Friday, September 15, 2006

Rebellion Hyperbole

So 4 Republican Senators and one former Secretary of State constitute a "Senate Rebellion [Breaking] Out Against the White House" in regard to what should/should not be considered legal treatment of detainees in the war on terror?

I found that interesting, but not because of the numbers (there are after all only 100 U.S. Senators, and the Republicans have a small majority).

No, what I found interesting was that it's really not news.

The 4 senators listed are John McCain (AZ), Lindsay Graham (SC), Susan Collins (ME), and John Warner (VA). The 5th person is Colin Powell. Let's look very quickly at each one (including their Lifetime ADA Ratings (pdf) from the liberal "Americans For Democratic Action" just for fun):

John McCain is a moderate media darling who routinely bucks the President's agenda. He was also a POW during vietnam. His not backing the President on this is hardly surprising. John McCain has a lifeimte ADA raing of 10/100 (100 being in full compliance with the ADA's agenda. Folks such as Hillary Clinton score 100/100).

Lindsay Graham is a Democrat in liberal Republican clothing. He routinely abandons the Republican platform to side with the Democrats. This includes the war in Iraq and tax cuts. I would have been surprised if Lindsay did support the President on this. His lifetime ADA rating is 20/100.

I don't know much about Susan Collins, but the fact that her lifetime ADA rating is 65/100 should be absolutely striking (the ADA considers a "moderate" to have a score of 40-60/100). So again, no surprise here.

I probably know the least about Senator Warner, who's ADA rating is the same as John McCain's, so we'll say this one is possibly newsworthy.

Colin Powell, while a great general and supposedly a very nice, intelligent man, has always been more moderate and less hawkish than the administration in which he served. Right or wrong, he was the one pushing diplomatic answers to various crises well beyond what his boss wanted to do. I believe that's one of the reasons the completely awesome Condoleeza Rice is now doing his job. So again, no surprise (there is no ADA rating for former Secretaries of State).

So, to me, there is one possible breaking of ranks that's at all newsworthy here, and that's from Senator Warner, and that's primarily because I don't know anything about him.

And yet, the above non-shockers have produced the following headlines (small sample):

"Senate Rebellion Breaks Out Against White House" - NPR
"Powell Joins GOP Clash Over Terror" - Chicago Tribune
"GOP Senators Break with President Over Detainees" - NPR
"Bush Argues Terrorism Case After Republican Revolt" - Reuters

I know news media in general are prone to hyperbole, but 1 Senator breaking ranks abnormally (it may be abnormal) hardly constitutes a political crisis.
posted by Dennis at 10:49 AM (permalink) 0 comments

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The news of their deaths is greatly exaggerated

I was perusing's news site, and noticed a striking headline under the US Politics section:

Of course I had to click on the link. Turns out it was about a murder/suicide in Clinton, IOWA, not from the actual politician and her wife. I think ASK needs to tweak some parsing logic....
posted by Dennis at 11:01 AM (permalink) 0 comments