GOP Warnings of Democratic House Takeover: "More Than a Whiff of Bigotry"

Congressional reporter Carl Hulse givessustenance toDemocratic takeover dreams in Saturday's "Issues of Leadership Await If Democrats Retake House."

"Rusty from being out of power for 12 years, Democrats are rethinking how they should parcel out coveted committee chairmanships and the other plums that would come with House control at a time when the party's potential chairmen are increasingly being portrayed by Republicans as liberal extremists."

AsLyford Beverage notes on Newsbusters, there's little doubt that the "potential chairmen" are in fact liberal.

"In fund-raising appeals, on the Internet and in stump speeches, Republicans raise the specter of a Judiciary Committee headed by Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, a banking committee steered by Barney Frank of Massachusetts, a tax-writing committee led by Charles B. Rangel of New York, and an energy panel under the leadership of John D. Dingell of Michigan."

"Democrats and others call it a tired scare tactic with more than a whiff of bigotry because Republicans often point to gay and black Democrats who would lead committees. But faced with the attacks and pent-up ambitions of rank-and-file lawmakers, Democratic leaders are hinting they might abandon party tradition and award sought-after slots not solely on the basis of seniority, but instead follow the Republican lead of also weighing such factors as legislative record, diversity and work for the good of the party."

Hulse also fails to name of any of the "Democrats and others" that see the Republican move as a "scare tactic" with a "whiff of bigotry." Perhaps Conyers (a conspiracist who wants Bush impeached), Frank, Rangel and Dingell (who last we checked is neither black nor gay) are simply four of the most prominent Democrats set to take over chairmanships if the party wins the House this fall.

Just don't call them liberals. Of the 14 potential House committee chairmenlisted in an accompanying graphic, not a single potential Democratic chairman is labeled as a liberal. This in a crowd that includes "sharp-tongued and quick-witted" Barney Frank, Charles Rangel, John Dingell, Henry Waxman and John Conyers ("perhaps the most controversial potential chairman"). The only label is a conservative one, applied to Collin Peterson of Minnesota, one of the "moderates and conservatives" in the Blue Dog Democrats.

By contrast, here's how the Times characterized the incoming Republican majority back on November 10, 1994, after the GOP shocked everyone by winning both the House and Senate. Reporter David Rosenbaum didn't stint on the labels:

"Not all the Republicans who were elected on Tuesday or who are in line for positions of authority in Congress are arch conservatives. For instance, Representative Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, who won election to the Senate, is a strong advocate of abortion rights and takes moderate positions on most other social issues....The retirement of Senators John C. Danforth of Missouri and Dave Durenberger of Minnesota is significant in this regard not only because they are moderates who were replaced by conservatives, but also because their seats on the important Finance Committee will doubtless be filled by Republicans more conservative than they....The Finance Committee's counterpart in the House, the Ways and Means Committee, will also shift to the right. The new chairman, Bill Archer of Texas, is a strong advocate of low taxes and sharp cuts in welfare spending."