Is this satire, or is Politico actually serious about this framing? With House Democrats about to yank a seat away from the GOP after a state-certified election win, Politico’s Playbook newsletter accuses Republicans of going on offense in an attempt to defend Marianette Miller-Meeks’ seat in Iowa’s second congressional district. And guess what that offense will comprise? Lots and lots of pouncing:
REPUBLICANS GO ON OFFENSE IN IOWA-2 — With some centrist House Democrats now balking at their leadership’s bid to try to overturn a state-certified House election in Iowa, Republicans are preparing to pounce. The conservative American Action Network is activating its organizers in 19 districts, spending five figures to fund calls to constituents urging them to speak out against the effort.
Who exactly has gone on offense? Rita Hart lost this seat by six votes, an outcome that was upheld after recounts and ballot challenges, and then certified by the state. Rather than take this to court, Hart instead asked House Democrats to simply remove Miller-Meeks and hand the seat to her. Republicans are trying to defend the election results, ironically at the same time House Democrats are pushing a bill on election integrity.
That isn’t Republicans going on offense. It’s House Democrats committing an offense. And that makes this media framing especially offensive.
Be sure to read Jazz’ post from earlier today to get a sense of where this effort appears to be heading. While House Democratic leadership hasn’t explicitly pushed the effort to steal the seat from Miller-Meeks, they’ve certainly not discouraged it. Nancy Pelosi herself said she could envision a “scenario” in which the House voted to hand the seat to Hart. However, Politico sees moderates as looking for a way to “buck” leadership in a vote that would kill this proposal:
Targets include a mix of members on the House Administration Committee who will adjudicate the contested election in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, as well as Democrats in tough seats. The group polled the issue in DemocraticRep. CINDY AXNE’S Iowa district in December and found that three-quarters of voters opposed overturning the results — and two-thirds said they’d be less likely to back Axne for reelection if she votes to oust Rep. MARIANNETTE MILLER-MEEKS (R-Iowa). The poll should be taken with a grain of salt since it was conducted by GOP pollsters, but if it’s in the ballpark of voter sentiment, it would be problematic for vulnerable Democrats.
After Playbook’s look at the Iowa situation Monday, our colleagues Ally Mutnick, Sarah Ferris and Melanie Zanona reported that some of those front-line Democrats grilled DCCC officials about their plans to reverse the Iowa race. One Democrat told us Monday that moderates might actually welcome a vote so they can snuff it out — and demonstrate their willingness to buck their own leadership.
Hmmm. Does Politico mean to suggest that moderate House Democrats might be preparing to “pounce”? Or maybe “go on offense”? I wonder why Politico doesn’t use those terms to describe Democratic strategizing.
Just remember: the proper media framing for every partisan issue is the Republican response to it, not the Democratic action itself. I can’t wait to read more about how Republicans will pounce on the votes from moderate Democrats to kill this seat-stealing exercise rather than the failure of the steal itself.