In New York Times-land, only Republicans can be ideologically motivated politicians. Michael Shear, chief writer for the paper’s political blog “The Caucus,” showed stark labeling disparity in two separate stories on the budget compromise averting a government shutdown, one focused on Democrats, the other on Republicans.
His Saturday morning post focused on Democratic disappointment about the budget deal: “Some Democrats Complain About Budget Compromise.” Yet of the six Democrats quoted (including President Obama) only one was ideologically labeled: “Representative George Miller of California, a veteran liberal member of Congress.” Neither labor secretary Robert Reich and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were called liberal.
In contrast, Shear’s pre-agreement Friday afternoon post, “Conservatives Urge Boehner to Cut a Budget Deal and Move On,” was full of ideological labels. Of the five Republicans Shear quoted, three were called “conservative” and two were called moderate, and the story opened with overuse of the C-word.
For days, the assumption has been that Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio was dug into his hardened position on behalf of the conservatives in his House caucus and from socially conservative voices in the Republican Party.
But now -- just hours before the first government shutdown in 15 years – some of the most vocal conservatives are urging Republicans to reach a deal before a shutdown occurs. That could give Mr. Boehner the political cover he needs to cut a deal with President Obama and the Democrats.
Among those “vocal conservatives” were Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, “a favorite of religious conservatives.”
Shear also quoted “Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, one of the more conservative Republicans in the Senate.” He also found too more moderate Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois.