At the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith promoted the idea of division within the GOP as he declared: "A controversial vote for brand new Republican Senator Scott Brown, as he sides with Democrats to help push through a jobs bill."
While it's certainly true that some conservatives took real issue with Brown's support of the $15 billion spending bill, Smith clearly saw an opportunity to stir up conflict on the Right: "the senator who broke the Democrats' super majority, Scott Brown, is taking some heat today from conservatives."
Rather than talk to any conservatives about the issue, Smith instead turned to liberal-leaning political analyst John Dickerson and observed that Brown siding with Democrats was a sign of his independence: "It's very interesting, though, because Scott Brown actually showed up at the CPAC meeting, the conservative meeting over the weekend in Washington, and yesterday he was quoted as 'I said I came to Washington to be an independent voice.'" Dickerson replied: "That's right. He said he was going to be independent and he, in fact, voted independently in this case."
Smith wondered if Brown was "ushering in a new era of bipartisanship or is that a punch line?" He asked Dickerson if the move was "a joke" or "real." Dickerson argued: "Well, it's real, but it's quite modest....$15 Billion is five times smaller than the $85 billion original bill which broke down because of partisanship. So they couldn't agree on the whole meal. They went for the appetizer."
Turning to the upcoming health care summit, Smith wondered if there was any chance of bipartisanship: "President Obama unveiled the $950 billion Democratic plan, anyway, to restart the health care negotiations....Does this thing have any shot whatsoever?" Dickerson was doubtful, pointing to the GOP: "Well, it doesn't look like it. When the President announced this plan on Monday, the denunciations came from Republicans immediately and across the board."
At the end of the segment, Smith called for Dickerson's diagnosis: "So as for bipartisanship, how would you rule its health as of this morning?" Dickerson didn't see much hope for recovery: "Well, the heartbeat is faint, it has been recognized on the instruments, but I don't think we're going to have any robust jogging with this bipartisan heart here."