Jonathan Bernstein read Charles Krauthammer for some reason, then he wrote about it:
Yes, this is petty. But so what? He deserves it. Charles Krauthammer:
This is entirely about politics. It’s Phase 2 of the 2012 campaign. The election returned him to office. The fiscal cliff negotiations are designed to break the Republican opposition and grant him political supremacy, something he thinks he earned with his landslide 2.8-point victory margin on Election Day.
“Landslide 2.8 point victory”? Well, no. Krauthammer does link to the WaPo election map, but it hasn’t been updated. David Wasserman’s spreadsheet, however, tells us that Barack Obama’s lead over Mitt Romney is currently 3.65 percentage points. …
Krauthammer’s sneering reference to Obama’s “landslide” is both wrong and silly. … It was certainly a much more substantial win than, say, either of George W. Bush’s, and I don’t recall Krauthammer insisting that Bush should practice restraint because of his narrow wins. …
Regardless: the whole premise is silly. The president is the president, whether by 49 states or by a tiny and highly contested electoral college margin while losing the national vote. …
So, Krauthammer has his facts wrong, and his argument doesn’t make sense. That’s fine and good. But, this being Krauthammer, there’s an unsurprising further level of deceitfulness here.
Later than most two-term presidents, George Bush got his mandate. To be sure, he did get one on Sept. 11 from Osama bin Laden but, until Tuesday, not from the American people. The bin Laden mandate gave him freedom of action on a very large scale (two wars, the Patriot Act). With it he produced a remarkable success in Afghanistan and a still-unresolved war in Iraq. Above all was the one inescapable if unspoken fact, greatly overlooked in explaining this election: Three years had passed since Sept. 11 and, against all expectations, we had not been attacked again.
This election was a referendum on Bush’s handling of his first, accidental mandate. The endorsement was resounding. First, his electoral college victory was solid. He went over the top without a single state being closely contested. He won all but three with a majority of 7 percentage points or more, and the others — Ohio by 2.5 points, Nevada by 3 and Florida by 5 — he won comfortably.
Second, there was the popular vote. Bush supporters should not gloat too much about the popular vote, given the fact that they lost it last time. Nonetheless, if you have already won the electoral vote, it is okay to talk about the popular vote as a kind of adjunct legitimizer. And a 3.5-million-vote margin is a serious majority.
Third, he increased his party’s representation in both the House and the Senate. …
Knowing he will never again run for office, he is going to attempt several large things, most notably reforming Social Security …
Great leaders are willing to retire unloved and unpopular as the price for great exertion. Bush appears bent on exertion.
Obama’s near-5-million-vote margin is cause for sneering and a reason why he shouldn’t push for the stuff he said he wanted to do during the campaign. Whereas Bush Jr.’s 3.5-million-vote margin was “a serious majority”, giving him license to do stuff he never mentioned during the campaign, like try to privatize Social Security.
That makes sense!
When just a week ago Barack Obama showed a bit of ankle and declared the mere possibility of his running for the presidency, the chattering classes swooned. Now that every columnist in the country has given him advice, here’s mine: He should run in ’08. He will lose in ’08. And the loss will put him irrevocably on a path to the presidency. …
These are strong reasons for Obama to run. Nonetheless, he will not win. The reason is 9/11. …
He’s a young man with a future. But the future recedes. He needs to run now. And lose. And win by losing.
This is just Krauthammer’s shtick. He’s always wrong about everything, he’s always shilling for Republicans, and he has lifetime tenure at the Post to type any inane drivel that pops into his head into the op-ed page without regard to its falsity or inconsistency with what he wrote yesterday. Everyone knows that’s the game. That’s the way it’s been for a long time.
That’s why I’ve been saying stuff like, David Frum has remarked that “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we’re discovering we work for Fox.”
That is, movement conservatism is a subset of the infotainment industry, with a discourse with more in common with professional wrestling than reasoned discussion of policy issues. Conservatism, in the US today, is convincing people to sit through ads for Goldline. The mainstream media sees its role as generating “buzz” and splitting the difference between the two parties, regardless of facts, context, or consequences.
So the election isn’t about people supporting views on macroeconomics that have been mainstream for almost a century and resisting voter suppression; it’s about lazy minorities who want free stuff. Just ask Bill O’Reilly!
Some people are giving folks like George Will, Michael Barone, Karl Rove, Dick Morris, Peggy Noonan, Jennifer Rubin, et al a hard time for their absurdly mistaken predictions. But they were just doing their jobs. They should all get raises.
Obviously, Rove and Morris have since been benched by Fox; maybe I’ve been putting it a little too starkly. We’ll see.
(I edited Bernstein’s post to remove his link to Krauthammer’s WaPo column).