Lawrence O’Donnell failed spectacularly on today’s "Morning Joe" this morning. The Democratic pundit wasn’t alone in that effort, as co-host Mika Brzezinski, and journalists Martin Savidge and Mike Barnicle all failed to correct his gaffe.
Apparently, the MSNBC political analyst is under the impression that Sarah Palin’s selection as Vice President drove down female support for the John McCain ticket – and claims that polling numbers back him up.
The Gallup organization, for one, disagrees.
From the July 29 edition of “Morning Joe”, during a discussion of Sarah Palin’s 2008 speech at the Republican convention:
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: This is what people ignore, a very important polling point. Female support for the Republican ticket went down in the first month that she was on that ticket. Everybody ignores that and just said, wow, the crowd in the hall really loved the speech. America didn't, because –
MARTIN SAVIDGE: The crowd in the hall loved the speech, media loved the speech. That speech got tremendous coverage.
First, a reminder of the timeline involved in the Palin pick. Sarah Palin was announced as McCain’s running mate on August 29, 2008. The weekly poll numbers from Gallup in the four weeks prior to the week of August 29 were as follows:
July 28 – August 3: 39% support from women.
August 4 – 10: 36% support from women.
August 11 – 17: 39% support from women.
August 18 – 24: 41% support from women.
In fact, female support for the McCain ticket going back through the second week of June holds steadily between 37-39%.
Now, what happened after Sarah Palin was picked?
August 25 – 31: 39% support from women.
September 1 – 7: 42% support from women.
September 8 – 14: 43% support from women.
September 15 – 21: 40% support from women.
The subsequent weeks weigh in at a repeating number of 39% support from women until the last two weeks of the campaign, which rendered a number of 38% support from women. So what you see there is, just like the rest of America, there was a convention bounce among women. After this month-long surge of support, women reverted to their normal levels of support for the McCain ticket.
One almost feels sorry for O’Donnell’s inability to read polling data without liberal spin.
This, however, isn’t the only bit of factually incorrect pompous punditry from O’Donnell. Earlier in the same segment, he pontificated on Sarah Palin’s political future:
There is no mystery to her political future. We have settled history on this. When you lose as the vice presidential candidate in America, your career is over, it's done. In the television age, not one person who has lost in the vice presidential slot has ever achieved anything again in politics, not one.
That might be news to people who actually read history, such as NewsBusters tipster Chris Bennett. Bennett helpfully pointed out that Joe Lieberman, in addition to serving as a senator for nine years after his failed VP run, currently serves as the Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee – and was given a prime speaking spot at the Republican Convention, and was purportedly John McCain’s personal first choice for Vice President.
If that’s not your particular cup of tea, Bennett also mentioned Bob Dole – who ran for Vice President on the failed ticket of Gerald Ford, circa 1976. Bob Dole then went on to lead Senate Agriculture Committee, was the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, was both the Majority Leader and the Minority leader in the United States Senate, and won his party’s nomination for a presidential run in 1996.
Neither of those sounds like a lack of achievement. O’Donnell, it would seem, has as firm a grasp on recent history as he does on recent polling data.