For the last several years, TV news stars have found electric moments at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) worth predicting how Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives would soon be driving the Republican Party into an electoral ditch.
So it was noteworthy that no network except Fox News found it worth a story that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got booed and heckled Tuesday afternoon at a liberal version of CPAC. Dana Milbank of The Washington Post relayed on Wednesday that Pelosi tried to engage the hecklers unsuccessfully, then pledged to continue her speech:
On Wednesday, PBS NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer whistled right past Pelosi’s heckled event, reporting on coming environmental-regulation bills: “In the meantime, members of the House began working on their own proposals. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked committee chairs to draft new regulatory legislation by the Fourth of July."
And she did, for an excruciating half-hour. The hecklers screamed themselves hoarse, dominating Pelosi's speech through her concluding lines: "I want to say thank you to Campaign for America's Future for your relentlessness, for your dissatisfaction, for your impatience. That's what I see every day in my district."
Political movements tend to unravel gradually, but on Tuesday this one seemed to be imploding in real time. As the "tea party" right has gained strength, Obama's hope-and-change left has faded. The frustration has crystallized at the gathering this week of demoralized activists.
MSNBC's Ed Schultz suggested he would discuss it on Wednesday night’s Ed Show: “Also, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, well, she got heckled. Not by the Tea Partiers, but by progressives. I`ve got a ‘Rapid Fire’ response to all of that.”
Later, he listed it as a topic again:
Let’s get some “Rapid Fire” response from our panel on these stories tonight. Liberal activists are not happy with Congressional Democrats. At a progressive conference, a group angry about the lack of action on disability rights booed, heckled and shouted down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The Tea Partiers got a big win in Nevada. Sharron Angle will challenge Harry Reid this fall.And Sarah Palin says President Obama should call her for advice on how to handle the oil disaster?
But in the midst of fighting about Angle and Palin, Schultz never returned to Pelosi.