Two New York Times stories on Sunday portrayed the Republican Party as mired in extremism and partisanship, overwhelming supposedly non-ideological Democrats who just want to get vital things done. Jonathan Weisman’s year in review for Congress, “Congress Ends ‘Horrible Year’ With Divisions as Bitter as Ever,” began dramatically and didn’t let up in its painting of the Republican Party as uniquely irrational, perhaps even like a “cult”:
A congressional year that began with an assault on the seat of democracy ended at 4 a.m. Saturday with the failure of a narrow Democratic majority to deliver on its most cherished promises, leaving lawmakers in both parties wondering if the legislative branch can be rehabilitated without major changes to its rules of operations.
After a lament from centrist Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska over the failure to impeach Trump, Weismann continued, fretting that Republicans “erected a blockade” against “dozens of Mr. Biden’s nominees still awaiting confirmation to fill key positions at home and abroad.”
One could sense the thumb on the scale tilting toward the Democratic view (click “expand”):
The disappointments were impossible to deny. Democrats have been warning with growing urgency that forces loyal to former President Donald J. Trump have been moving the pieces into place to disrupt or potentially overturn the next presidential election — through new barriers to voting, partisan election controls and gerrymandered House districts. Yet efforts to enact expanded voting rights, institute fair election rules or place any new controls on the presidency have hit a wall in the Senate.
Other Republicans do not seem interested in learning any more about the riot. On Monday, Senator Josh Hawley, the junior Republican from Missouri who openly encouraged the rioters as they approached the Capitol, refused to discuss it further…
Weisman found a wearingly familiar voice, think-tank warhorse Norman Ornstein, to decry Republican tactics:
The impact of that attitude on the rest of Congress’s workings cannot be overstated, Mr. Ornstein said. Congress has gone from a maddening institution hampered by intentional checks and balances to one that is driven by a quest for partisan power, he said, pointing to Republican efforts to cover up the roots of Jan. 6, and their refusal to punish members who threaten violence, or even acknowledge members’ efforts to overturn the results of a lawful election.
“We don’t have two parties anymore. We have a party and a cult, and in a cult, the fear of being excommunicated or shunned is overwhelming,” he said. “That’s affected the behavior of large numbers of members.”
In Sunday’s celebratory “Senate Confirms Biden’s 40th Judge, Tying a Reagan-Era Record,” reporter Catie Edmondson definitely sounded like a cheerleader for congressional Democrats, portrayed as innocents with no ideology (versus Republicans who favor “right-wing judges who are mostly white and male”).
Mr. Biden, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, pledged to counter the Trump era’s aggressive efforts to transform the judiciary with young right-wing judges who are mostly white and male. Since January, the president has sent the Senate an extraordinarily diverse roster of nominees, both in terms of ethnic background and professional experience.
Edmondson particularly liked the affirmative action aspect of Biden’s picks, which she portrayed as historic “firsts.”