Sunday, March 05, 2006 :::
The giddiness on Grace Street is palpable in today's TD. Here, Jeff Schapiro and Michael Hardy pen yet another piece warning us all that the legislature will very likely work long, long past its deadline because the Neanderthals in the House simply will not give on a slew of new tax hikes.
This is not news. However, an interesting ink blot study in reporter psychology and Senate disconnectedness does appear toward the end:
In many of the smaller, more numerous House districts, Republicans have shoehorned large numbers of conservative voters, forcing delegates to play to right-wing activists who control the nominating process.
Senate districts are larger and more diverse, freeing incumbents to take moderate stances on volatile issues, including taxes.
The word choices are absolutely fascinating. Conservatives have been "shoehorned" into House districts, like so many bunions. I suppose the obverse -- that liberals have been scattered far and wide like so much milkweed, does not enter into the reporters' thinking. Though these wandering seeds do seem to alight in larger Senate districts, where, rather than kow-tow to some angry, luddite base, the nabobs are free to be "moderates." Never mind that in playing to a wider constituency, these "moderates" are just as aggressively catering to an electoral base as their more numerous House colleagues. And I'm sure there are some Senators on both sides who would strongly disagree with this "moderate" characterization. But then, our intrepid reportorial duo manages to quote one of these broad-minded solons:
Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, R-Fairfax, a former delegate, said that because House districts are "very liberal or very conservative," members are "more concerned about primary opponents than the general election."
The result, Davis said: it is "harder for members of the House to move toward the center and compromise."
Hard electoral truth wrapped in Olympian disdain. The flip side of this is that Senators, in general, have had to dilute whatever beliefs they may have had to such a degree that they can no longer fathom anything that resembles principle.
Meanwhile, in the Cheap Seats
Jeff Schapiro types a lengthy screedy opinion piece profiling the House and Senate budget negotiators. Some are handled far rougher than the others (the House members in particular), but all find their behinds tagged with Jeff's ever-snapping towel.
Dickens it is not.
Against the backdrop of these character sketches, it will be very interesting to see how, or if, Schapiro is able to provide even the semblance of objective reporting on the conference committee's work.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 3/05/2006