Advertisement

Math From the Man Who Brought You Social Security Privatization

Peter Wehner, whose job in the White House seemed to specifically entail overseeing Karl Rove’s more grandiose and doomed schemes, writes of his boss:

Karl is sui generis; no other White House aide in modern times has played the indispensable role he has. His political achievements are by now well-known. “The architect” played a key role in all of George W. Bush’s election wins, including Bush’s defeat of a popular Democratic incumbent, Texas Governor Ann Richards, and then his winning re-election by a record margin.

I’m tripping over the idea that helping a Republican win an election in Texas in a GOP landslide year is a great accomplishment to such an extent that I’m having trouble trying to process the question of what kind of “record” Bush is supposed to have set with his margin over John Kerry. I assume he means it was a record in terms of something meaningless like raw vote total when, in any relevant sense, the margin was, in fact, unusually small. This tends to support one of the things I took away from Josh Green’s article, namely the idea that this crew might be too clever by half.

After all, why is Wehner using misleading statistics in this context? What does he have to gain? It’s like he can’t break the reflex and genuinely can’t tell up from down anymore.

Advertisement

UPDATE: Alternative hypothesis: I’m too wedded to my view here and ignoring the more charitable interpretation that Wehner is claiming a record margin for Bush’s re-election as governor in 1998. Indeed, that’s almost certainly what happened here. Apologies to readers, Wehner, etc.