A brand new President taking workplace after a disputed election, an traditionally slim majority within the Home of Representatives, and a Senate cut up evenly between the 2 events: That’s not simply an correct description of the maintain on energy Democrats could have after January 20, however nearly similar to the benefit Republicans held in January 2001.

The distinction is that twenty years in the past, the liberal media preached that incoming President George W. Bush ought to search “compromise” and eschew conservative nominees and insurance policies in order to forge higher ties with Democrats. However this 12 months, there’s been an virtually full absence of media voices urging President Joe Biden to jettison his liberal marketing campaign agenda in favor of bipartisanship.

A notable exception: CBS’s Lesley Stahl, who schooled House Speaker Nancy Pelosi again on January 10 of this 12 months that she had no mandate for a liberal coverage agenda: “Within the election in November, somebody mentioned that the mandate that the Democrats gained was not about points since you misplaced so many seats; that the mandate was for tone, and angle, and a robust want for compromise.”

This year, the Senate is evenly divided, 50-50, with incoming Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris set to interrupt ties in favor of her get together. The Home presently stands at 221 Democrats vs. 211 Republicans, with three vacancies (anticipate two extra Democrats to quickly resign to affix the Biden administration, narrowing the margin even additional).

The brand new Congress sworn in on January 3, 2001 had a GOP majority of 221 seats vs. 211 for the Democrats, plus two independents, one among whom caucused with either side. Then as now, the Senate was 50-50, with incoming GOP Vice President Dick Cheney the tie-breaker in favor of the Republicans.

But whereas the numbers are nearly similar, the media message is vastly completely different. This 12 months, the media need Democrats to make use of their slim benefit to push divisive liberal insurance policies; twenty years in the past, the media lobbied Bush to succeed in out to Democrats and ignore the conservatives who helped elect him:

■ “People didn’t vote for a partisan mandate on this election. That’s why the outcomes had been so excruciatingly shut for President, for Congress, and even within the states, the place we’re seeing the closest steadiness in state legislatures since 1952. No proof there of a partisan mandate.”
— CNN’s Invoice Schneider on Inside Politics, December 13, 2000.

Anchor Peter Jennings: “Who’s the brand new President going to have extra issue with, Democrats or Republicans?”
Correspondent Linda Douglass: “My prediction is he’ll have extra hassle with the conservatives….”
— Trade throughout ABC Information prime time protection of Gore concession speech and Bush acceptance speech, December 13, 2000.

■ “George W. Bush is promising to work in bipartisan vogue with the Democrats….[But] his largest headache might come from inside his personal get together.”
— Co-host Matt Lauer on NBC’s Immediately, December 14, 2000.

■ “Would you advise an incoming President George Bush, as he appears to the Senate, to look to the centrist coalition fairly than to the conservative agenda of the extremes of his personal get together?”
— Bryant Gumbel to GOP Senator John McCain on CBS’s The Early Present, December 15, 2000.

■ “I feel his hardest downside actually is that the Republican Celebration is just going to essentially survive and prosper if it doesn’t stiff the average wing of its get together.”
— Nationwide Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg on Inside Washington, December 16, 2000.

■ “There are two methods to take care of the suitable right here. One is he can let himself get dragged down by them and basically have what little probability he has of success fail as a result of he kowtowed to the suitable, or he can use the suitable as a foil, push off towards them, go to the middle and get one thing performed.”
Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, December 16, 2000.

■ “He [President-elect Bush] is nominating thoroughbred conservatives to his Cupboard as a substitute of appeasing Democrats with moderates, and is vowing to take his marketing campaign platform to Capitol Hill undiluted, though his allies there are urging him to start out with chewable bites.”
Washington Put up’s Mike Allen in a December 31, 2000, front-page story headlined: “Bush’s Decisions Defy Discuss of Conciliation: Cupboard Is Numerous, however Not Politically.”

■ “A cornerstone of his marketing campaign was his promise of bi-partisanship. However now his advisers say he’ll attempt to govern as if he had a robust mandate.”
— Moderator Bob Schieffer on CBS’s Face the Nation, December 31, 2000.

■ “Accommodating the suitable has lengthy been a burden of the Bushes….”
Newsweek’s Evan Thomas and John Barry, January 8, 2001 version.

■ “With a 50-50 Senate and a tiny margin within the Home and a majority within the nation who truly voted towards President Bush he’ll have the ability to fulfill that central promise of unifying the nation provided that he’s prepared to compromise on a number of the huge points….”
— ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on World Information Tonight, January 20, 2001.

■ “The Bush White Home packaged, in its first week, a picture of the President as a uniter, however Mr. Bush’s message has usually been at odds with the mission: the Ashcroft nomination, new restrictions on abortion counseling, plans for varsity vouchers — an in-your-face angle that has Democrats reluctant to let down their guard.”
— Correspondent John Roberts on the January 26, 2001 CBS Night Information.