The fiercely independent thinking RWDBs of the Australian media and blogosphere have been out and about reciting talking points from the discredited Republican Noise machine ever since Barack Obama won the Presidency last week. For the life of me, I can’t understand why Antipodean wingnuts take their wingnutty duties so seriously, but I’m sure that many are still firmly in the faith-based alternative universe, and thus allergic to facts. But for anyone who’s been wondering about some of the most egregious memes around the joint, here are some links to set the record straight.
Myth #1: The Obama turnout meant that Prop 8 won in California.
But the notion that Prop 8 passed because of the Obama turnout surge is silly. Exit polls suggest that first-time voters — the vast majority of whom were driven to turn out by Obama (he won 83 percent [!] of their votes) — voted against Prop 8 by a 62-38 margin
– Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com
Myth #2: The Democrats’ victory wasn’t comprehensive.
What happened? Overall, the Democrats gained a bit in 2004, a lot in 2006, and some in 2008. But we knew that (see the time series plot in the blog entry linked above). We also see a bit of scatter. Beyond this, yes, there are some patterns. In 2006, the Democrats particularly gained in Republican areas–see how those dots in the lower left of the second graph are way above the 45-degree line? In 2008, the swing is more uniform… Returning to the “How well did the Democrats actually do in 2008? question, I think that one problem is that people are comparing Obama’s vote to Kerry’s vote but then comparing the congressional Democrats in 2008 to the congressional Democrats in 2006. I think it’s more appropriate to compare 2008 to 2004 in both cases. As Paul Krugman put it, “Maybe the reason people don’t see this is that the Democratic House gains were spread over two elections.”
Myth #3: Obama would be politically sensible to govern as a moderate gradualist.
So a serious progressive agenda — call it a new New Deal — isn’t just economically possible, it’s exactly what the economy needs.The bottom line, then, is that Barack Obama shouldn’t listen to the people trying to scare him into being a do-nothing president. He has the political mandate; he has good economics on his side. You might say that the only thing he has to fear is fear itself.
– Paul Krugman.