Friday, September 21, 2007

Schaffer's Integrity and Independence Highlight Media Matters' Foolishness

Following up on the subject matter of an earlier posting here today, the overpaid, underworked staff of Media Matters has outdone itself once again. Dissecting and parsing words to find any angle of criticism of media and political figures on the right half of the political spectrum, Media Matters often makes itself look all the more foolish. While they link to their sources, they don't really care if their readers follow those links.

In another grand twist of irony, here's one of Media Matters claims that Schaffer's statements were misleading:
According to Cillizza's post, Schaffer also "rejected the perception -- fostered by Democrats -- that he is too conservative to win statewide" and quoted Schaffer's claim that he voted against his party "a lot" while serving in Congress from 1997 to 2003. However, according to The Washington Post's "The U.S. Congress Votes Database," Schaffer voted with the Republican Party more than 80 percent of the time during his three terms in Congress.

Sounds convincing to the uninitiated, but quickly following the links puts Media Matters' "gotcha" into context. Remember that there is a lot of pressure to cast votes with your party when you are in the majority. And newer members of Congress especially are tempted to go along to vie for important posts such as committee chairmanships. So, in that light, here goes.

In his first term as a new Congressman, Schaffer voted with the majority GOP 86.8 percent of the time - less than the average member of the House caucus.

In his second term, Schaffer voted with the majority GOP 82.0 percent of the time - only 11 House Republicans stuck to the party line less.

In his third and final term, honored by a self-imposed term limits pledge, Schaffer voted with the majority GOP 81.3 percent of the time - only Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul had a lower rate among House members of his party.

Of the 3,246 votes Bob Schaffer cast in his three terms of Congress, 534 of them (or about one in six) were against his own party. Using Schaffer's own terminology, 534 is a "lot of" votes, and as demonstrated by doing some very simple research, a lot higher ratio than most members of either party (while in the majority) can tout.

Attacking Schaffer for his integrity and his independence is very foolish, but considering the overpaid, underworked operatives that populate the Media Matters office, completely unsurprising.

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