Compare and Contrast

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has been campaigning against Congresswoman Michele Bachmann since she first entered public life, so it pains the paper to report that her re-election chances are looking bright:

Fifty-three percent of Bachmann’s constituents approve of the job she is doing and 41 percent disapprove.
Against DFL challengers, Bachmann leads Maureen Reed 53 to 37 and Tarryl Clark 55 to 37.

To add insult to injury, this poll was done by a Democratic Party-affiliated organization, Public Policy Polling. Bachmann’s popularity is a mystery to the Strib, since she is “one of the most divisive members of Congress.” Naturally, the paper went to a Democrat to explicate the mystery:

“Michele Bachmann’s constituents don’t seem to mind her penchant for controversial comments,” company president Dean Debnam said in a statement. “Given how poorly national Democrats rate in the district, they probably agree with a lot of them.”

Indeed. For the Strib, “divisive” means “disagreeing with Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, like most Americans.”
Contrast that with what is happening to Ben Nelson in Nebraska. The Omaha World-Herald reports that the phones in Nelson’s office are ringing off the hook; constituents are calling to express their opinions about his vote in favor of government medicine. The paper treads carefully around the questions of how many constituents are calling and what views they are expressing–Nelson’s aides say they really don’t know–but the truth comes out, in a humorous way, near the end:

Nelson received some positive feedback. At a press conference Monday at a public health clinic in Lincoln, several Nebraska politicians defended Nelson’s decision to support the health care reform bill.

There you have it! The people are livid, but “several politicians” are willing to defend Nelson’s sellout vote. We’re still waiting, though, for the first newspaper to describe Nelson as “controversial” or “divisive.”

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