For a delicious taste of the circularity of political spin, don’t miss Jonathan Chait’s latest post at TNR‘s ‘The Plank.’ Chait’s post, all the more a hoot because it was put up yesterday instead of this morning, unpacks some familiar boilerplate we are now hearing. A sample:
“A Bush Political Adviser Says The Current Campaigns [For Governor In Virginia And New Jersey] Turn On Local Issues, While National Conditions Will Color Next Year’s Results.” The Wall Street Journal reported that, “Republicans say a Democratic sweep of the off-year races for Virginia and New Jersey governors and New York City mayor wouldn’t presage next year’s crucial midterm elections to control Congress. A Bush political adviser says the current campaigns turn on local issues, while national conditions will color next year’s results.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/2/01] …Republicans “Downplayed Any Larger Symbolism In The Races, Insisting They Represented ‘Personal Triumphs,”…But Were Not a Repudiation Of Bush Or Republican Policies.” CQ reported that, “Republicans ‘downplayed any larger symbolism in the races, insisting they represented “personal triumphs” for Mark Warner in Virginia and James E. McGreevey in New Jersey, but were not a repudiation of Bush or Republican policies.’” [CQ, 11/7/01]
And just for good measure:
Washington Times’ Lambro: It’s “Difficult If Not Impossible To Find Any Political Significance In The Off-Year Elections That Involve Only A Couple Of Governorships, Dozens Of Mayoralty Races, And State Legislative Races.” Donald Lambro of the Washington Times wrote that it is, “difficult if not impossible to find any political significance in the off-year elections that involve only a couple of governorships, dozens of mayoralty races and state legislative races.” [Washington Times, 11/7/01]
Chait points out that the pooh-pooh spin moves both ways and that it doesn’t get a lot of cred, since exaggerating the importance of off-year elections serves the needs of news managers to produce less boring coverage. Read his whole post for more grins.