And people say blogs don't matter
Conservative political blogs this week scored a major victory by
pushing Congress to introduce a resolution condemning The New York
Times for outing a secret anti-terrorist financial tracking
program. Indeed, as soon as the Times ran the story, the
conservative blogosphere was up in arms.
Glenn Reynolds, proprietor of the popular , took Times Editor Bill Keller to
task for running the story. Keller's reasoning, wrote Reynolds, "is
a manifestation of the hubris that has marked the NYT of late."
Reynolds continued, "The founders gave freedom of the press to the
people, they didn't give freedom to the press."
, who for the better part of a week has devoted his
blog almost entirely to this issue, began the call for a
congressional resolution condemning the Times. "The
irresponsibility of The New York Times and Los Angeles Times,
combined with the arrogance of their management in refusing to be
available to anyone concerning their decisions, puts the burden on
Congress to act," wrote Hewitt. A host of smaller blogs immediately
picked up the call to action.
On Wednesday the congressional publication The Hill reported that
GOP House leaders would indeed introduce the resolution
conservative bloggers were calling for. When asked about the link
between the cry of the conservative blogosphere and congressional
action, Communications Director and "Spokesblogger" to Congressman
Jack Kingston, David All said, "Bloggers have a great echo chamber
effect throughout the nation because they are always, always on and
they produce a link that can be shared virally. For example, we
first read about the Dubai Port issue being a problem on a blog.
This issue was the same way. It's the constant drum-beat which
fires up members and constituents to react."
Congress doesn't make the grade
This week, the Heritage Foundation released its mid-term grading of Congress
on issues ranging from earmark reform and spending to Social
Security Reform. Let's just say a high schooler who brought home
these grades could expect to be sitting at home on the weekends for
a couple months.
The House had an overall grade point average of 1.6-a C-
average-and the Senate's GPA was 1.0, a D average. The report notes
a "growing disappointment among many members and voters over how
little has been accom¬plished since the 109th convened in
February 2005." The report card graded all facets of congressional
performance but noted particularly poor performance in certain
"Federal budgets for fiscal years 2005 and 2006 were not completed
until several months into the next fiscal year," says the report.
"The earmark epidemic has been linked to corruption, the
much-maligned highway bill was enacted two years late (and gained
nothing in quality from the delay), the new Medicare drug benefit
plan will add more than $1 trillion to the federal budget over the
next 10 years and the financially shaky Social Security system
remains untouched and unreformed."
With grades like this, conservatives may have reason to worry as
the fall elections approach.
Democratic women for change
This week the female senators in the Democratic Party took to the
Senate floor to introduce what they hope will be a new powerhouse
within the Democratic caucus: the Democratic Women for Change. The
group displayed a giant poster on the Senate floor that they called
a "checklist for change."
Why a "checklist"?
Well, as Barbara Mikulski of Maryland put it, "women know
checklists … it's what we use to keep our families on
schedule." Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas agreed: "I have a list on my
refrigerator, on my desk, in my car and in my purse to make sure
that I can keep up on things that are important."
"This 'checklist for change' will make a difference in America's
future," said Hillary Clinton.
So what exciting new items make this checklist? Well, it reads like
the same-old, same-old that Democrats have been pushing in Congress
The to-do actions include such platitudes as reliable pensions,
stopping the privatization of Social Security, protecting our air
land and water, superfund cleanup and increased health care
Tim Chapman is the Director of the Center for Media and Public
Policy at The Heritage Foundation and a contributor to
First appeared in TownHall.com