Saturday, February 04, 2006


Smoked in the race for Majority Leader, the local congressman vents his spleen (and hopefully lowers his eyebrows) by blaming everyone's favorite bastards -- the media. According to the Associated Press, Blunt said there really wasn't this anti-Tom DeLay mojo going on. Rather:
[M]edia calls for a new face in the party's leadership rather than a desire by Republicans for change drove the outcome.

Blunt said House members reacted to a daily drumbeat of negative news stories stoked by a few Republicans who did not speak for the party as a whole.

"The five or six people that will talk to the media about what bad shape we're in are not reflective of 225 of their colleagues," Blunt said.

"I don't want to say the media is to blame but ... if you can find a story that focused on anything but change, you come and show it to me," he said.
Blunt's anti-media criticism certainly can't apply to the local daily. Incredibly, there was no day-before coverage of the Thursday vote, and the Friday story and editorial both adopted quaint, everything's-gonna-be-all-right approaches (the story's hed: "Blunt loss unlikely to hurt area, backers say". Thanks for the insight, Sherlock).

The story did quote Craig Hosmer, leader of the local Democrats, as noting that the public humiliation of Blunt by his own party is a "snub" that could hurt his political future. The editorial whisks away the obvious truth in favor of this:
Blunt's loss is also a small loss for southwest Missouri. He remains majority whip and will continue to be an active part of the Republican leadership in the House. There is every reason to believe that he will continue to be responsive to the needs of people in southwest Missouri.
Blunt remains Whip because he refused to relinquish the office while running for Leader -- yet another reason why his GOP peers kicked him to the curb. Only an innocent would believe Blunt still holds any significant sway over Republicans in Congress. He may hold a leadership post, but he's no longer seen as a leader.

Don't take it from us. Read what his base thinks. The Freepers are glad to be rid of Blunt; they thought he was a power-grabber and a terrible "acting" Leader. One sample comment:
Blunt was an idiot who took months to get a $40 billion budget reduction done and couldn't even get ANWR or the Patriot Act passed. I would have preferred Shadegg, but Boehner is fine. He's got the spirt of 1994 in him so hopefully he'll be active in lobbying and pork reform, getting some better budget cutting and getting Bush's agenda passed. Blunt was a disaster. Thank God he's not going to be majority leader.
If southwest Missouri Dems could find a viable congressional candidate, they would force Blunt to mount a local campaign (for the first time this century), thereby drawing down the amount of money he could contribute to other candidates. Local Dems could also influence the Senate race between Jim Talent and Claire McCaskill. A strong Blunt challenger would up the number of Dem votes in southwest Missouri. That would be very bad news for Talent, who needs at least 60 percent of the vote down here to make up for Dem strongholds in Kansas City and mid-Missouri.

We've been making the point for months to our friends in politics -- Roy Blunt has never been more vulnerable, but 2006 is the only window of opportunity for Democrats to beat him. Last fall they thought we were crazy. Last week they thought Blunt was a shoo-in as Majority Leader. Last time we checked, they still didn't have a candidate for Congress. What are they waiting for?


Anonymous said...

Ron says: "Incredibly, there was no day-before coverage of the Thursday vote..."

Really? Must not be reading the same paper as me. I saw them in my paper, and I was able to find the same articles at I count at least three from the day before and the day of:

Feb. 2: Blunt loses in narrow vote for House majority leader

Feb. 2: Nervous House Republicans to vote on leader

Feb. 1: Rep. Blunt urged to step down as whip

Plus I found this Robert Leger column too:

Jan. 15: Ozarks' future tied to Blunt's quest

Your critique of their spin the next day is good but I think they covered it fine beforehand. Accuracy is everything, Ron.

Anonymous said...

Anon: Except for the Leger column, those are all wire service reports. The News and Leader should have owned that story with their own reporters. Instead, the reprinted wire service reports. Hell, even their day after story was largely wire service.

I'd argue Ron is dead-on accurate in his reporting. "Incredibly, there was no day-before coverage of the Thursday vote. . . ." Where was the local coverage? The Missouri coverage? That is his point. Of the local media, only KY3 actually had a reporter in DC to report on the story. For gosh sakes, Blunt is from here! The best the local paper can do is print wire copy? They couldn't have assigned a reporter to localize a story that is so easily localized?

The exact same article the local rag printed could be found in newspapers in North Carolina (, and San Diego (, two cite but two examples of stories you noted.

Wouldn't you like to have known what Blunt's son thought about the situation pre-vote? How confident Blunt's backers were that he had the vote wrapped up, as he'd been claiming? What impact his ties to DeLay and Abramoff might have on the vote? What a win or a loss might mean to southwest Missouri? Or did any of it really matter?

Ron Davis said...

Anon: The paper "covered it fine" before the vote? You don't expect much from your local newspaper.

Anonymous said...

News-Leader going down again. Blunt was from here, nothing interesting or in depth. "The Note" was following with daily updates for two weeks prior from Blunts aids. Where was the News Leader? Looking for real people with real news, and missing the story.

Anonymous said...


OK, you're right that they basically ran wire reports. But Ron said they didn't cover it at all: "...there was no day-before coverage of the Thursday vote..." He made no differentiation between local coverage and wire coverage. That's all I was saying. And maybe it's a good thing that the News Leader isn't so cozy with Roy that they can get the insider scoop on his vote count.

Ron Davis said...


What I wrote -- "no day-before coverage" -- didn't fully convey my complaint, which is that the newspaper didn't locally advance a national story involving an Ozarks politician. You're right to point out the shortcomings of my shorthand.

You say that "maybe it's a good thing" the N-L didn't get the "insider scoop" on the Blunt vote count. It's not a matter of being cozy with a pol. It's never a good thing when the biggest newsroom in town doesn't own the Blunt story.