Speaker Pelosi's Challenges
The media is awash with a slew of stories about the Democrats’ alleged disunity and disarray this morning. Some of this stems from the House Democratic Caucus leadership battle between Steny Hoyer and John Murtha, and now-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s involvement, which will be resolved this morning shortly after I finish writing this piece. Some of this media chatter stems from James Carville’s attacks upon Howard Dean’s competence for not taking the DNC an additional $5 million into hock to provide last-minute financial assistance to another 5-10 Democratic House candidates and drive up Nancy Pelosi’s margin. And some of this is simply an opportunity for GOP pundits and their allies in the media to have fun at the expense of the new party in power.
What they all have in common is the “fresh meat” syndrome: the GOP was a spent force by the time of the November election, and now the punditocracy and the media are rejuvenated at having new targets for the daily attack machine to hunt, the Democrats. Of course there will be coverage of the Hoyer/Murtha battle and Pelosi’s involvement. This is a legitimate topic for diversionary coverage, even more so since Pelosi took sides on this battle and the upcoming selection for the Intelligence Committee chairmanship. It is a little harder to understand what motivates Carville to dump on Dean over why a 30-seat pickup isn’t good enough, unless Carville is a stalking horse for the Clinton presidential and Harold Ford, Jr. chairmanship campaigns on the horizon. Since Carville for the most part has been sucking up to the GOP inner circle and hosting parties for Scooter Libby while allowing Mary Matalin to hang his balls in the laundry room these last six years, my only response is for Carville to put up or shut up by getting back in the game himself.
As for the media’s “fresh meat” giddiness, let’s be real here: we knew this would happen, and yet most of it is irrelevant. What matters now is to make sure that the GOP and White House are unsuccessful in establishing a frame for future narratives and coverage of the Democratic congress and its leaders. Democratic leaders will make most of their headlines next year when the oversight hearings commence and the “100 Hours” agenda is launched, and any diversions right now are simply chum in the water for most of the media to salivate over. Democrats should be redirecting the media’s fascination with horse race mindlessness towards challenging the GOP on its record of negligence, inaction, and ineptitude these last six years with the media as a willing enabler.