Some of the biggest names in the Popular Press - Time & Newsweek, and the Washington Post are all but swooning with the sure knowledge that their universe will soon return to its proper alignment - at least one chamber of Congress in Democratic hands; maybe both.
I have spent most of the past three decades in Washington, DC dealing with some formation of the national press corps. For the most part, I like them. In fact I can't think of a single senior reporter with whom I have had one-on-one dealings over time, that I don't like.
I suspect they are mostly Liberal in their outlook and I believe they have different rules, not for covering Republicans, but for assigning motives to what Republicans do as opposed to what Democrats do.
There was breathless coverage last week about Senator George Allen (R-VA) had not having reported certain stock options which he had been granted when he was out of public office.
The Washington Post, if I am reading their search page correctly, ran six different stories in a two-day period on various aspects of Option-Gate. You would have thought he was about one guilty plea from sharing a cell with Bernie Ebbers.
Turned out it was a technical violation. Options allow you to buy a stock at a set price. If you have options to buy stock in Mullings.com at $10 per share and Mullings is selling for $15 per share, those options are worth five bucks each.
In the Allen case the company's stock is, in effect, selling for $3 per share. Executing an option and paying $10 for a stock anyone else can buy for $3 is not a fast path to personal wealth creation.
At about the same time, it seems that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) did a land deal flip with a friend which earned him about $1.1 million. He neglected to list portions of the transaction on his financial disclosure forms back in 2001. The Post apparently felt that a single story about the financial dealings of the man who might be the Majority Leader of the US Senate was more than sufficient.
Last week Time Magazine's cover was of an elephant's tush - even someone with my limited sense of humor got that joke; and Newsweek had a close up of Mark Foley with an inset of George W. Bush - the implication being that Foley is somehow Bush's responsibility.
On Saturday, our friends at the Washington Post did their level best to provide balanced political coverage on its front page.
The Republican story was about Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) pleading guilty to charges of influence-peddling:
Ney Pleads Guilty to Corruption Charges
Lawmaker's Conviction Is 8th in Abramoff Probe
Legit news, to be sure, so you can't complain.
But, here was the headline of the front page story about Democrats:
Democratic Faces That Could Launch Thousands of Votes
With a Parade of Attractive Candidates, the Party May Benefit From the Politics of Beauty
What? The best the crack political staff at the Washington Post could come up with is a story about how Democratic candidates are prettier than Republicans?
In a front section political piece about Karl Rove being optimistic about holding the House and Senate, Post reporter Mike Abramowitz - one of those national reporters with whom I am acquainted and who I like - has this graf:
"The question is whether this is a case of justified confidence -- based on Bush's and Rove's electoral record and knowledge of the money, technology and other assets at their command -- or of self-delusion."
Note that there is no one quoted here. Abramowitz was permitted to openly speculate, in a hard news piece, about whether the President and Rove are delusional.
Finally John Kerry was interviewed by Bob Woodward while Kerry was in - wait for it - New Hampshire giving a political speech. Kerry. New Hampshire. Speech. Politics.
Now, that's being delusional.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to all the stories referenced above; the Time & Newsweek covers; a modestly amusing Mullfoto and a Catchy Caption of the Day.
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