It was only a matter of time before the shameless, Congressional Republican minority stepped forward to cry about the Dems starting to take the initiative and marginalize the Republicans as had been done to them for the past decade plus. When they started chastising Nancy Pelosi for having airplane privileges similar to Denny-Boy Hastert when he was Speaker, one could only shake his/her head and think how foolish and predictably hypocritical they were behaving. But I think we all expected and deserve more than the mainstream press picking up this non-story and making it into the news-of-the-day, giving these adolescents a platform they don't deserve.
Heavens, even the White House acknowledged that this is a non-issue; that in fact, the House Sergeant-at-Arms, who helps oversee security for the House of Representatives, is the one who suggested Pelosi should fly home to California on a non-stop basis for security reasons; that this was a "silly story and......unfair to the Speaker", according to White House spokesman Tony Snow.
Of course, many of us expect no less from a bunch of childish, means-spirited and sexist whiners who can't tie their own shoes on a good day, let alone make good public policy for the people who sent them to Washington.
Remembering Molly Ivins observation that when "Congress convenes, many a village has lost its idiot." But this little temper tantrum goes beyond stupid. Hopefully the American public thinks so too.
So why did the mainstream press see fit to print this as a story of the day--while relegating truly significant news to the backpages? Take for example, Thursday's L.A. Times. On page one is the Pelosi airplane story---chock full of Republican objections to such an outrageous notion that she fly on a bigger plane so she can actually get all the way back to her home district in San Francisco (when Denny Hastert flew on a smaller plane he needed to get only half as far, since he lived in Illinois). Now, we know those Reps hate California, but I've got to believe they DO know that California is ALL THE WAY on the other side of the country, which means a longer flight and, to get there directly and without having to stop and refuel, it means a BIGGER plane. Even they can't be that clueless.
So why did the LA Times bite on this zero and put the Libby trial on page 16? Now there's a really serious situation where the Vice President and key players in the Bush Administration may very well have committed a criminal act in publicly outing a CIA operative. This is an almost Watergate-like situation where an entire adminstration could (and for many of us should) come tumbling down. The LA Times thinks this should be relegated to page 16, while playing up the Republican's food fight behavior in D.C. by putting it on the front page---and without doing the background work which would have discovered that the initiator of this plane travel was the Sergeant-at-Arms, with mandated responsibilty for Ms. Pelosi's security and that her male predecessor had the luxury of such travel without Republican (or Democratic) objection?
Is it any wonder the public is disgusted with the quality of the mainstream news we are subjected to on a daily basis? Any wonder that newspaper readership has declined precipitously in recent years? That Americans are less and less informed about the important issues they need to know and understand in order for our democracy to work effectively and responsively to the public's needs and priorities?
Is it sexism, stupidity, laziness or ignorance that fuels this kind of nonsense? Well, tomorrow's another day--we'll have Anna Nicole Smith's death to kick around for a while. No need to learn more about the possibly illegal conduct in the White House, now is there? As Republican Congressman Jeff Flake of Arizona lamented, "Next week we are going to steal their mascot and short-sheet their beds." Now that's a story worth covering.