The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Bold, the Brave, the Wrong

Posted on | January 3, 2011 | 2 Comments

American Spectator associate editor W. James Antle III rang out the old year by highlighting his most misbegotten predictions of 2010:

4. Christine O’Donnell is a no-hoper in the primary. I wasn’t confident enough in that one to make the prediction publicly, but I did dissuade an intern from writing a piece that took her ability to beat Mike Castle seriously. Oops! Though in my defense, it was before she caught on with conservatives nationally — the prerequisite for a successful Tea Party challenge this year.

Heh. Smitty was one of the first bloggers to spot the O’Donnell juggernaut, and I spent three days in July shadowing Team Christine at the Right Online in Vegas. Still, when I traveled to Dover for Primary Night coverage, I went there secretly expecting Castle to squeak out a win.

O’Donnell’s upset win in the GOP primary seemed to me such a miracle I thought it would provide the kind of Cinderella-story momentum that would carry her to victory in November.

That didn’t work out so well. Nevertheless, no regrets.

What I can’t understand, however, is why my buddy Jim Antle would “dissuade an intern from writing a piece that took her ability to beat Mike Castle seriously.” What’s wrong with doing a serious story about a long-shot underdog?

If you surrender to that kind of “inevitability” thinking, then front-runner status becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, doesn’t it? Besides which, it’s possible to do a story about an underdog that takes his candidacy seriously while at the same time acknowledging the long odds against him. Maybe that kind of reporting is beyond the skill level of an intern, but it can be done.

Good political reporting shouldn’t always be about jumping aboard the front-runner’s bandwagon, and ought not be dependent on anyone’s prediction of the outcome. Because sometimes the front-runner doesn’t go the distance, and sometimes the winner is a dark horse.

I’m just sayin’ . . .


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