Wish fulfillment journalism, Part Two

The Washington Post hits a new low in foolish, partisan reporting in this front-page story about Dede Scozzafava and the race in New York-23. Written by Jason Horowitz, with all the finesse of a third-tier lefty blogger, the piece bears the nuanced title: “‘Scozzafava’ Turns Into Epithet: It’s a Grand Old Purging as moderate’s ouster spotlights Republican dysfunction.”
The claim that Scozzafava is, in fact, a “moderate” constitutes the core of Horowitz’s over-the-top claim that the Republican party is “dysfunctional.” Accordingly, Horowitz repeats this assertion several times. He fails, however, to support it. His only reference to Scozzafava’s actual positions on substantive issues calls her positions on gay rights, abortion, and organized labor “less than orthodox.”
This is a transparently dishonest effort to obscure the extent of Scozzafava’s “unorthodoxy” — which is, of course, the essential question in determining whether she is a moderate or a liberal. Horowitz declines to mention, for example, that Scozzafava favors card check legislation that would undermine the right of workers to determine through a secret ballot whether they want to be represented by a union.
This legislation is so radically left-wing that, even with their 60-40 majority, the Dems can’t push it through the Senate. That’s because genuine moderates, and even Arlen Specter before he switched parties, don’t support it.
Horowitz thus fails to demonstrate Scozzafava’s moderation (in keeping with Post’s traditions, maybe we should call her a Ruth Ginsburg moderate). He is successful, though, in portraying her as utterly frivolous and vapid. In Horowitz’s account, Scozzafava endorsed the Democrat in the race following her withdrawal because the White House orchestrated a campaign of friendly calls from the likes of Andrew Cuomo and Chuck Schumer. Beats flowers every time.
Presumably the White House did not need such inducements to cause Horowitz to reproduce Democratic talking points on the Post’s front-page. He was just doing what comes natually.
Horowitz concludes these talking points on what he no doubt thinks is an ominous note:

Those conservative forces now descend on Florida, where former House speaker Marco Rubio, who on Monday received the endorsement of the Club for Growth, might shove aside centrist Gov. Charlie Crist, who was once on John McCain’s short list for running mate.

Behind the absurd imagery, right-wingers swarming like locusts into the Sunshine State, this is a dog-bites-man story if there ever was one. Just imagine, conservatives are going to support a conservative in the primary instead of someone John McCain likes.
If Crist, who actually is a moderate, wins the nomination and Republicans support a different candidate — as the Democrats did in the case of Joe Lieberman, who was his party’s vice presidential nominee, not a member of some alleged “short list” — Horowitz will have a story. Right now all he has is a wish.

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