Thursday, July 19, 2007

I have to disagree with Kevin Drum on the Reid gambit

Kevin claims it was “too labyrinthine” for most people to follow. I disagree, and here’s why:

While Reid's gambit have been too labyrithine for John/Jane Doe, it most assuredly was NOT too labyrinthine for Washington bureaus, or even for P1 copy desks at major dailies.

Here's the headline for the Bryan-College Station (Texas) Eagle, an area that is certainly not a hotbed of liberalism, though the paper’s op-ed page is actually somewhat progressive:

“GOP defeats legislation on troop withdrawal.”

Not much simpler than that.

Besides that, this is a media failing, not a GOP victory, in other ways. Good reporters are supposed to do, or their editors are supposed to do, news analysis sidebars on things like this, and they basically didn’t.

Now, I do agree with Drum that, because Reid is pulling the defense appropriation bill, thereby squelching GOP alternatives on Iraq, Mitch McConnell’s victory may well be a Pyrrhic one. That said, that’s not a given, either, and especially when soldiers’ lives are at stake, a potential bigger bird in the hand down the road vs. a smaller one today isn’t the best trade.