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November 19, 2004

Michael Barone's Retrospective on his Almanac of American Politics Intros

Michael Barone's retrospectives on over thirty years of the Almanac of American Politics makes interesting reading. He goes over his analyses and predictions with the benefit of hindsight and the openness of someone whose wisdom is well enough established that he can admit to mistakes. Here's an example, on the 1982 almanac:
This Introduction includes summaries of the battles for the Democratic and Republican nominations which I think stand up very well. It has a neat summary of John Anderson's candidacy which also stands up well, but is a bit too snide; and it ends by noting that Anderson emerged with a mailing list three times larger than that of the Democratic party and that therefore "Anderson has the potential of reviving his candidacy in 1984 and may be an important political factor in the years in between." Nothing like that happened at all, and I should have had the good judgment to see that it wouldn't. The summary of the general election reads well, and I wouldn't change it today. The crux: "Voters wanted to reject Carter and were looking for reassurance that Reagan was acceptable. In the debate they got it. Reagan made no obvious mistakes; he stressed convincingly his desire for peace. He presented himself as an amiable and knowledgeable man, and one capable of inspiration." But I didn't mention his famous words, "Are you better off than you were four years ago" (they are mentioned later in the Introduction) and "There you go again."

Posted by erasmuse at November 19, 2004 08:48 AM

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