Thursday, January 04, 2007

With Friends Like These: The Demonization Of Nancy Pelosi


It's only the first day of Nancy Pelosi's term as Speaker of the House, but for weeks the knives have been out.

Some of the reaction has been predictable. Nobody expected the GOP to suddenly turn nice, or bipartisan, as the minority party. Cable outlets like Fox, CNN and MSNBC have been almost as obvious in their determination to tear Ms. Pelosi down, before she even has had a chance to settle into her new position.

But then there are the others. Like Lawrence O'Donnell, for example.

The O'Donnell Hatchet Job

I will focus on Mr. O'Donnell, because he to me represents everything wrong with both the media and allegedly progressive politics.

It is telling that O'Donnell's accomplishments are listed in his Huffington Post bio in this order:
Executive Producer "The West Wing"
Panelist "The McLaughlin Group"
Former Chief of Staff, U.S. Senate Committee on Finance

I bring up O'Donnell because of a nasty piece of butchery he had on HuffPo earlier this week, titled "Pelosi Needs An Agenda For 100 Weeks, Not 100 Hours."

Incredulously, the man whose visibility is due to his weekly appearance on a show known for people shouting soundbytes all over each other, writes:
Nancy Pelosi's first legislative move as Speaker of the House is a mistake. A big one. She is going to cram all the feel-good, easy-to-pass, politically popular legislation she can think of into her first hundred hours without any idea of what she's going to do for the next hundred weeks.
Sorry, but this stands as one of the most profoundly ignorant ramblings I have seen written about Pelosi anywhere.

Does Mr. O'Donnell think that after the first 100 hours Speaker Pelosi was planning to take a vacation at hour 101?

Obviously, the 100 hours strategy was, as much as anything, a rhetorical device to make a loud statement that this Congress is going to be all about action, as opposed to the prior group that got nothing accomplished.

After years of being relegated to the basement, Democrats now have a chance to take the lead. What better way to start than to put everyone on notice that the work hours of Congress have been changed (which has been done) and that those changes will include by starting on projects important to most Americans.

When O'Donnell writes that Pelosi has "no idea what she's going to do for the next hundred weeks," it is petty character assassination.

Does this man not realize that the various committees will be beginning their own investigations into the behavior of the Bush administration these past 6 years? Does O'Donnell not understand that maybe it does not make all that much sense to list the entire rundown of exactly what Pelosi will be doing for the next 100 weeks. Does he really think that after 6000 minutes, the Democrats will have played all their cards and the carriages will turn into pumpkins?

As a man who spends a weekly stint on a show designed for people with no attention span, that like their messages delivered in staccato, shouted sentences, does Mr. O'Donnell even believe what he writes?

The False Argument

Under the guise of giving her his wise counsel and direction, O'Donnell amplifies his beef, writing:
Pelosi's hundred-hour agenda is a smart one; it's the hundred hours that's the problem.

The biggest minimum wage increase in history is long overdue and very popular with voters. Why cram it into a frenzied legislative session with a bunch of other bills that will have a claim on headline space? Why not let the minimum wage increase have a hundred hours all to itself?
He's kidding, right?

The minimum wage has been debated to death. America wants the increase. The votes are obviously there. We need 100 hours on this?

Thoughtless sabotage

Whatever Mr. O'Donnell's intentions, I am offended that he chose to attack and discredit Pelosi before she had even served a single day as Speaker.

In the same way I am tired of hearing the voice of James Carville, I grow equally sick of self-important rants such as the O'Donnell HuffPo piece.

I am beginning to think that all those guest spots on the myriad of political and cable shows has caused the talking heads to lose touch with reality.

On shows like the McLaughlin Report, it's all about who can shout the loudest and make the most outrageous statements.

Blog posts like the pre-emptive hit O'Donnell put on Pelosi will surely make him more valuable to the producers at Fox, CNN and MSNBC.

However, they do nothing to aid the Democrat's cause in Congress.

It is sabotage, pure and simple.

2 comments:

peggy said...

It's unfortunate but I have to agree with you. Character assassination is a nice way of saying what's been happening to Ms. Pelosi and in some measure to Harry Reid.

It's sickening that weeks before Madame Speaker took her position she was being torn down by those who were supposed to be looking forward to the changes she'll bring.

Chris Matthews curdles my blood. He's so biased it's pathetic. He keeps complaining that the Dems haven't done anything about Iraq. It's as if he wants people to forget that the 110th Congress session started today.

He's banking on people not paying attention. He also keeps complaining that the Republicans were being shut out. Where has he been the last six years when the Republicans were sticking it to the Dems? He's disgusting.

We all need to call 'little man' McHenry's office too and tell him to stop whining. He and some other whining Republicans took to the House floor tonight to cry about the treatment they're getting which is exactly the same thing they did to Dems for the last 6 years. They can't even take one day. Just goes to show you that the Dems have stronger character.

The Dems need to remind people about the treatment they got. It's been kept quiet and hidden the last six years by the media so people really don't know about it. The media didn't care when the Dems were getting shafted but the noise level has certainly increased lately. How much do you think they get paid? Armstrong Williams got a pretty penny. Does anyone think the recent spate of op-eds and TV appearances are just coincidence. Wish I could see the bank accounts of some of the 'anchors.'

Keep reminding people of the truth. The GOP has a lot of power and a lot of microphones so we need to get out there and shout.

Alternative Comment said...

Terry Gross interviewed Frank Luntz who got quite unraveled when she asked about his snarky comment:

http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=13&agg=0&prgDate=01-09-2007&view=storyview

Frank Luntz Explains 'Words That Work'
Republican pollster Frank Luntz advises politicians on the language they should use to win elections and promote their policies. Although he works on one side of the aisle, he says that what he does is essentially nonpartisan, seeking clarity and simplicity in language. His critics disagree, and have accused him of using language that misrepresents policies to "sell" them to the public. Frank Luntz is the author of Words That Work.