hands once Democrats reached the WH.

Then after he managed to put relief in place with the [too small] stimulus, they added the two together to claim HIS 'spending was out of control.'

Sites like Politico [and others that have kept up the same drumbeat, yes even ones on 'the left') really loaded this gun.

Posted by: jjm on August 13, 2010 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

I don't understand why people have trouble understanding Allen's point of view:

It's very annoying for DC media droids when bills actually pass, because, for some reason, they are still expected to pay attention to all those pesky 'details' and 'report' about them, and once something passes they have to file all those stories about just what it is, and so they have to put down their cocktails and actually go ask people what it means, and sometimes even read, instead of chatting to each other in bars and gossiping about that cute Paul Ryan. An actual functioning Congress means having to do work!

Posted by: biggerbox on August 13, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

I think I'm going to be sick. Ben Nelson in control of the country...wiping the tears off my face.

Posted by: maggie on August 13, 2010 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

As others have pointed out, media types like Mike Allen are only interested in conflict & personalities. That's why we had so much coverage of the SIZE of the HCR bill and so little coverage of the CONTENT. A 50-50 Senate means lots of quotes by McConnell and Reid calling each other a m-f'er. That's what "covering Congress" means to Mike Allen and all of the Politico staff. Well, and the rest of the media.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on August 13, 2010 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, you left out the word "wet."

Biggerbox nails this one. MSM journalists are lazy.

Posted by: Ian on August 13, 2010 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

input this URL:
( http://www.fashionclothe.com )
you can find many cheap and fashion stuff
(jor dan s-h-o-e-s)
(NBA NFL NHL MLB j-e-r-s-e-y)
( lv h-a-n-d-b-a-g)
(cha nel w-a-l-l-e-t)
(D&G s-u-n-g-l-a-s-s-e-s)
(ed har dy j-a-c-k-e-t)
(UG G b-o-o-t)

WE ACCEPT PYAPAL PAYMENT
YOU MUST NOT MISS IT!!!

Posted by: jian on August 13, 2010 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Presidents can set an agenda. They can veto legislation. They can't create it.
Posted by: c u n d gulag on August 13, 2010 at 10:15 AM

I wonder what percentage of Americans agree with you? As far as I can make out, the critics from Obama's left believe he could have created and had enacted any legislation he really wanted.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on August 13, 2010 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

The dream of every reporter:

One senator thrashing another with his cane.

Puerto Rican nationalists opening fire from the House gallery.

Redcoats burning Washington.

-come on, Mike; think bigger. . .

Posted by: DAY on August 13, 2010 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

"I wonder what percentage of Americans agree with you? As far as I can make out, the critics from Obama's left believe he could have created and had enacted any legislation he really wanted."

Not quite right. They know he wouldn't have succeeded. But at least he would have made a stand. And he didn't in more than one case.

That he prevented your country from cratering even more doesn't matter. That he prevented a new depression, forget it!

They believe, if only he would have made a stand, Dems would have 70 seats in the senate coming January.

Posted by: Vokoban on August 13, 2010 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Saw Mike Allen on national news talk show (can't remember which one) where he stated that because of demographics, which increasingly are becoming less white, he believed that a Republican would not be elected as president for many years when that tipping point was reached. The look of panic and horror on his face at the thought was worth the price of admission. I have always found Mike Allen to be one of the most obvious GOP true believers at Politico.

Posted by: Kathryn on August 13, 2010 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

The role of the left should not be to uphold or defend a government increasingly at odds with the interests of the people, but to change it, drastically and from the ground up.

Sounds great. How are you accomplishing that? Republicans did it by having crazy bigots infiltrate school boards and planning commissions community by community. What does "the left" do?

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on August 13, 2010 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Mike Allen is a worthless, braindead asshole. He actually has no understanding of what he is doing, and cannot see as far as the end of his nose, let alone beyond it. He actually makes Baby Hughey seem not so much the moron he really is.

Posted by: TCinLA on August 13, 2010 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know about everyone else but I can't wait until Ben Nelson wields more power than he already has. Personally, I think we should just dissolve the Executive and Legislative branches and make Ben Nelson emperor for life.

Posted by: JRinDallas on August 13, 2010 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

"What makes this the stuff of Mike Allen's dreams?"

The fact that he's a mindless dick.

Posted by: brucds on August 13, 2010 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

and here i woulda guessed that "the stuff of mike allen's dreams" is a fourway with crazy lady michelle, mann coulter and caribou stacy of the starbursts with malkin cheerleading on the sidelines while drudge links to the whole thing...

Posted by: dj spellchecka on August 13, 2010 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Steve -

("The Senate today failed once again to act on _______...")

I don't think you quite have the press lingo down - it would say:

"The hapless Democrats today failed once again to overcome a Republican filibuster on..."

Although, just for variety it might sometimes read

"The resolute Republicans successfully filibustered the ____ bill again today."

It's all in the adjectives, donchaknow.

And this bit?

Allen: ...I can tell you the press loves the fact that Ken Buck, he'll definitely be covered. Very colorful, he definitely will be good copy.

Yeah, disproportionate coverage of one candidate over another would never affect the outcome of an election, now would it? Because, if it would, of course responsible journalists would never do that, right?

Ok that's all I can manage to type right now - I have to go cower in a corner with a blanket over my head at the thought of Ben Nelson having even more power than he does now.

Posted by: KarenJG on August 13, 2010 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

I cannot say it any better than biggerbox, other than the DC press are a bunch of well-paid steno whores who are immune to the ill-effects of laws passed by Congress. So they fixate on personalities, and the better the conflict, the more clicks at Politco. Which, by the way, I never read.

Posted by: bmcchgo on August 13, 2010 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

iirc, back when ben nelson was "the single most important lawmaker in washington" during the health care debate, the republicans (and their mouthpieces at fox) spent a great deal of time bitching and moaning about "the cornhusker kickback."

Posted by: mellowjohn on August 13, 2010 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

As far as I can make out, the critics from Obama's left believe he could have created and had enacted any legislation he really wanted. -Johnny Canuck

That's an absurd depiction of the criticism. Can't you see the difference between fighting for something and giving it away to corporate interests in a back room deal?

The real fear is he did get the legislation he wanted, becuase you wouldn't have known otherwise from his inaction.

No, better to just make a strawman argument to bolster your own perceived superiority.

Posted by: doubtful on August 13, 2010 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Mike Allen is the very definition of a smarmy, pseudo-journalist masquerading as a thoughtful, objective one.

He is about as bought-and-paid-for as it gets, and is thus a natural fit for "Politico" (or "political corporation" - that's about as blatant as it gets, folks).

Posted by: terraformer on August 13, 2010 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Mike Allen isn't a journalist. He's a Republican stenographer. His wet dream is to see the Democratic Party dead & buried.

Posted by: kindness on August 13, 2010 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

What makes this the stuff of Mike Allen's dreams?

He's a Republican.

SATSQ.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on August 13, 2010 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK
Post a comment









Remember personal info?










 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly