Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

November 7, 2006

Behold Your "Liberal Media"

Call it the blunt bias of absurd standards:

In most midterm elections, an out-of-power party picking up, say, 14 seats in the House and five seats in the Senate could call it a pretty good night.

But for Democrats in 2006, that showing would mean coming up one seat shy of taking control of both the Senate and the House. And it would probably be branded a loss --- in the case of the House, a big one.
I expected a tails-we-win, heads-you-lose post-election spin from the Republicans and the media cool kids, but Nagourney beat them all to the punch by mouthing off even before election day has dawned.

Obviously, all those who believe the Liberal Media mantra -- and that includes you, Mark "the Drudge Report rules our world" Halperin -- hasn't met Adam Nagourney.

Nagourney's thesis is that high expectations set by polls, party leaders, analysts and bloggers will cause the Democrats a debilitating blow if unmet by today's outcome. This thesis is faulty for several reasons.

First, he made it sound like the expectations were irrationally exuberant, as Greenspan might say, because "polls over the weekend suggested that the contest was tightening". He not only failed to mention that those tight polls were only two among several that suggested the complete opposite, he also mentioned in the same paragraph that analysts pared down their bullish Democratic projections only "slightly", thereby discounting his own assumption.

Second, he cited "some Democrats" worried about a demoralizing election night as the source of his contention that the party faithful will be crushed if expectations aren't met, yet quotes only one Democrat voicing such concern. The most dramatic statement ("I think you’d see a Jim Jones situation — it would be a mass suicide") came from Charlie Cook who is a pollster and not a Democrat, and whose statement coupled with his confident predictions of a takeover can be taken to mean that Democrats do have a reason to expect no less than to rule the House.

Third, how can Nagourney contend that a win may feel like a "failure" when two-thirds down the post he wrote this:

Mr. Bennett said that winning only 14 seats would produce an inevitable drop in contributions and a round of whither-the-Democrats post-election sessions. But he also said that, based on what had happened after Senator John Kerry's failed presidential effort in 2004, a race that many Democrats thought they should have won, he doubted the impact would last long.
Though there's a lot of reason to be confident this cycle, we know that the outcome is not certain until the final tally. Sure, it would be disappointing if we don't at least take the House, but crushing? Hardly. We've come a long way from the disappointment of 2004, and positive predictions for today only prove that we can come back quickly and with a vengeance.

posted at 7:27 AM by Wonky Muse

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"Sapere Aude."
(Dare to Know)
-- Epistularum Liber Primus, Horace

Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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