Jonathan Chait

Most Hackish Post-Election Column Award Goes To...

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The award for Most Hilariously Propagandistic Election Interpretation, at least in the non-elected official category, goes to Charles Krauthammer. Here's the Fox News All-Star and Washington Post columnist explaining the 2010 result:

Our two most recent swing cycles were triggered by unusually jarring historical events. The 2006 Republican "thumpin'" (to quote George W. Bush) was largely a reflection of the disillusionment and near-despair of a wearying war that appeared to be lost. And 2008 occurred just weeks after the worst financial collapse in eight decades.

Similarly, the massive Republican swing of 2010 was a reaction to another rather unprecedented development...

You mean the gravest economic crisis since the Depression, right? Combined with overstretched majorities deep into GOP districts created by the previous two elections? Both of which made it essentially certain that Republicans would win back the House even in models that took no account whatsoever of the president's popularity? No, let's let Krauthammer continue with the unprecedented development that caused the 2010 result:

- a ruling party spectacularly misjudging its mandate and taking an unwilling country through a two-year experiment in hyper-liberalism.

Ah. So the 2006 and 2008 elections were a reaction to circumstances. The 2010 election was an expression of ideological conviction. The collapse of Lehman Brothers and the prospect of future rising unemployment had a huge effect upon the electorate, argues Krauthammer, but the reality of skyrocketing unemployment in 2010 is not worth mentioning. Gotcha.

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