John Harwood seems confused

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

The Times columnists acts like it's a huge deal that a Democrat appears on the verge of winning the White House, just four years after president Bush and the GOP seemed to solidify their permanent majority.

He writes:

In 2004, after President Bush won re-election with expanded Republican majorities in Congress, academics, journalists and party strategists wondered whether his blend of free-market economics, cultural conservatism and hawkishness on national security might create long-lasting Republican rule.

We'd ignore the "academics" and focus on the "journalists and party strategists" part from above because what happened in 2004 is Bush was re-elected, the GOP party spin was he'd won a mandate, and the press tripped over itself making that brash announcement.

Of course, it was the thinnest "mandate" on record. (Bush's final margin was almost identical to Jimmy Carter's win over Gerald Ford in 1976.) But the media remained wildly impressed that a wartime incumbent Republican president was able to (barely) defeat a liberal from Massachusetts.

So in truth, the GOP's permanent majority was a media creation, and one that Harwood still clings to today. (And CJR agrees.)

P.S. And what was up with Harwood's lead?

It would be remarkable, in any year, for a black Democratic candidate for president to be ahead in polls one week before Election Day. Even more remarkable is that it's happening this year.

Why would it be remarkable that a "black Democrat" is ahead one week before Election Day? Polls have shown for almost the entire year that Barack Obama had a legitimate chance of winning a general election race.

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