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Mark Steyn, Clinton leadership, and mid-term elections

Lets recall what the Canadian born columnist wrote-

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
The end result was bad for the Democrats. Was it Clinton's poor leadership or rather historical trends in regards to how the party in control of the white house does in mid-term elections. The Democrats took major losses in 1994 under the Clinton watch, so we assume that's what Steyn is referring to.

My original post on Steyn is here.

I'll take us back to every mid-term since 1946.

Democrats held the WH in mid-terms in

46, 50, 62, 66, 78, 94, 98,


54, 58, 70, 74, 82, 86, 90, 02, 06

That is 7 mid-terms with Democrats in the WH, 9 with Republicans

1946- -54 1950- -28 1962- -4 1966- -48 1978- -15 1994- -54 1998- +5

That's an average loss of 28 House seats. Note the Democrats had control of Congress at the time in all but 98.

Note total losses at mid-terms when Truman(-82) and Kennedy/Johnson(-52) were President were worse than the Clintons(-49). So Clinton has fared the same or better than other Democratic two term presidents in these elections.

Now for Senate races- 1946 -12 1950- -5 1962- +4 1966- -3 1978- -3 1994- -8 1998- 0

Again losses under Truman far exceeded those under Clinton. Clinton senate losse exceeded those of the Kennedy/Johnson era, when you factor in the House results, Clintons do have an edge in losses 57 to 53

Here go the Republicans. Starting with the House

1954- -19 1958- -49 1970- -12 1974- -49 1982- -27 1986- -5 1990- -7 2002- +8 2006- -30

That's -68 for Eisenhower, -61 for Nixon/Ford/ -32 for Reagan and -22 for George W Bush

Senate races

1954- -1 1958- -13(Plus two Alaska senate seats going to the Dems. Hawaii split evenly in 1959) 1970- +3 1974- -4 1982- 0 1986- -8 1990- -1 2002- +2 2006- -6

So that's -14 Eisenhower, -1 Nixon/Ford, -8 Reagan, -4 GW Bush


Eisenhower- -82
Nixon/Ford -62
Reagan -40
GW Bush- -26

Now when you mix everyone up

Truman -94
Eisenhower- -82
Nixon/Ford -62
Clinton -57
Kennedy/Johnson -53
Reagan -40
Bush -26

And to make it complete

Carter -18
First President Bush- -8

Average loss for the two termers- 59 Clinton comes in almost spot on at 57 and ranks 4th among the 7 above. Dead center again.

So was it bad leadership from Clinton or historical trends where the party ruling the country is seen as the cause of the country's ills? What Steyn said was factually accurate, but when you study the facts, doesn't prove the assertion he makes that the Clinton's leadership was poor for the Democratic party.

If Steyn had studied the picture like I did above, he may not have said what he did. What was the title of my first post? Those who fail to learn from history.......


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Comments (26)

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.

8. Posted by HughS | January 5, 2008 9:18 AM | Score: 0 (0 votes cast)

BillTruman -... (Below threshold)


Truman -94
Eisenhower- -82
Nixon/Ford -62
Clinton -57
Kennedy/Johnson -53
Reagan -40
Bush -26

Here's thought: Which of the above was not a War time president? Which of the above lost controll of both houses of Congress in his first off year election?

Steyn's comments speak for themself. Clinton's legacy will be one of opportunity squandered. Clinton was a disaster for local party officials for a wide range of reasons and only hardened Cintonistas would argue that.

That's a good analysis and ... (Below threshold)

That's a good analysis and it proves that all the others that were already done were correct. However, I would point out that you missed Steyn's point.

What about the governorship... (Below threshold)

What about the governorships? Steyn makes a claim about those as well and you neglect to include them.

My bad, sorry, didn't see t... (Below threshold)

My bad, sorry, didn't see the prior post on this subject. Please excuse my post above.

Hugh S wrote- "Her... (Below threshold)

Hugh S wrote-

"Here's thought: Which of the above was not a War time president? Which of the above lost controll of both houses of Congress in his first off year election?"

Harry Truman? The Democrats lost the House and Senate in 1946 and there wasn't a war going on.

BillIt's hard to arg... (Below threshold)

It's hard to argue that Harry Truman was not a war time president in 1946. There was a Stalinist regime (heavily armed and ready to strike) firmly planted in what was East Germany and a nascent Cold War that was rapidly accelerating into open global confrontation.
One year removed from the largest millitary operation in our country's history, with troop deployments still spanning the globe, and the recent decimation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with a weapon that would radically change all US foreign policy immediately, the U S was still at war in every respect.

"If Steyn had studied the p... (Below threshold)

"If Steyn had studied the picture like I did above, he may not have said what he did."

I see you've changed your post and pulled your comment where you admit you don't like Mark Steyn. Perhaps you could say "If I had realized how bad I would look with that post, I may not have said what I did."

I look forward to your next hit piece on Steyn.

Is the United States 'stuck... (Below threshold)

Is the United States 'stuck' with these two 'characters' until they die? Don't they have enough money, from one form or another? It is time for both of them to take a very very long vacation in another part of the planet and 'get to know one another again'. But leave the rest of us alone. Obama is all about CHANGE, hillary is all about the status-quo. She represents the same old same old. The OLD way of doing business, its time to move on from all that arcane mentality. Go Obama Go.

Losing seats is not the sam... (Below threshold)

Losing seats is not the same as losing control of the House or Senate. Bill Clinton was bad for his rotten, corrupt Party and STILL bad for the country as a whole.

If Wizbang has too many more of these Jempty-headed posts, I'm out of here ...

Jim Lindgren(Northwestern S... (Below threshold)

Jim Lindgren(Northwestern School of Law and Volokh Conspiracy contritutor.) who I already quoted in my first piece wrote in reference to Steyn's comment-

"In a 2006 Yale Law Journal article Steve Calabresi and I presented data showing that losing power, even state governorships, as a presidential term progresses is common, not an exception. Essentially, we believe that a President and his party are a lightning rod for everything that goes wrong."

I cited Lindgren in the original post. Lindgren even notes the lack of research done on this. He put in probably hundreds of hours of work, I put in a hour, Steyn at the Corner where off the cuff remarks are the norm(not just by him) rather detailed analysis, we can only guess how long he studied what he wrote. However the point is, the facts show a clear trend of voter unhappiness with sitting incumbents going back over 60 years(The data for FDR and Hoover are bad too). The case Lindgren and I assert compared to what Steyn does I think is stronger.

Hugh S wants to cherry pick what years to use and not use. The trend I showed above is strong, no matter what the particular circumstances were in the mid-terms listed above. All but three mid-terms, 1 good for democrats(98), 1 for the Republicans(02) and one netural(62) show the incumbent President to be a drag on his party in other elections

BTW I voted for Clinton. I've voted for both Bushs, Reagan and John Anderson too.

Too true Michael, Obama is ... (Below threshold)

Too true Michael, Obama is about a change from the Clintonesque status quo. However, Obama is all about a change to what? a different way of ending up with the same outcome?

LGD: "If Wizbang has too... (Below threshold)

LGD: "If Wizbang has too many more of these Jempty-headed posts, I'm out of here ..."


With all the truly interesting and worthwhile topics in the world, Jempty decides DISSECTING a Mark Steyn piece is THE topic of interest!

Sad. And the reason I visit and post here less and less.

Note to Jempty...if Mark Steyn calls and asks you to carry his jockstrap you should decline, because you're not even worthy of that "honor".

Steyn rocks and anyone who ... (Below threshold)

Steyn rocks and anyone who doesn't think so is nuts.

Hugh S wants to cherr... (Below threshold)

Hugh S wants to cherry pick what years to use and not use

Well that's an interesting choice of words. That said,you are the one cherrypicking, Bill, not me. Every single President listed below was a wartime President except one.

Truman -94
Eisenhower- -82
Nixon/Ford -62
Clinton -57
Kennedy/Johnson -53
Reagan -40
Bush -26

You, Bill, have to specifically cherry pick just a few years to include Truman, and I stand by my original point: Truman was at war even during those years.

Esp since in 1946 the war w... (Below threshold)

Esp since in 1946 the war was just over, and the clean up was in it's infancy. Marshal plan? Not popular with everyone.
Not to mention FDR fatigue. After 3 terms under one man, and no hot conflict or economic debacle to rally people, people were looking for change.

I see you've changed you... (Below threshold)

I see you've changed your post and pulled your comment where you admit you don't like Mark Steyn.
I'm with Mike from Oregon. I remember your smarmy mea culpa about not liking Mark Steyn. How intellectually dishonest is it to edit those kinds of remarks from your posts after the fact?
Here's a clue...do your editing before you post, not after!

Those who fail to learn from history.......

Maybe after the next dishon... (Below threshold)

Maybe after the next dishonest edit, Bill could be disenvoweled?

It appears Mike and I have ... (Below threshold)

It appears Mike and I have mistaken one piece of drivel for another.
Bill writes: My original post on Steyn is here. (and then omits the link)
He busted on Steyn at 9:30 last night and decided he hadn't done enough, so continued on the same note this morning.

Clinton made the Dem party ... (Below threshold)

Clinton made the Dem party look bad as they kept getting caught in his lies.
They spun and spun but it kept turning out that the VWRC was correct.

I'm with the commentors abo... (Below threshold)

I'm with the commentors above. Bill Jempty is detracting from Wizbang. His silly and shallow criticism of Mark Steyn really detracts from what is otherwise an excellent blog.

The original thread should ... (Below threshold)

The original thread should have had an update section Or this title should have said Part II.

Would have avoided much confusion.

The Republican Party is a s... (Below threshold)
George Vreeland Hill:

The Republican Party is a sick joke, and the people of this country are fed up with them.
From Nixon to Bush, and from Scooter to Larry "Toilet Stall" Craig, the Republicans have proven themselves to be a bunch of lying, corrupt, evil, perverted, over-spending crooks.
When you look at all the money Bill Clinton left this country, it makes us all cry to know that Bush spent it all.
When the money was gone, Bush went to China for help.
Just think, we owe money to China!
That is the Bush way.
Cheney is no better.
You can't trust either of them.
No one does.
Why are we in Iraq?
The war should be on terror, not in Iraq.
Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, and yet Bush has spent all that money to fight "his" war.
Yes his, because many Republicans have backed off from the war.
By the way, the war in Iraq has cost the U.S. almost five hundred billion dollars.
Forget Rudy.
Rudy Giuliani is no hero.
While he is often called the hero of 9/11, the truth is that Rudy was a terrible leader during his years as mayor of New York City.
He made bad decisions and took a girlfriend while being married.
In fact, he even wanted his lover to live in the same house with his wife.
Most people would call this perverted.
New Yorkers were so sick of his antics, that they wanted him out of office.
Then came 9/11.
The only reason people call Giuliani a hero today, is because he just happened to be NYC's mayor during that bad time.
Any mayor would be looked at as a hero if they showed their face under those circumstances.
If there was no 9/11, Rudy would have become a joke.
This is not the kind of leader we want in the White House. In closing, the New York Post reported in their paper on April 23, that Giuliani spent more than $48,000 dollars of campaign money on posh hotels while claiming to have spent the least of all the Republican candidates.
Rudy is a good time leader, and does it with other people's money.
Forget Mitt.
His ads look bad.
He can't seem to get his facts right, and will say things to make himself look good.
Red flags go up around him.
I spoke with his son Tagg at the New Hampshire debates back in June (2007), and while he seemed like a nice man, Tagg could not get his facts right either.
The worst Republican as of late, though, is Larry Craig.
He is a lying pervert who wanted gay sex with a strange man on a dirty toilet seat.
He pled guilty, then said he was not guilty.
Say what?
He is another Republican moron.
Did you hear about Washington State Republican Rep. Richard Curtis?
He offered $1,000 to a young man for unprotected sex while dressed in women's lingerie.
This sort of thing just goes on and on with them.
Remember Mark Foley?
Here is a letter I wrote that was in many newspapers and Web sites:

Once again, the Republicans have turned my stomach with shocking and repulsive behavior.
Mark Foley, a Republican member (now ex-member) of Congress, has sent many e-mails with perverted sexual content to a sixteen year old boy.
This is the same man who while in Congress, backed a bill that was meant to protect children from child predators.
Foley himself, is a man who preyed on a child with lust.
What is also incomprehensible, is the fact that some Republicans knew of Foley's behavior, and yet, did not take a hard stand against this until it became public news. If I had a teenage son and/or daughter, I would not want them to go near any Republican leader for fear of either or both becoming a victim of a sick Republican pervert.

There were more than three hundred such letters in newspapers in 2007 alone.
Many of them in New Hampshire.
There are thousands on the Internet.
No lie.
This does not even include articles, ads, radio, TV and other areas where the public takes notice.
In fact, one Republican in California wanted me stopped once, because I was hurting some Republicans in their elections.
I just want to do my part in helping to get rid of every Republican scumbag.
From phone scams to the Union Leader (NH) covering up for Republicans, the garbage never ends.
But the Republican Party will end.
Did you know that George W. Bush once made fun of the issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction?
He did, and in front of some shocked people during a black-tie event in 2004.
He said.... (While looking under a piece of furniture) "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be here somewhere."
Then, while pretending to look out of a window, Bush laughed as he said..... "Nope, no weapons over there."
While he was laughing, there were men and women fighting and dying in Iraq because of WMD.
George W. Bush should be removed from office because of that alone.
Face it, Bill Clinton lied about having sex, and was impeached because of it.
George W. Bush however, did far worse, as he laughed at the very people who are fighting for the United States of America!
That about sums it all up!
(By the way, this Bush/WMD was part of an article and letter I wrote as well.)
This leads us to John McCain.
All he seems to do is attack other candidates.
His Woodstock ad against Hillary Clinton was boring and without the facts.
He tells of Hillary wanting to spend a million dollars on a museum while he (McCain) supports spending more on the war in Iraq.
He wants you to believe that the Democrats are the big spenders, while it is McCain's Republican Party that has spent all the money Bill Clinton left us to a point where Bush had to borrow money from China.
Think about that again.
We owe to China.
That is the Republican way.
Also, it must be noted that McCain even laughed at war.
Remember when McCain changed the words of a Beach Boys song to Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Iran?
McCain even laughed when he was done.
He thought starting a war with Iran was a laughing matter.
That is the real John McCain.
He just can't be trusted.
He is another George Bush, and you know what we got with him.
The Republican Party is a mess, and getting worse.
People do not trust any of them, and we are all tired of their act.
If you are a New Hampshire Republican voter and plan on voting Tuesday, please do your country and NH a favor and either stay home or join another party.
Your party is over!

George Vreeland Hill
notiz=cut and paste rantings by assholes that bear absolutely NO resemblance to the topic get disemvoweled. Repeat offenses get the assholes banned. -- Jay Tea

I rarely run across blogger... (Below threshold)

I rarely run across bloggers at this site that I disagree with, but your dislike of Mark Steyn seems excessive and wrongheaded. Do you write about anyone BUT Mr. Steyn?

Lets not forget his Jempty-... (Below threshold)

Lets not forget his Jempty-headed attack on TSA:


where other posters pointed out how wrong his post was and he just limped off into the sunset without ever saying a word in response or acknowledging how boneheaded he was being.

Jempty don't let the blog hit you on the way out!

Bill,I am not a po... (Below threshold)


I am not a political science expert by any imagination, but I read the information that you pointed to and and the statement made by Steyn. I look at it very differently. I think the power of Bill Clinton's leadership prompted a reaction from the American people to balance power in Washington by giving the majority to the Republicans. Historically, it seems to also be the case - balancing power.

Blog: Leadership






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