In “Approaching metaphysical nullity” I took a look at David Farenthold’s Washington Post profile of Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor as he runs for reelection in Arkansas. Pryor will face our friend Tom Cotton on the ballot in November.
Arkansas has become a Republican stronghold during Pryor’s tenure in the Senate. Pryor therefore chooses to present himself as a non-ideological advocate of good government. Farenthold covers Congess for the Post and cooperates with Pryor’s self-presentation. From Farenthold’s article one would never know the artifice, the calculation or the dishonesty involved.
At a Washington Post blog, Ed Rogers supplies some context that was missing from Farenthold’s profile. Rogers first describes Pryor’s self-presentation:
He made some toe-curling, self-serving statements that almost make you feel bad he has to work so hard to hide his record in Washington when he’s back at home in Arkansas. It’s almost embarrassing to watch Democrats with two left feet try to dance to the right. Pryor said there wasn’t “one issue, or one cause” that got him involved in politics. Instead, he says, he got involved because he “just believe[s] in good government, and working hard.”
This is the point, missing from Farenthold’s article:
Pryor wants to spin his record in Washington to make himself seem benign and low-key as he reaches out to his constituents. I can almost hear him blurting out, in an effort to reassure those voters, “I’m just downright irrelevant these days in Washington.” Red-state Democratic senators want their constituents to believe that they are beleaguered and immaterial, but their voting records don’t lie. Even if Pryor claims he is not in Washington “to represent the president or his party,” the reality is that voting with the president over 90 percent of the time does not make Pryor “the most independent Senator in Washington.” While Fahrenthold suggested that Pryor is trying to foster a “neutral” profile in Arkansas, it’s hard to claim neutrality when you support the Obama-Reid agenda 91 percent of the time.
Funny how Farenthold somehow missed that.