Thursday, December 9, 2010

Will She Or Won't She

One of the upshots of Sen. Collins' process-trumps-substance approach to Democratic priorities is that, by the time her bizarre behavior becomes a focus of national media attention--usually because hers is one of a handful of votes up for grabs--reporters are focused, quite rightly, on the legislative endgame: Will it pass? Won't it pass? Who will put it over the edge?

When an issue is coming to its head, that's what readers want to know.

So at that point in the process, there simply aren't many inches to spare or much air time available to delve into the junior senator's rationale for holding things up: What, specifically, does Collins think she'll have accomplished if her procedural objections win out? What, for example, does the length of the debate have to do with the fairness of the process? And why is it necessary for some bills to navigate a gauntlet while it's okay for others to be rammed through.

These are all obvious, vital questions. But they're the kinds of questions that need to be asked by the local media in the weeks leading up to a vote--or they won't be asked at all.

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