Thursday, December 6, 2012


Photo by Stephen Crowley, New York Times.
Jennifer Steinhauer gets front page above the fold in the New York Times for letting us know that the House Republican caucus is all joy and unity under the leadership of Speaker Boehner:
With a daunting fiscal crisis looming and conservatives outside the House torching him at every turn, Speaker John A. Boehner might be assumed to have a shaky hold on his gavel. Instead, it appears he is enjoying the broadest support of his tumultuous two-year speakership from House Republicans.
How does she know? Two pieces of evidence.

One is that
On Wednesday, in a private meeting between Mr. Boehner and House Republicans, member after member spoke in support of him, in some cases saying a deal they would have rejected six months ago would most likely be taken today.

“I want to be a strong advocate and say that I am with the speaker,” said Representative Scott Rigell of Virginia, a House freshman. “I am with the leadership.”
The other is that at least two of the desperadoes formerly known (at least to themselves) as Young Guns, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan, have signed on to Boehner's magical cliff avoidance proposal with the imaginary $800 billion in revenues, Cantor having put his anti-Boehner shiv back in his pocket for the time being  (you can see the joy and unity in his eyes in the photograph above—say what you will about Cantor, that is one deeply expressive phiz).

Well, Cantor has certainly abandoned the dream of being Speaker in the 112th Congress, which has less than a month of life before it slinks shamefacedly into a well-deserved grave. We'll just have to wait and see whether the shiv comes back out for the 113th in January, when Boehner will be guilty, in teaophyte eyes, of yet another surrender to the forces of socialism. I do hope someone warns Steinhauer in advance, because otherwise she might get severely shocked.

As to that private meeting, how do you suppose Steinhauer knows what was said there? She's not a Republican member of the House, is she? She knows because some person or persons told her, perhaps including Representative Scott Rigell of Virginia, because the purpose of the private meeting could only be accomplished if it was publicized, if you see what I mean, or selectively de-privatized. Or "leaked", in the quaint old expression. The purpose of the meeting, in other words, was to generate the story that Steinhauer has written; as part of the general effort to whip the Speaker's troops into an orderly retreat.

It's surely not very important. Compared, say, to using the Times to "publicize" a bogus casus belli and start a war, it's not important at all. But it would be really nice if the paper's Washington bureau could learn to be a little less credulous. They're very proud that they don't pay sources as the Murdoch papers do, but really, nobody gives you a story for free; everybody is after something or other, and what your source is after is an absolutely central aspect of what your story means. As to the orderliness of the retreat, I sort of hope it's true as far as the House goes—it could mean a better deal for Obama and for the rest of us. But I'm more impressed by the real news of old Senator DeMint fleeing for the comfortable precincts of the Heritage Foundation, like a Japanese emperor retiring to a monastery (from which they always made as much trouble as they could, in the glory days of the Hei'an era).

No comments:

Post a Comment