Wednesday, November 15, 2006
If you believe that individual men and women make history, then consider that control of the United States Senate at least arguably turned on the actions of one person.
Sidharth's contribution is also a reminder of how important it is to give your foe the maximum number of opportunities to screw up. Many a battle, election, game, and legal contest has been won that way. In my experience as a lawyer handling tax controversies, I've had several clients greatly helped by the IRS's blunders.
Someday maybe I'll write up the story of how Windows ultimately became the dominant operating system rather than OS/2 because of a paltry 45K of memory that couldn't be found back around 1988 by IBM's programmers.
Small nits often change the course of history.
If you want to win an election in a year in which the trends are against you, you can't do a crappy job running a race. Especially when those trends include an antagonistic, activist media.
Blaming this on one incident, no matter how significant is tantamount to superstition.
I think it's fair to say the macaca event swung the senate. I credit Allen himself (rather than the taperecorder), but there you have it. Still, there's other places to point fingers.
Would McKaskill have won without the free publicity when Rush Limbaugh went after Michael J. Fox's twitching?
Maybe the House would have been different had Michael Scanlon not cheated on his fiancee with a manicurist. She brought her wrath to the Feds, who used it to bring down Abramoff. That helped bring the retirement of the House majority leader. (and Ney)
Speaking of infidelity, there's a guy who claimed he didn't choke his mistress and another who claims he didn't have hookers at his Watergate hotel poker nights. The latter's in jail.
This cycle also brought us Foley, Libby, and Brownie. You could speculate on the effect of those 3 for years.
Anyway, don't be too hard on Allen. There's a lot of minor players who had big effects.