Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (joined by a coterie of Senate Republicans) spoke on the Senate floor for about 21 hours in opposition to funding the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare." Cruz's speech was not a filibuster, it had to end before today's scheduled vote on the Senate's bill to continue funding the government, and was never a threat to derail legislation that was passed and signed into law three years ago.
As such, much of the media coverage of Cruz's speech has focused on the political circus Cruz has whipped up. Since he couldn't actually alter the legislative process and has few supporters on either side of the aisle, it's not unreasonable to think that Cruz is doing this for his own benefit. Washington Examiner political writer Timothy Carney has sensed this tone in the media coverage of Cruz's fake filibuster and sounds the familiar "LIBERAL BIAS" klaxon, arguing that Texas state senator Wendy Davis' (D) filibuster to halt passage of a restrictive anti-abortion rights bill this past summer was similar to Cruz's but "the media spin was different."
The circumstances surrounding Cruz's and Davis' speeches, however, are pretty different. "Davis's filibuster was no more likely than Cruz's to change the law," Carney wrote. Perhaps so, but Davis' filibuster was an extraordinary measure taken in response to extraordinary measures deployed by Gov. Rick Perry and the Republican-dominated legislature. Davis' filibuster came at the end of a special legislative session convened by Perry specifically to pass the abortion law, and after it failed to pass Perry had to call yet another special session to pass the bill, and a third after that to deal with the business the legislature couldn't attend to because it was wrapped up in the abortion debate. Cruz was operating within the regular business of the Senate and there was a hard deadline on how long he could continue.
Politically, Davis' filibuster became a flashpoint in the national abortion debate because it split activists along the well-established lines, and abortion rights supporters worked doggedly to elevate Davis' profile while opponents worked to marginalize her. It also helped to highlight the intense state-level fights over abortion rights that had not registered on the national media's radar. With Cruz, that dynamic doesn't exist. He has a few supporters in the Senate, and most Republicans -- including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Whip John Cornyn -- aren't backing him. Even the Wall Street Journal editorial board dismissed his anti-Obamacare campaign with more than a whiff of contempt: "The supposedly intrepid General Cruz can view the battle from the comfort of HQ while the enlisted troops take any casualties."
And Cruz is relitigating a fight that has long since been resolved. Most of the country already knows of and has an opinion of Obamacare. It was a central theme of the 2012 election and the guy who was for it won easily. The only thing Ted Cruz has brought to the table is Ted Cruz. Steve Benen put it just right: "Cruz seems to be generating quite a few headlines for himself. But as a qualitative matter, was Davis' speech a more important, consequential, and impressive display? I don't consider it a close call."
In at least 40 instances since the beginning of 2011, conservative media outlets wrongly told consumers that the light bulb efficiency standards scheduled to take effect in 2012 will require them to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
From the March 1 edition of Fox Business Networks' America's Nightly Scoreboard:
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The latest criticism of Rush Limbaugh's offensive and false comment claiming that accused Arizona shooter Jared Loughner "has the full support" of "the Democrat [sic] Party" and that Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik is "doing everything that [he] can to make sure" Loughner is "not convicted of murder" comes from a surprising source: Tim Carney, senior political columnist at the conservative Washington Examiner.
After stating in a January 11 Examiner blog post that Limbaugh "added as much toxic waste to the Tuscon debate as Paul Krugman -- probably more" with his comments, Carney wrote:
Limbaugh is doing the same thing here Krugman and other liberals have done: he's simply making stuff up to smear the other side, and try to turn this atrocity into a political weapon.
What liberals are defending Loughner? What evidence is there Sheriff Dupnik wants to go light on the guy? And what about this guy would lead anyone to believe he wants to be the victim -- I would guess the opposite.
As I said about Krugman, Limbaugh isn't stating a viewpoint, he's making stuff up, especially where he claims to get in Loughner's mind.
Here's the best I can do to explain Limbaugh: he seems stuck in the 1990s, where we on the Right were often battling a "blame-society" relativism. But Dupnik and Krugman aren't blaming the Right in order to exculpate Loughner -- they are most likely doing it in order to vent frustration or to delegitimize our arguments. Limbaugh's fighting the wrong fight, and assigning the motive that's least likely and most offensive.
I was just beginning to think tonight that things were clearing up and the Krugman-Kos drivel was fading away. Then Limbaugh throws this garbage into the mix.
Now the countdown begins on Carney's inevitable walkback of his criticism, like every pretty much every other conservative who has committed the offense of criticizing Limbaugh in public.
During a segment yesterday on Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, guest host Tobin Smith and guests Monica Crowley and Tim Carney portrayed U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R-NV), who served four terms in the Nevada Assembly, as a "political newbie."
Carney, a conservative Washington Examiner columnist, said Angle is having some problems because she's a "political newbie" who is "not a seasoned politician." Crowley, a Fox News contributor, similarly claimed Angle isn't an "establishment politician" so she's getting support because "the American people are done with professional politicians, and they want normal folks."
When Democratic strategist Tara Dowdell pointed out that Angle actually served in elected office, Smith quickly dismissed her, stating, "Well, but you know -- she was a senator [sic] in Nevada, that doesn't --" Smith previously told Angle in an interview that she was his "hero" and an "inspiration."
Angle herself has noted that she is not a "political newbie." On a widely criticized softball interview on Fox & Friends in July, co-host Gretchen Carlson introduced Angle as "somebody who really has not been in politics before." Angle corrected Carlson, stating: "Well, I really have been in politics for about the last 12 years. I started out on a school board, and then I served four terms in the Nevada state legislature. So it's not really the first time that I've ever been here."
In addition to serving as the minority whip in the Nevada Assembly, Angle also unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Congress in 2006. Fox News' July claim that Angle is a political newcomer drew criticism from veteran Nevada journalist Jon Ralston, and Las Vegas' Fox affiliate.
Terry Krepel, a senior web editor at Media Matters and founder and editor of ConWebWatch, has a great piece up at Huffington Post about how the Washington Examiner is driven by its right-wing tilt.
Here's just a taste:
In early February, Washington Examiner editor Stephen G. Smith gushed over his new chief political correspondent, Byron York, calling him "a prototype of the modern journalist, equally at home in print, on television and on the Web."
One word not uttered by Smith, however, was "conservative" -- as in the political orientation of York's former employer, the National Review. Indeed, York has regularly peddled conservative misinformation from his National Review perch.
York is one of the latest manifestations of the rightward skew of the Examiner, a free tabloid daily created four years ago when conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz took over a chain of suburban papers and refashioned them after the publication he owns in San Francisco -- an interesting move since Anschutz himself hasn't talked to the media in decades.
The Examiner has had a conservative skew from its inception, as exemplified by its early hiring of Bill Sammon, a former Washington Times staffer who penned several books laudatory of George W. Bush and his presidency even while serving as a White House correspondent. Sammon moved last year to Fox News, but he left no ideological vacuum behind.
Ostensible "news" positions at the Examiner have become increasingly stocked with opinion-minded right-wingers -- for instance, Matthew Sheffield, executive editor of the conservative blog NewsBusters, is managing editor of the Examiner's website, and Chris Stirewalt, who has been lauded for his "outspoken conservative perspective," is political editor.
Be sure to check out the entire piece.