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Those who fail to learn from history

Include Mark Steyn? He wrote the following at NRO's The Corner-

The Clintons' leadership of the Democratic Party was great for the Clintons, terrible for the Democratic Party: They lost the House, they lost the Senate, they lost state legislatures and governors' mansions,
Jim Lindgren of the Volokh Consporacy paints the historical picture.
As James Campbell nicely documents, there is a backlash against the President's party in the midterm elections for seats in state legislatures. Campbell shows that in state legislative races in presidential election years, the winning President's party benefits from his coattails, but in midterm elections the President's party suffers losses in state legislative races that approximately cancel out the gains from his coattails.

*****

Since 1932 there have been eight changes of party control of the White House (1933, 1953, 1961, 1969, 1977, 1981, 1993, and 2001). In every instance but one, the party that seized the White House held more governorships in the year before it took office than in the subsequent year it lost the presidential election. The only exception is that in 1980, Republicans held four fewer governorships than they held in 1992, immediately before the Republicans were voted out of the White House. Similarly, of the eleven Presidents since 1933, every one except two, Kennedy and Reagan, left office with fewer governorships than his party had before he took office, and Kennedy served less than three years.

Again showing Mark Steyn can rarely be bothered with facts. Partisan emotion is all that matters.

Update- Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr did a similar mistake once, when he totally forgot 1994 when discussing momentous mid-term elections. Amnesia or lack of fact checking strikes columnists on both sides of the aisle.

I got a problem with Steyn, and will be the first to admit it. What happens is he doesn't know where to muzzle himself. The first two thirds of what he said in support of his view of the Clintons was true, it was the end of the sentence that trips him up. Just like it did here and here.


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Comments (12)

How many of those 9 that lo... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

How many of those 9 that lost State Legislatures and Governorships were had job performances that were actually well liked (even though the President himself may have been liked). I presumptuously assume nearly none.

I don't think its an invalid point. Just, but perhaps not as strong as it seems.

But Steyn's claim that you ... (Below threshold)
Aog Author Profile Page:

But Steyn's claim that you highlight is factually correct according to your data. Therefore, I don't see how you support a claim that Steyn "can rarely be bothered with facts".

I don't see what the proble... (Below threshold)
merc:

I don't see what the problem is. Like Annoying Old Guy said, "Steyn's claim that you highlight is factually correct according to your data."

It seems to me that you just don't like him. Whoopdedoo.

I'm confused. What you Stey... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

I'm confused. What you Steyn wrote is factually correct.

What are you trying to say here? It's not clear. You don't like Steyn?

You could have saved yourself some typing and saved us some reading had you just come out and said that.

Truth of the matter is, mid... (Below threshold)

Truth of the matter is, mid-term elections have been bad for the party holding the Presidency going back at least 40 years. Examples-

66, 74, 78, 86, 94, and 06
Good years for the party holding the WH- 98 and 02
Don't know without me checking further- 70, 82, and 90.


Steyn is asserting the Clintons leadership was bad for the Democratic based on the losses in Congress and state elections. Then it was bad for George W Bush, Ronald Reagan and the Republicans etc etc. Are we forgetting the 2006 election result already or does everyone have their head in the ground like an ostrich still? I saw the train wreck coming. At least one prominent wizbang blogger , Lorie Byrd, disagreed with me at the time.

Using facts that don't support your main thesis, doesn't usually win you grading points. As the title of my post said- Steyn has failed to learn from history.

Bill, your animosity toward... (Below threshold)

Bill, your animosity toward Steyn is apparently indifferent to the facts. Every word he said is true. He's as careful with his facts as anyone on the Right, including the Mistress of Footnotes herself, the great Ann Coulter.

Someone like Steyn cannot be careless with the facts. He's too popular and well-regarded; there are too many people hunting for his scalp. The same can be said for Rush Limbaugh, the Left's other major target.

The day someone manages to find a significant factual error or misrepresentation in a Steyn piece will be a very strange day indeed.

!982 was a terrible for Rea... (Below threshold)

!982 was a terrible for Reagan in the House elections because the country was coming out of the most severe reccession in years. In fact, we haven't had a reccession like that (1982) in over three decades.

Steyn is asserting th... (Below threshold)

Steyn is asserting the Clintons leadership was bad for the Democratic based on the losses in Congress and state elections. Then it was bad for George W Bush, Ronald Reagan and the Republicans etc etc.

It would be a mistake to include 1994 in the other off year elections examples. The only thing they share in common are result (no pun intended) but the magnitude and far reaching effects of 1994 distinguishes that year from similar off year results.

Mr. Jempty;The bad... (Below threshold)
Aog Author Profile Page:

Mr. Jempty;

The badness of the Clintons for the Democratic Party is Steyn's opinion, which may or may not be correct. He marshals facts in support of it, and those facts may or may not actually support his opinion. Those are quite legitimate issues. However, your claim is that Steyn has his facts wrong, which he does not.

!982 was a terribl... (Below threshold)
jpm100:
!982 was a terrible for Reagan in the House elections because the country was coming out of the most severe reccession in years. In fact, we haven't had a reccession like that (1982) in over three decades
Sorry, when I hear 1982 and recession, I sigh at the success of revisionist history. The recession was by far not confined to the early 80's. Recession doesn't really refer the economic low point, but they actually decline phase which was initiated and most severe in the late 70's.
jpm100I won't argu... (Below threshold)

jpm100

I won't argue with your point. The catastrophically high interest rates in 1978-1980 and the very high commodity prices (not just oil) during the same period were devastating for many people. You are correct, the trouble started many years before.

The 1982 economic environment was exacerbated by Reagan/Volcker's determination to restrict the money supply and choke off inflation.

If you had half the talent ... (Below threshold)
Clavius:

If you had half the talent that Steyn has you'd be worth listening to.

If it weren't for JT I'd be signing off of Wizbang once and for all.




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