Thursday, January 29, 2009

Do Republicans Matter?

Not according to Hugh Jackson who writes this at The Guardian:
But the press seems oblivious to the fact that November's election, coupled with the election results of 2006, also mark a stark change for American politics and policy – a change that should be reflected in coverage of Obama administration initiatives but that thus far remains largely obscured by the media's stubborn insistence on covering Washington the same way that they've reported on it for decades.

Specifically, the press is still covering Republicans as if they matter.

Granted, on any given day, at least two living breathing Republicans will matter. That's how many Republican senators Democrats need to reach the supermajority required to overpower obstruction tactics allowed the minority under Senate rules, and pass legislation.
And furthermore:
But whatever Republican it is that matters on any specific piece of legislation, it most assuredly will not be the house minority leader John Boehner. Unlike the Senate, the US House has no refined and dainty rules allowing the minority Republicans, as one of their patron saints William Buckley put it, to stand athwart history yelling Stop.

Contemporary House Republicans consist primarily of culture-war-hardened wing-nuts in congressional districts drawn so as to capture a sufficient number of Limbaugh-listening voters to render the districts "safe" for hard-right ideologues like, well, contemporary House Republicans. They're now heavily outnumbered by the Democrats, 256 to 178. And they're irrelevant as hell (which is irrelevant indeed when one factors in the likelihood that there is no hell). Read the whole thing cause it's pretty good.