Voters Throwing Out Pols Who Work Across Party Lines, Stephanopoulos Frets

After ABC's Jonathan Karl painted Senator Arlen Specter's (D-R-D-PA) troubles as emblematic of how “the national anti-incumbent wave has hit Pennsylvania” (complete with a matching full screen graphic), George Stephanopoulos fretted on World News about how voters say “they want the parties to work together, yet they seem to be most against now the Senators, the incumbents, who did work across party lines.”

He cited the single incumbent who has lost – “Bob Bennett in Utah worked with a Democrat on health care” – then raised Specter, touting how “he's been in both parties,” as if that's something noble, before naming “Blanche Lincoln, down in Arkansas, a centrist Democrat. She's in a lot of trouble tonight.” Here's a possibility: Those upset by pro-big government politicians and insider coziness bailing out their donors are out voting and are not the same people who incessantly yap about “bi-partisanship.”

ABC stumbled into that as anchor Diane Sawyer marveled: “And the driving center of this, is the bailout?” Stephanopoulos confirmed: “The biggest issue by far is the bailouts. That's what's fueling so much voter anger out there.”

(On Sunday's World News, in an interview recorded during a Senate subway ride with Bennett, Karl cued up the outgoing Senator to denounce the Tea Party activists:

Is there a risk though that this movement, the movement which targeted you for defeat, is going to push the Republican Party in such a direction that it's just not going to be electable?)

From the Monday, May 17 ABC World News, starting where Sawyer crediting Stephanopoulos for catching a supposed irony:

DIANE SAWYER: You were telling me an interesting, ironic turn of events – that everybody said that they wanted compromise, they wanted collegiality.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: They want the parties to work together, yet they seem to be most against now the Senators, the incumbents, who did work across party lines. Bob Bennett in Utah worked with a Democrat on health care, loses the primary in the Republican Party. Arlen Specter, the ultimate ID, he's been on both, he's been in both parties. He's worked. He's been an independent. Blanche Lincoln, down in Arkansas, a centrist Democrat. She's in a lot of trouble tonight.

SAWYER: And the driving center of this, is the bailout?

STEPHANOPOULOS: The biggest issue by far is the bailouts. That's what's fueling so much voter anger out there. They see politicians taking care of the powerful, taking care of the insiders. They're saying “what are they doing for us?”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center