Some of the leading conservative media and commentary outlets have been largely silent about Republican leaders’ extraordinary efforts to use lame-duck state legislature sessions in Wisconsin and Michigan to rush through measures aimed at curbing the power of their Democratic successors.
The Weekly Standard ― a conservative outlet that has been critical of the party, particularly under President Donald Trump ― has had no coverage of the power grabs in recent days.
The Washington Examiner and National Review have run straight news stories, but no opinion or commentary about the matter. Representatives for each outlet did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On his radio show Wednesday, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt commented on the developments in Wisconsin by drawing a false equivalence with the final months of the Obama administration, according to the progressive media watchdog group Media Matters.
In a piece Thursday, Commentary magazine’s Noah Rothman argued that “the activities of American office-holders after they have been voted out of office” may make for “rough politics — unsavory and often untoward — but it is not unprecedented, and it is not a usurpation of power.”
“It’s certainly within the realm of reason to find all this legislative maneuvering distasteful, but it cannot be called unprecedented,” Rothman wrote.
Key Republican lawmakers have also sidestepped questions about the power grabs or simply not commented — and if they have, they similarly downplayed the matter.
A spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday that he would not be commenting on the developments in his home state. On Wednesday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told reporters on Capitol Hill that “it depends on how much you guys blow it out of proportion,” adding that for GOP leaders in Wisconsin, “this is really what [they] wanted to do for quite some period of time.”