Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Rationalizing losing"

An excellent post by Time's John McIntyre:
James Taranto makes a point that struck me when I read Mike Allen's post-mortem on the election referencing the RNC's talking point about how just a shift of 77,000 or so votes out of over 50,000,000 would have given Republicans the House and only 3,000 in Montana or 7,000 in Virginia would have given them the Senate. John Kerry made a similar point in 2004 about a shift of 70,000 votes in Ohio.

People understand that the Senate vote was extremely close: a win in either of the two seats Republicans lost by less than .5% of the vote (Virginia and Montana) would have kept control of the Senate. But Republicans would be wise to drop the same argument about the House. Trying to rationalize a 29-seat loss in the House by cherry picking districts and then throwing around 77,000 votes strikes me as a pathetic rationalization by some who have not yet have come to grips with what happened last week. Instead of talking about how close the election was they should be focusing on why they lost 29 seats, 22 in districts President Bush carried by more than 5% two years ago.
He's right: losing is losing. The left has been fond of pointing out how "close" Bush's wins in 2000 and 2004 were, as if such closeness were somehow proof of the public's dislike of him and his policies. While I doubt that the left feels the same way about the closeness of the individual races in this year's midterms, we've come to expect that kind of inconsistency and hypocrisy from them. We should strive for more consistency and introspection among ourselves, though.

Besides, as "close" as many individual races were, there are two things to consider: (1) many of these losses were in right-leaning gerrymandered districts; and (2) not a single Democrat incumbent lost. There's just no rationalizing that, people.