Journalistic malpractice, Freeploid-style:
Democrats claim more seats on House Health Care Committee
That’s how the ‘Loid headlined an article about Speaker Shap Smith appointing one additional Democrat to the Health Care Committee.
Headline: “Seats.” Plural. Nice little thumb on the scale, Mr. (or Ms.) Freeploid Headline Writer. What’s the matter, wasn’t there room to write “one more seat” instead of “more seats”?
As for the story itself, there’s nothing much wrong, aside from it coming out three days after Peter “Scoop” Hirschfeld had the same story in the Mitchell Family Organ. (Not paywalled.) And, well, Hirschfeld had a fuller explanation for Smith’s move.
As for the move itself, Smith offloaded Republican “Not That” John Mitchell* in favor of newly appointed Democrat Kathy Hoyt, leaving the 11-person panel with only two Republicans. (The rest: 7 Dems, Independent Paul Poirier, Prog Chris Pearson.)
*Watergate reference. You young ‘uns can Google it.
Smith has two solid reasons for tilting the committee even further.
First, Hoyt has impeccable credentials. She was Secretary of Administration in the Kunin and Dean administrations, and she served on a panel that examined Vermont’s tax structure. She knows government finance and tax policy, which will be the keys in implementing single-payer. She will be a valuable addition to the committee.
Second, even though the 2013 committee had a solid Democratic majority, it was occasionally troublesome. Poirier, Pearson, and the Republicans often acted as a Coalition of Mutual Convenience. As Smith put it, “It’s a 6-5 committee right now.” And as Hirschfeld reports:
That narrow margin led to some very public setbacks last session for the committee’s Democratic chairman, who saw his committee go against him on at least one high-profile vote.
The strengthening of the Dems’ partisan edge is a bit of a slap at Republicans, and also at Pearson and Poirier, who willingly made common cause with a party that’s staunchly opposed to health care reform. It’s a power play by Smith to be sure, but it’s well within the purview of a Speaker with a super-majority. Can’t say I blame him, what with health care reform being the signature issue of the Shumlin Administration.
The maneuver prompted the customary partisan bleat from the other side:
House Minority Leader Don Turner, however, said the shake up amounts to partisan maneuvering designed to undermine the influence of the GOP as the Democratic supermajority prepares to face tough questions over the troubled roll out of the new health insurance exchange.
Uh, well, yeah. But I’d say two things to Mr. Turner.
One, “the influence of the GOP” was pretty much nonexistent already.
Two, if you don’t like it, go win some elections.