Former Congressman Bob Michel died last month just shy of his 94th birthday.
Michel was elected in 1956 and represented his district in Illinois until his retirement in 1995 he became a member of the GOP leadership in 1975 and became house minority leader in 1981 until his retirement so for 20 years he was either the GOP leader or the #2 man in the house for the Republican party .
Given that he was in congress for the passage of some of the most consequential laws on the books (such as the various civil rights act) during Vietnam and Watergate, and was in the leadership during the Reagan and Bush years you might think that Congressman Michel’s death might have gotten a little more attention.
You would be wrong.
You see even though he served under GOP presidents for more than half of that time you almost never saw hide nor hair of Mr. Michel on the evening news, or on the cable shows or getting much press in the paper. In fact the one memory I have of him was a reference in Tip O’Neil’s autobiography where he gives a quip about how Michel has “his eyes on the speaker’s chair” and that it’s all he’s going to have and I was an absolute news junkie in my youth.
Why, is this the case? Well that’s because during his entire 38 years in the congress he was in the minority and no matter what his opinion on legislation barring a huge divide among Democrats on an issue neither his party’s opinion in general nor his own opinion in particular mattered one jot (although the National Review would disagree). If a Democrat was in office they weren’t needed and if the GOP was in office it was all about securing enough democrats to pass the president’s priorities
“But DaTechGuy?” You ask, “That’s ridiculous, after all Nancy Pelosi has spent the last 6 years in the minority, she has little or no chance of getting back the majority before 2022 and the next round of redistricting and thus practically zero chance of influencing any legislation, yet every single day you have the media quoting her, the Newspapers making headlines of her declarations and the Sunday shows discussing her moves. And not only her a day doesn’t pass when a Democrat congressman is not on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC CBS, PBS etc talking about their priorities.” In fact Nancy Pelosi was on Jake Tapper’s show this week!
And my answer is, Exactly.
Bob Michel was a republican, a conservative, maybe not as conservative as some but a conservative nonetheless.
That means as far as the MSM was concerned. He was a non-entity, a minor personage, a person whose opinion was not sought, whose comment was not important enough to be worth the time of a media whose only objective is to advance the desires and the objectives of the Democrat party.
So the next time someone tells you that the idea of the MSM being “Democrats with bylines” or “out to get Trump”, or the “opposition party” is nonsense, particularly someone my age. ask them who Bob Michel is and what they remember from his time in congress.
Their silence and ignorance will speak volumes.