Friday, August 20, 2010

Reporting on the 60-vote Senate

News outlets really need to issue some style guidelines when it comes to this stuff:
Obama added that Republican opposition to the bill, which failed to pass by a 58-42 margin at the end of July, "defies common sense," asserting that the bill incorporated both Republican and Democratic ideas.
If you're not a political junkie, you might think that only 42 Senators voted for the bill, and thus might be confused as to why they put the number 58 first, since usually the first number is the number of votes for something. But of course, 58 Senators, a clear majority of the body representing a clear majority of the American public, voted for the bill. All Democrats voted for the bill except Harry Reid, who voted against it for procedural reasons. There ought to be some quick-and-easy way to convey to readers what's going on here, but this isn't doing the job. In the meantime, the Republican minority will continue to stymie the government's ability to respond to anything and reap the political benefits.
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