Goodbye to [most of] this: We raised this question yesterday, at the end of our post.
Is the highlighted statement true? That was the question we asked:
"The reason I'm being a little snarky is because all this comes just as Nancy Pelosi led her party to an electoral victory that will return them to power in the House with the largest margin victory in the popular vote of any party ever in the midterm election. No party ever in the history of the country has won a midterm election by a larger margin than Pelosi's Democrats just did in the House."Is the highlighted statement accurate? Setting Pelosi's role to the side, did Democrats just record "the largest margin victory in the popular vote of any party ever in the midterm election?"
(Asking our question a different way, is that second formulation true? Is it true that "no party ever in the history of the country has won a midterm election by a larger margin than the Democrats just did in the House?")
For the record, it doesn't exactly matter if those statements are true. Nothing is ever going to turn on the question raised by those statements.
That said, we'd say that those statements reflect the unfortunate culture of endless tribal embellishment. At best, we'd call those statements bogus. If we live in even a mildly rational world, we'd say that they're simply false.
The culture of casual reflexive embellishment has been with us for a long time. At the time we started this site, it dominated the work of the upper-end mainstream press corps.
Twenty years later, it plays an increasingly significant role in the frequently unimpressive culture of our own liberal/progressive world. It also dominates the culture found over there at Fox.
We don't think this widespread culture is helpful, smart, constructive, respectful or wise. That said, it's utterly pointless to oppose this culture.
Rather plainly, embellishment and novelization are what we rational animals like. That culture won't be going away. We tend to take numbers and stand in line in order to consume it.
On Monday, we're going to flip the focus of this site back in a different direction. But even as we're saying good-bye to [most of] this, we'll show you the times, in modern history, when a party recorded higher victory margins in House midterm elections than the Democrats did this year.
One of our two major parties did so in these midterm elections: 1958, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1982 and 1986. (That same party came very close in 2006.) Those elections were part of "the history of the country," no matter what you've been told.
(For what it's worth, that same party achieved a higher victory margin in these presidential-year House elections: 1960, 1964 and 2008.)
Pleasing embellishment makes us feel good. It's part of the porridge "cable news" pours down our rational throats.
That said, this form of pleasing embellishment, on the part of the press, sent George W. Bush to the White House in 2000. He proceeded to send the U. S. army to Iraq.
Embellishment can be a deadly disease. But dear lord! How good it can feel!
Like rust, it never sleeps: The desire for tribal pleasure never sleeps. We expect to discuss this recent professional-level stretcher next week, though only in our badly devalued afternoon slot.
Only 49 cents on the dollar! That said, do you see the way the methodology works? Is some sort of actual gain actually lurking in this?