Your Lying Eyes

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26 June 2007

Oh to be a Columnist

What few readers I have are quick to make mincemeat of me when I screw up, so I feel a fair amount of pressure to get my facts right in my posts, and back them up with references. Columnists have never really had to worry about that.

Today, WP's Richard Cohen presumes to refer to history in arguing how Republicans can still pull out a victory in '08 by looking to the past. His example, Richard Nixon's landslide victory in 1972.
The history I have in mind is 1972. By the end of that year, 56,844 Americans had been killed in Vietnam, a war that almost no one thought could still be won and that no one could quite figure out how to end. Nevertheless, the winner in that year's presidential election was Richard M. Nixon. He won 49 of 50 states -- and the war, of course, went on.
Uh, Richard, Mr. Cohen, sir, by 1972 Nixon had dramaticaly reduced American involvement in Vietnam. Combat deaths had declined from over 16,000 in 1968 to 641 in 1972. American involvement in Vietnam by 1972 was limited to an air war, leaving opposition to the war in the hands of the far left who were clearly wanted the communists to win. The Republicans not only didn't inherit the Iraq war (like Nixon had) but the casualties are increasing rather than decreasing, so there really isn't much they can learn from Nixon's 1972 landslide victory (other than to avoid getting caught bugging the opposition's headquarters). But I suppose it's unfair to expect a Washington Post columnist to know something about recent history or, heaven forfend, spend a couple minutes of research on the internet.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cohen is just as bad as that other hack, Friedman.

June 26, 2007 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminds me back in college ('78 or '79) my history professor mentioned in passing the "close presidential race of 1972". When I raised my hand and expressed my recollection that I thought it was the opposite (a landslide victory). I end up getting a public dressing down by the professor stating I should have my facts straight before "mouthing off" in the class room.

So off to the college library I go to get a microfiche copy (remember them)of the NY Times front page from the 1972 election. Confronted with the facts, my professor actually apolgized in front of the class room.

June 26, 2007 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christ sully, sounds like the guy actually had some objectivity. Now, some professor would probably just fail you.

June 26, 2007 1:48 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

He might have been thinking 1968, which was indeed a squeaker, with Nixon winning the popular vote by about 200k. I think he and Humphrey each got 43% of the vote with Wallace getting 12% - as well as several electoral votes in the deep south.

I remember more microFILM for newspapers - operating those spools was never fun - particularly since anytime I viewed microfilm it was under the gun to get a major paper done in like 2 days.

June 26, 2007 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's microFILM grampa?

June 26, 2007 8:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


There are two "whoppers" in this story from Cohen. The first is the party is "divided over immigration". No, its not. About 90 percent of Republicans want a wall built and the illegals sent back, but many of the ten percent or so who dont have alot of money, make big campaign contributions and own various media outlets.

The second "whopper" is "Now we come to the current race. The war in Iraq is not -- or not yet -- an issue for Republicans. With the exception of Ron Paul and, more recently, Jim Gilmore, they all more or less support the president".
People are so "over" this war. Nobody believes there were WMD's in the first place now in Iraq (there weren't). Most believe (like me) that Cheney and Co. are just itching to find a way to get a war going with Iran. Most believe (also like me) that Israel is now the major beneficiary of our mideast policy at a profound cost to the American taxpayer. Most believe (like me) that if we ever get to leave Iraq, ten years after we are gone, there is no telling who will be in control of an unnaturally-treaty-MADE-nation that should have never been concocted, but was naturally three different nations 150 years ago (Kurds, Sunni's, Shia's) anyway.

Its simply ABOMINABLE how the ANAYLISIS of the news events are pure agiti-prop and lies these days through elite "filters" telling us what "our betters" and the "public" thinks when its simply not the case. Cohen is a bold liar to print this garbage.

June 26, 2007 9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course! Microfilm is what I was trying to remember. Microfiche, I must have been unconsciously trying to shave ten years off my age.

June 27, 2007 10:16 AM  

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