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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Sunday, November 12, 2006

More on Charlie Sykes

Having slept on it--twice--I think I went too far. Not that I don't think Sykes's post there was not wrong (it was, in spades) or smug (even his JournalCorp colleagues saw that) or sore (it had a sense of desperation to it).

However, I started name-calling, and I don't do that. I shouldn't have done it, regardless of whom the target was. I apologize.

But I'm not wrong: There is nothing in the 2006 results for Southeastern Wisconsin (the "Milwaukee media market," as Sykes stakes it out) that should make conservatives feel proud. Or better about Green's loss. Locally and nationally, conservatives have offered excuse after excuse. I've read a lot from them this week about why they lost, very little of it admitting that they lost because the current model of conservative governance is past its prime.

No, there were claims, for example, that the newly elected Dems are really conservatives (they're not, really), or that these big swings in the 6th year of a presidency are normal (5 seats switched in both '86 and '98). More locally, some bloggers all but called voters stupid. (My favorite was Patrick McIlheran's response, but it deserves its own post later.)

I'm no stranger to taking losses hard, of course. But Sykes's post just--I don't know--set me off.

Perhaps it comes from thinking he should know better than to lie--and I maintain it was, at least, a lie of omission, as he didn't do the research he should have to find out if his point were truly valid. The excuse he offered was not merely a lame attempt to gloss over a resounding defeat. Instead, it struck me as a self-congratulatory halo-polishing, giving himself credit for keeping "the Milwaukee Media Market" redder than the rest of the state. Its wrongness--as demonstrated by the numbers--was stunning; its tone was disgusting.

Still, I was over the top. Like, couldn't see the top from where I was. And that, too, was wrong.

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