Arthur Jensen, replying to Stephen Jay Gould’s Mismeasure Of Man, wrote that “whenever a scientist alters his view on some point over a 20 year period, or later places a different emphasis on some particular fact, Gould insistently refers to his ‘recanting.’” For example “‘Goddard recants,’ ‘Brigham recants,’ ‘Terman recants,’ ‘Spearman recanted,’ etc.“
This can be very annoying, but I think I’m justified in saying that Michael Barone’s latest Washington Examiner column [Michael Barone: Busting some myths about race and politics, October 27, 2012 ]represents a Barone recantation:
When reading one of the endless stories about a just-released poll Thursday night, a pair of numbers struck my eye: 60 and 37.
Those were the percentages of white voters supporting Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in the ABC/Washington Post tracking poll. Overall, the poll showed Romney leading Obama 50 to 47 percent.
The reason those two numbers struck my eye is that they are identical to the percentages of white voters supporting Republicans and Democrats in elections for the House of Representatives in the 2010 exit poll. Overall, Republicans won the House popular vote by a margin of 52 to 45 percent, tied with 1994 for the best Republican showing since 1946.
In fact, it's the Republicans' biggest margin among white voters in House elections ever since the party was formed in 1854. Republican presidential candidates have won by bigger margins among whites only in 1920, 1972 and 1984.
Some will ascribe this to racism. But Barack Obama won enough votes from whites to win with 53 percent in 2008, more than any other Democratic nominee except Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.
Why are whites more one-sidedly partisan than just about ever before? Maybe because they're constantly being told that they're headed toward becoming a minority of the electorate. Self-conscious minorities tend to vote more cohesively.
Or because they're the objects of racial discrimination in, among other things, university admissions, as documented by Richard Sandler and Stuart Taylor in their recent book "Mismatch."
Republicans are often told that their party is headed toward minority status because of the rising numbers of heavily Democratic nonwhites...
Of course, that’s not what Barone has been saying over the years—see
Barone ends his column by writing
“So puncture a couple of myths. Romney can win even if 80 percent of nonwhites vote again for Obama. And rising percentages of nonwhites in future electorates will pose challenges, but not threaten doom, for the Republican Party.”
However, Barone has not gone to the full, penitent, recantation-style length of actually saying ““So puncture a couple of myths—which I have been propagating for years….and I was wrong.” You can contact him (via Twitter or Facebook or the comments in his column) and ask him why.