Friday, July 9, 2010

What Keith Olbermann could learn from a church bulletin

Like all but about six people who have cable TV, I don't watch MSNBC. But it is impossible to avoid hearing about the idiocy that goes on there in the age of internet blogging. The latest on-air gaffe comes from one of the usual suspects, former ESPN anchor turned left-wing sideshow host Keith Olbermann.
“Just for the record do you how many elections Abraham Lincoln lost in his lifetime?” [Keith "Moo" Olbermann] asked, leering into the camera. With drama benefitting Gloria Swanson as the fading star in Sunset Boulevard, Olbermann holds up a solitary finger. Then goes on to say: “The Illinois state assembly in 1832. He prevailed in four elections for state assembly, one for Congress, two for president…. seven of eight he won.”
I think we already knew Mr.Olbermann didn't spend much time in church, but he doesn't need to make it this obvious. The so-called "Lincoln failures" list has been a favorite illustration for church bulletin covers, sermons, and other inspirational talks for decades. It goes something like this:

1832--Defeated for state legislature.
1833--Failed in business.
1835--Sweetheart died.
1836--Had nervous breakdown.
1838--Defeated for Speaker of Illinois House of Representatives.
1843--Defeated for U.S. Congress.
1854--Defeated for U.S. Senate.
1856--Defeated for Vice President.
1858--Defeated for U.S. Senate.
But in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States!

The complete timeline of Lincoln's life includes a few personal and political victories along the way, as well. But the number of times the word "Defeated" appears on his long list of candidacies is considerably more than one.

Keith Olbermann could learn a lot about history from reading a church bulletin.