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Monday, February 03, 2014

Today’s ridiculous spin from Politico

Politico - Senate Democrats break from Obama

Or “Trashy, sensationalist story is trashy, sensationalist.”
Politico: President Barack Obama is counting on Senate Democrats to help approve his legislative agenda during his final years in office. And though they are his staunchest allies on most economic issues, many Democratic senators are breaking with him on key issues in very public ways.

From trade to Iran sanctions, the Keystone XL pipeline, Obamacare, the National Security Agency and energy policy, Senate Democrats seem unusually comfortable criticizing the president, with only minimal concerns about repercussions from the White House.

Even Obama’s steadfast ally, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, didn’t mince words last week when he rejected a bill to fast-track trade deals that is strongly backed by the White House, working against Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana, a Senate colleague who has been tapped to be the president’s ambassador to China.

Even some Republicans are noticing.
Old and tired: GOP Civil War. Fresh and exciting: Democratic Civil War. Pretty snazzy, huh?

Well, it would be if it didn’t also happen to be horsecrap.
Ed Kilgore: Splits from the majority Democratic position by Members of Congress from energy-producing areas is about as new a development as the electric guitar. Of course Mary Landrieu and Joe Manchin are going to complain about utility regulations and fracking restrictions. Indeed, until Republicans abandoned their own environmentalist tradition, a Member of Congress’ region or home-state was far and away the most reliable indicator of their position on energy and environmental issues. And it will, of course, be most visible in the Senate where every energy-producing state has two representatives.

Harry Reid’s rejection of fast-track trade negotiating authority is also un-newsy to anyone remembering similar Democratic hostility to fast-track during the Clinton administration. Yes, there is underlying tension within the Democratic coalition (and also within the Republican coalition, though to a lesser extent) over trade policy, but again, it goes back at least to the 1970s.

The Democratic “revolt” on Iran policy is yesterday’s news in a somewhat different respect: it has been largely quelled as Democratic cosponsors of the Menendez-Kirk sanctions legislation mostly line up in favor of letting Harry Reid keep the bill off the Senate floor until the administration’s negotiations with Iran run their course.
There’s more, but you get the idea. The bare bones of Politico’s hackfest here is that Democrats aren’t of a hivemind — like the lockstep thinking that’s usually a hallmark of the GOP — and that means everything’s in disarray and the party’s falling apart and the White House’s legislative agenda is in shambles and isn’t it all so wonderfully chaotic and newsworthy that you just have to read you some Politico?

But none of this is anything new. It’s become cliché to say that getting Democrats on the same page is like herding cats. and that’s because people have been repeating the analogy for years. None of this is new. Democrats tend to be more independent-minded and willing to go their own way than the more authoritarian and doctrinaire Republicans — Republicans who, ironically, claim to value individualism.

Stories like this are less about Washington and more about Politico’s market strategy. They seek to be the most important journalistic voice in DC by being the one that “drives the conversation.” So if you’re not reading Politico, you’re out of the loop. And you drive the conversation not by being accurate, apparently, but by twisting facts in order to “find” stories that no one else is reporting on. This isn’t so much actually “driving the conversation” as it is “being a hack.”

And it’s not so much journalism as it is writing Washington insider fan fiction.

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