Monday, March 27, 2006
# Posted 7:37 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
Condi: A-. Perfect composure. Eminently reasonable. Russert couldn't touch her. Yet as diplomat-in-chief, she has no choice but to be vague.And the hosts:
Tim Russert: B-. He didn't put Rice on the defensive for even a single moment.It's been three months now since I started doing the round-up. The grades I give out come more from the gut than from any precise metric for assessing performance. So what would happen if I went back over my grade book to see who my favorites are? Here are some results:
Senate Dems: 11 senators made 18 appearances and received 3 x A-, 1 x B+/A-, 7 x B+, 2 x B, 2 x B-, 2 x C+ and 1 x C. The low grade went to Pat Leahy, the highs to Joe Biden (twice) and Ted Kennedy. Interestingly, the very junior Barack Obama led with three appearances, followed by Schumer, Kennedy, Leahy and Lieberman with two.So, have I revealed anything about my preferences or principles through this grading exercise? The best analysis that I can come up with is that I was surprisingly nice to Democrats in order to my compensate for my dislike of what they were saying. But the few Dems who pissed me off got punished for it with 5 grades in the C-range, compared to 3 for the GOP.
Moving away from this vainglorious focus on myself, I think that the Sunday morning talk shows' choice of guests says something important about Capitol Hill: that most Senators are invisible on the national stage and that individual members of the House barely exist.
This result is almost exactly the same as the one arrived at 15 years ago by Brookings scholar Stephen Hess in his wonderful little book Live From Capitol Hill. Hess estimated that the 30 or so of the most important Senators get an overwhelming amount of attention from the media. (Yet even combined, these 30 get much less than the president.)
In my three-month sample, 24 senators were interviewed. Almost all of them were big names in Washington, except perhaps Jeff Sessions and Susan Collins. By my count, there were four additional senators who one would have expected to be on the talk shows but weren't: Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, and Rick Santorum. Some might add Dole, Rockefeller and Lott to that list.
If the talk shows simply invited senators at random, then perhaps we would've heard more from folks like Bob Bennett (R-UT), Richard Burr (R-NC), Gordon Smith (R-OR), and Craig Thomas (R-WY). Frankly, if you put those names on a list, didn't say they were senators and asked me who they were, I would have no idea. That being the case, maybe Messrs. Bennett, Burr, Smith and Thomas should only get half a vote. Or would that be giving the media more influence than it deserved? (2) opinions -- Add your opinion
I listened to Condi on MTP, didn't watch so maybe I missed something but I'd grade her a little lower. She didn't seem to answer a lot of the questions, she seemed to be reading from a script oblivious to hat Russert was saying. n the other hand he didn't push her when she did this a few times som maybe she gets credit for cowing him or something.
It may surprise people to know that despite his ocassional bombast--and his sometimes too frequent incoherence--Kennedy is actually pretty sharp as far as Senators go.Post a Comment