Robert Novak has long been dismissed by rational people as a mean-spirited hack. However, he has really out done himself. Novak quickly dismissed the 7 million vote margin of Barack Obama as not a mandate while, in 2004, he said it was obvious that a 3.5 million margin for President Bush was such a mandate. Novak mathematics — or Novatics — appears to demand three times the margin of a Republican for a Democrat to declare a mandate.
Novak pronounced his verdict on the 2008 election in his column in the Chicago Sun Times.
On Crossfire after Bush’s narrow win, Novak had this exchange with Mark Shields:
SHIELDS: Bob Novak, is 51 percent of the vote really a mandate?
BOB NOVAK, CAPITAL GANG: Of course it is. It’s a 3.5 million vote margin. But the people who are saying that it isn’t a mandate are the same people who were predicting that John Kerry would win.
Novak maintained his position despite the gains in the Senate and the House by the democrats. For many of us who are columnists, Novak has always been a symbol of what is wrong with commentary today. He was one of the pioneers in creating a “niche” in national media for a blindly partisan column. Unfortunately, Novak’s formula approach to writing is now the dominant model with cable shows and newspapers carving out space for robotic Democratic and Republican advocates.
None of this is likely to bother Novak who has never been particularly credible as a columnist. The question is why newspapers continue to print these mindless, shameless hacks from the left and the right. It is part of the dumbing down of our political life in this country.
For the earlier Novak appraisal, click here.