Don’t know much about history

Keith Olbermann, as smug as he can be, says that Abraham Lincoln only ever lost one race, and that Sharron Angle is a fool for saying he lost “quite a few”. He elaborates: Lincoln won 7 of 8 races, losing only in 1832.

In fact, Lincoln won 8 of 13 races, if you count two primary losses and two US Senate losses.

Personally, I would do the research before calling someone ignorant on network television. But then, I wouldn’t even have to. I won’t claim that I can rattle off Lincoln’s electoral history off-the-cuff, but I certainly can tell you off-the-cuff of the famous race that he lost: against Stephen Douglas after the most famous political debate in history.

UPDATE: Corrected some errors in my count.

UPDATE: Olbermann says all those other races he lost don’t count; they weren’t real elections. Daniel Foster points out that that’s a stupid position: by Olbermann’s argument no one, including Lincoln, has ever been elected president.

True, but I think it misses the point. Olbermann didn’t say “I disagree with Sharron Angle’s count, because when you think about it, 4 of his 5 losses don’t really count.” That would have been a defensible argument (if still wrong in my view). But no, Olbermann just said Angle was a fool, implying that there’s no reasonable argument for Angle’s statement. That is simply not true.

If Olbermann now wants to claim he knew the facts all along, I am willing to stipulate he may be a liar rather than a fool. He can pick.

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