June 2, 2016

"So, how did President Obama do on the job? Was he a good president?"

"If you have an answer in your head – either yes or no – it proves you don’t know how to make decisions. No judgement can be made about Obama’s performance because there is nothing to which it can be compared. No one else in a parallel universe was president at the same time, doing different things and getting different results."

Writes Scott Adams, discussing the question "What exactly is the risk of a Trump presidency?"

101 comments:

Ken B said...

Was putting your hand into a spinning blender a wise or foolish act? If you have an answer in your head – either yes or no – it proves you don’t know how to make decisions. No judgement can be made the blender reach because there is nothing to which it can be compared. No one else in a parallel universe was contemplating a blender at the same time, doing different things with his hands and getting different results.

Brando said...

Good lord. By that twisted logic no one should ever be fired from anything, ever, because we have no way of judging the job they did because no one else held that exact job at the exact time and place? How can anyone blame that coach who went 0-16 last year, when for all we know any other coach would have had the same record with that exact team that exact year?

I get that you think Scott Adams is some sort of guru genius, but these posts you link are particularly lacking.

rhhardin said...

Perhaps Scott Adams knows no economics.

Obama's economic policies are deadly to commerce.

David Begley said...

When the interest rate on $19t in debt resets to say, 4%, we will have a good way to judge. Same when Iran tests its nukes. The invasion from the Mideast into Europe is certainly interesting. Same with ISIS head cutting. Obama is personally responsible for this and more.

Brando said...

Maybe this is the post that finally convinces Althouse that Scott Adams's genius status was unwarranted. But then, how can we judge Adams's post when for all we know in a parallel universe another blogger may have posted something even more nonsensical?

Brando said...

"When the interest rate on $19t in debt resets to say, 4%, we will have a good way to judge. Same when Iran tests its nukes. The invasion from the Mideast into Europe is certainly interesting. Same with ISIS head cutting. Obama is personally responsible for this and more."

Impossible! According to genius guru Scott Adams, an alternate universe Obama may have nuked our entire country repeatedly, so we have no basis to judge real world Obama.

eric said...

I gotta say, that was pretty dumb. Scott Adams doesn't seem dumb to me. But that was dumb.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nonapod said...

Scott Adams is a weird high functioning sociopath. His convoluted observations have moments of brilliance, but those are usually undercut by absurd lines of thought and nonsensical pseudo-logic... as observed here. Saying that someone is beyond judgement because there's no perfect way to compare them to some ideal alternative is ridiculous. We live in a messy imperfect universe that is full of random noise. We have to use the incomplete information that we have available to us to make judgements. We can't throw up our hands and give up just because something isn't ideal.

Sebastian said...

"If you have an answer in your head – either yes or no – it proves you don’t know how to make decisions. No judgement can be made about Obama’s performance because there is nothing to which it can be compared." Political philosophy worthy of a cartoonist. Just as "incredibly clever" as his previous pronouncements.

bagoh20 said...

When all the intelligent defenses of the guy fall in the face of fact, you can always go to the absurdity. He's got cartoon intelligence. Not all of us have that.

dreams said...

Bull. Obama has been successful in transforming America. Obama's goal was to weaken our country and he has. Its always easier to destroy than to build. Trump is a builder.

Owen said...

Nonapod. "Scott Adams is a weird high functioning sociopath. His convoluted observations have moments of brilliance, but those are usually undercut by absurd lines of thought and nonsensical pseudo-logic... as observed here."

Scott Adams has, I imagine, done very well from his cartoons and related ventures. Wealth and fame can make people stupid. I agree with President Obama (in this universe) who said, "At some point, you've made enough money."

Come on, Scott: give it up. Return to the land of reason and logic. Your fans await.

bagoh20 said...

How does he know what happened in parallel universes? I have it on good authority that there is an Obama in such a universe who actually did stop the rising of the oceans.

rhhardin said...

The whole aim of the transcendental deduction of all a priori conceptions is to show that these conceptions are a priori conditions of the possibility of all experience. Conceptions which afford us the objective foundation of the possibility of experience are for that very reason necessary. But the analysis of the experiences in which they are met with is not deduction, but only an illustration of them, because from experience they could never derive the attribute of necessity. Without their original applicability and relation to all possible experience, in which all objects of cognition present themselves, the relation of the categories to objects, of whatever nature, would be quite incomprehensible.

The celebrated Locke, for want of due reflection on these points, and because he met with pure conceptions of the understanding in experience, sought also to deduce them from experience, and yet proceeded so inconsequently as to attempt, with their aid, to arrive it cognitions which lie far beyond the limits of all experience. David Hume perceived that, to render this possible, it was necessary that the conceptions should have an a priori origin. But as he could not explain how it was possible that conceptions which are not connected with each other in the understanding must nevertheless be thought as necessarily connected in the object—and it never occurred to him that the understanding itself might, perhaps, by means of these conceptions, be the author of the experience in which its objects were presented to it—he was forced to drive these conceptions from experience, that is, from a subjective necessity arising from repeated association of experiences erroneously considered to be objective—in one word, from habit. But he proceeded with perfect consequence and declared it to be impossible, with such conceptions and the principles arising from them, to overstep the limits of experience. The empirical derivation, however, which both of these philosophers attributed to these conceptions, cannot possibly be reconciled with the fact that we do possess scientific a priori cognitions, namely, those of pure mathematics and general physics.

- Critique of Pure Reason

rhhardin said...

Adams is seeing as covariant what is contravariant.

Roughcoat said...

I just returned from a journey to a parallel universe, and I can assure Scott Adams that our Obama does not measure up to the Van Dyke-bearded Obama in that distant place.

Gahrie said...

So we can never judge anyone's performance ever?

TCom said...

Scott is psychologically brilliant.

He's also a total political ignoramus. His problem is that he genuinely thinks facts don't matter, because persuasion is powerful.

He never seems to realize that persuasion paired with truth is even more powerful. Hence, Trump.

This isn't the first time Scott has said something retarded when talking politics.

cubanbob said...

Mr. Adams is of the opinion that I should not believe my lying eyes. Obviously he doesn't believe his lying eyes.

Dan Hossley said...

I am pretty sure that I'm not imagining that toppling Muamar Gaddafi and then walking away from the mess we created was a bad decision. Also, I'm pretty sure I am not imagining that telling the Taliban when we would stop fighting was a bad decision.

I won't mention the non stop stream of lies to the American people in order to advance an agenda lacking widespread support...I'm pretty sure I'm not imagining that.

Bob Boyd said...

Adams isn't being dumb, he's being Trump-like.
He began with provocative statements about ourselves to grab attention and get us reading the piece. Once that happened he segued into what he really wanted to talk about which was how Donald Trump would be a low-risk, common sense choice for President, an idea that is even more outrageous for a lot of people than the original notion that humans cannot judge the performance of past Presidents.

Paul Snively said...

I'm feeling uncharacteristically charitable for some reason, so I'll make the charitable assumption that Scott Adams, who is, in fact, a professional geek, actually is at least superficially familiar with probability theory, decision theory, and game theory, and therefore understands perfectly well that it is, in fact, perfectly possible to make rational decisions under uncertainty, and that in fact there are a wide variety of disciplines, both professional and political, that fall under that general umbrella.

In other words, I choose to believe this particular piece of writing is tongue-in-cheek, and let's remember that Scott Adams is best known as a comic writer from the inside of geek culture. Do we really need to see Dogbert in a cardinal's hat, shaking a mitre, and shouting "Out! Out, demons of stupidity!" to remember that?

David53 said...

Bob Boyd appears to be the only commenter who read the whole article.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Its pretty easy to present yourself as a guru by "explaining" how a successful person is being successful when your explanations aren't going to be tested in any way.

The important thing is your attitude. And suckers. You gots to find yourself some suckers.

Michael K said...

We actually do have a parallel example of a president. Buchanan was the closest example of a failed presidency I can come up with.

The Dred Scott court case occurred at the beginning of his administration which stated that slaves were considered property. Despite being against slavery himself, Buchanan felt that this case proved the constitutionality of slavery. He fought for Kansas to be entered into the union as a slave state but it was eventually admitted as a free state in 1861.

In 1857, an economic depression occurred called the Panic of 1857. The North and West were hit hard but Buchanan took no action to help alleviate the depression.

By the time for reelection, Buchanan had decided not to run again. He knew that he had lost support, and he was unable to stop the problems that would lead to secession.


Well there is an example of Buchanan's superior wisdom. He knew better than to run again,.

Rumpletweezer said...

I use the Indiana Jones standard. If the President drinks out of the jeweled cup and the economy goes in the tank and the Middle East erupts with an unstoppable tidal wave of refugees, I think he chose poorly.

Birkel said...

Judged against the standard "nothing is a high standard" Obama has been a miserable failure.

Earnest Prole said...

Nothing in life is knowable, since we lack a handy parallel test-universe, therefore we have no basis for making decisions of any kind. It’s the kind of thing college freshmen say late at night, and it sounds less banal when you’re drunk or stoned. We were all eighteen once. How old is Scott Adams?

Brando said...

I can imagine a parallel universe where that blog post was far less inane.

Big Mike said...

What Birkel wrote.

And Scott Adams is a clown.

Birkel said...

Also, I can judge how Obama has done compared to my projections from eight years ago. There is not a single thing I missed. Not one.

So I feel confident saying he is the worst president in U.S. history as I predicted eight years ago.

Meanwhile, Althouse voted for this abject failure.

EMD said...

Bob Boyd is the only one who read the article.

Everyone else, in a rush to judgment, misses Adams's point.

mikee said...

This is not a decision, as in "A versus B," it is an assessment of performance over time, as in, "What were his stated goals, did I agree with them, and how well did he accomplish them?"

Obama has accomplished many of his stated goals, from destruction of the coal industry to installation of kleptocratic crony capitalism beyond a Marxist's wildest dreams, from vast federal regulatory bureaucratic empowerment to huge expansion of the welfare state. He even got Obamacare passed, by some of the most obscene political shenanigans since Jimmy Carter left Americans to rot in Iran. But as I do not agree with his policies, I judge him to be a horrible president.

Adams, a person knowledgeable about the scientific method, should know we are not testing Obama versus Opposite-Obama. We are testing Obama against our lifetimes of acquiring political philosophies, economic policies and appreciation for the checks and balances of the federal government (oh, that is another thing he destroyed - Thanks, Obama!).

Bob Boyd said...

That's the down side of the Trump/Adams attention getting approach.
A lot of people will get hung up on the outrageousness of "Mexicans are rapists" and never hear the reasonable arguments Trump may follow up with on the subject of illegal immigration.
Especially when the press becomes an echo chamber for the outrageous statement and never covers the rest of it.

traditionalguy said...

Obama has turned out to be the best salesman in the history of the world for personal firearms. The NRA needs to give him a Lifetime Achievement Award.

hombre said...

The measure of an executive is how well he did managing those matters in his charge, not how well he did in comparison to another executive who, even if only chronologically, faced different issues.

Look at Obama based on obvious issues or ones he defined:

Economy: Slowest recovery ever, doctored stats, doubled debt.
Healthcare: Gruber; lie of the year ( if you like your plan ...), increasing premiums, etc.
Transparency: Stalling, perjury before Congress, etc.
Unification: Black Lives Matter, Mizzou, Baltimore.
Foreign policy: Impending nuclear Iran, Libya (including Benghazi), Putin, China, N. Korea.
Corruption: DOJ, IRS, BLM, EPA, VA, emails, etc.
Etc.

mockturtle said...

It is clear that Adams understands Trump, which cannot be said of a lot of people.

Roy Jacobsen said...

Nobody should be surprised by this codswallop. Purportedly smart people do and say stupid things all the time.

Constitutional Insurgent said...

Definitely great for gun sales....not that I need much persuasion to add to and diversify my, um...portfolio.

The wars of liberal interventionism expanded upon by Obama, will be his legacy of failure. A legacy of which Clinton will happily take the mantle.

Diamondhead said...

He didn't repudiate his initial dumb statement in the rest of the article, did he? He ended up making a more reasonable (if arguable) point - that Trump would not be an especially dangerous President. I don't think that follows from the posted statement so it's fair to judge the propositions separately.

gadfly said...

Scott Adams has already proven that he doesn't know how to make decisions correctly, since he ignores the personality defects, business failures and the legal and ethical corruptions that surround the life and times of Donald Trump.

People who dream of living in Trump Tower should never stow thrones. Trump is a pathological liar, unable to separate lies from truth. Over the course of 4.6 hours of speeches, Politico "found that he lied, on average, once every five minutes. When Huffington Post cataloged his lies over the course of just one town hall event, they came up with 71 lies."

Sebastian said...

"The empirical derivation, however, which both of these philosophers attributed to these conceptions, cannot possibly be reconciled with the fact that we do possess scientific a priori cognitions, namely, those of pure mathematics and general physics." This is where Kant went wrong. Unfortunately.

Clyde said...

With all due respect to Mr. Adams, bullshit! Of course we can make a judgment on the kind of job Obama has done, without having to ask who might have done a better or worse job.

MikeD said...

There's a perfect comparison, what he did versus doing nothing. In virtually everything he's done, doing nothing would've been orders of magnitude better.

traditionalguy said...

Adams expresses a Presbyterian point of view on Reality. He first assumes that there is an ongoing active administration of His creation by the God who knows men and women before they are made inside their mother's wombs and who actively chooses some to play out roles in His Eternal Kingdom. They see the hand of God in sets of circumstances the men must encounter.

Karl Marx almost said the same thing. But he replaced God's hand with a material dialectic of determinism. Without God in Marx's equation, Marx's new man becomes his own creator...and he immediately starts genocides as if there is no other choice than to eliminate competitors.





Sammy Finkelman said...

You can compare Obama to what you think should have happened. This has nothing to do with comparing him to McCain. The president in aparallel unoverse also could have the same bad rating.

Saying that you can't rate him is like saying you can't rate or grade term papers because each one of them is different.

Static Ping said...

This would make an excellent Sliders episode.

I need to get off this rock and onto a slightly different one.

Temujin said...

Sometimes it's best to not quote Mr. Adams.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Now, there is an argument that, because you are evaluating the quality of one time occurances, your judgment can readily be wrong - maybe you think it is easier or harder than it is to do a good job; or likelier or less likely than it is to happen, and that will affect your rating on the Presidential greatness and failure scale.

But sometimes, even so, two presidents deal with the same thing.

Jake said...

What?

Unknown said...

What a great title for a post. But it reminded me of "Other than that Mrs.Lincoln, how was the play?"

HoodlumDoodlum said...

rhhardin said...
Perhaps Scott Adams knows no economics.


Adams received a BA in economics from Hartwick College in 1979. He got an MBA in economics and management from UC Berkeley in 1986.

Brando said...
Maybe this is the post that finally convinces Althouse that Scott Adams's genius status was unwarranted.


One of Adams' main arguments is that you don't have to understand how reality works (in a deep way), you just have to have a good model. Good in the sense of giving reasonably accurate predictions. Adams might argue that whether you think he's a genius or not his predictions (about Trump) have been accurate (where most other people's predictions have not been)...so whether you believe the "why" reasons behind his model/prediction doesn't really matter, all that matters is whether his predictions are accurate or not.
You might not buy that, but I'll bet that's what Adams would argue in response.

Static Ping said...

I tend to agree with some of the other posters that Adams is just making an over the top statement to get your attention, and then gets into the more reasonable arguments afterwards. Typical Trump.

Whether Obama will be considered a "best" President in the future will be dependent on many things. The problem with all this nonsense is "best" is necessarily subjective. An expert explaining to me in detail the historical events in detail is valuable. The historian giving his opinion of what the driving forces behind these events were and what possibly could have happened differently is interesting and perhaps useful, but of less value. The "best" is rather meaningless and tends to conform to the biases and prejudices of the historian unless it is based on some objective criteria (greatest conqueror, etc.)

gerry said...

Trump is a pathological liar, unable to separate lies from truth.

And Hillary...?

Comanche Voter said...

That Scott Adams dude is frequently dingier than Dilbert.

B said...

Dumbest thing I've read this week. He's basically arguing that all social science is useless because there aren't controlled experiments.

Virgil Hilts said...

Obama has been a horrible president, but its not a matter of performance; its a matter of who he is - a very, very small man from Chicago politics convinced that lefty politics and cronyism on which he was raised/trained are the only way to run things, and uncomfortable around competent advisers (as opposed to Valerie types). I think he came in pledging bilateralism and intelligent governance at a time when someone with his background and support actually might have had a chance to improve things, to make government work better, to stop driving the country apart, etc. But that was not who he is. He is just a very small man incapable of greatness, incapable of becoming someone better or more interesting than what he was. So its kind of hard to hate him for not being what some of us (even though we voted against him) hoped he might actually be. That man never existed.

Bay Area Guy said...

As a voter and citizen, I think I can judge Obama's presidency, in the same way I judged Reagan's, and any other President in my lifetime.

Obama has done poorly.

1. Obamacare is a wreck
2. The recovery has been awful
3. There are millions of people who have left the work force, which is awful
4. The Arab Spring was a big mistake
5. His premature pull-out of Iraq was a big mistake
6. His Executive Order re allowing Illegal immigrants to flood into the country is bad.
7. Racial relations are not great; the Ferguson effect is real -- many cops are afraid to do their jobs, for fear of being sued or stigmatized as a racist.

I could on -- you get the drift.

David said...

"Compared to what?" is always a good question to ask. Over time you can compare Obama to other presidents based on long term outcomes. But since this outcome is long term you can also credit or blame his successors and attribute the outcomes to them. If things get better in the Middle East and there is no major war or genocide, Obama may look pretty good. If the economy booms he will get credit for setting the stage (no new financial crisis on his watch,) If the terrorists set off a nuclear device at the Super Bowl, Obama should move back to Thailand and hide in the mountains.

Presidents have to be looked at in groups. Truman-Eisenhower was an effective presidency. No nuclear war for one reason. If nuclear war comes now, it would be hard to blame Truman-Eisenhower. But if it had come under Kennedy, people would be blaming Ike and Harry too.

Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon-Ford-Carter. How has that worked out? Lots of evil seeds planted.

It's a crap shoot. Overall the country is much more successful than its leaders. That's what freedom is for.

Joe said...

I do know that the thickness of my tax record envelope doubled this year due to Obamacare, which also resulted in taking magnitudes longer to file taxes and which resulted in having to submit paperwork to the IRS due to inaccurate record keeping by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Joe said...

Cash for Clunkers (Car Allowance Rebate System) was a disaster, which undeniably falls at the feet of Obama.

Joe said...

Trump is a pathological liar, unable to separate lies from truth.

Psychological projection anyone?

(And "pathological liar" doesn't mean what you think it means.)

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terry said...

From Orwell's essay "Catastrphic Gradualism":

Naturally this argument is pushed backward into history, the design being to show that every advance was achieved at the cost of atrocious crimes, and could not have been achieved otherwise. The instance generally used is the overthrow of feudalism by the bourgeoisie, which is supposed to foreshadow the overthrow of capitalism by Socialism in our own age. Capitalism, it is argued, was once a progressive force, and therefore its crimes were justified, or at least were unimportant. Thus, in a recent number of the New Statesman, Mr Kingsley Martin, reproaching Arthur Koestler for not possessing a true “historical perspective”, compared Stalin with Henry VIII. Stalin, he admitted, had done terrible things, but on balance he had served the cause of “progress”, and a few million “liquidations” must not be allowed to obscure this fact. Similarly, Henry VIIFs character left much to be desired, but after all he had made possible the rise of capitalism, and therefore on balance could be regarded as a friend of humanity.
Now, Henry VIII has not a very close resemblance to Stalin; Cromwell would provide a better analogy; but, granting Henry VIII the importance given to him by Mr Martin, where does this argument lead ? Henry VIII made possible the rise of capitalism, which led to the horrors of the Industrial Revolution and thence to a cycle of enormous wars, the next of which may well destroy civilisation altogether. So, telescoping the process, we can put it like this: “Everything is to be forgiven Henry VIII, because it was ultimately he who enabled us to blow ourselves to pieces with atomic bombs.” You are led into similar absurdities if you make Stalin responsible for our present condition and the future which appears to lie before us, and at the same time insist that his policies must be supported. The motives of those English intellectuals who support the Russian dictatorship are, I think, different from what they publicly admit, but it is logical to condone tyranny and massacre if one assumes that progress is inevitable.

OGWiseman said...

A few months ago, Adams was writing incisive, interesting things about Trump. Now he's gone over into eye-roll-inducing sophistry. So hypothetical counterfactuals are useless? The behavior of a hypothetical Republican President in some of the situations Obama faced cannot be predicted? Come on.

Robert Cook said...

Obama has been a terrible president, to be sure, following a procession of terrible presidents. However, it is a mistake to assume he has been bad due to his being a "failure." One must recognize that he has been a successful president...successful in doing what his administration set out to do: serving the interests of the wealthy elites and the military/corporate complex.

This is why he (and his predecessors) have been so terrible: they do not do more than give cursory pretense to serving we, the people, and obviously are in thrall to those whose interests are antithetical to ours.

Hillary, who will follow suit, will also be a terrible president, as will Trump, though we can't know exactly how he will be terrible. For all the scare talk about Trump, Hillary will easily be as bad, very likely worse.

Oso Negro said...

I suggest Scott Adams be nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court. The man is a prodigy and no subject can fail to yield to he keen and penetrating wit. Dogbert can do his opinions.

Birkel said...

Robert Cook:

You think serving we, the people can be accomplished by collectivism. Fair enough; you are a fool.

Please just leave me alone and I promise to do the same to my fellow man.

Oso Negro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Curious George said...

Name a success. Right, not a single one.

Roy Lofquist said...

Scott Adams is a comedic genius. It's a shame that his first comic strip was lost when a comet collided with Proxima VII.

Chuck said...

Does Scott Adams actually prefer the antiquated, Anglicized spelling of "judgement," to the standard American English "judgment"?

Or does he just not have an editor or even a proofreader?

ddh said...

Adams' evaluation of Obama is perfect for our age. No president succeeds, no president fails, but each one gets a trophy for serving.

The Savage Noble said...

Why does anyone assume that the point of that blog post (the point as is being debated here) was the actual point of the blog post...

Assume for a moment that he is using his Magical Powers of Persuasion. If he were using that point for persuasion,what could his end goal be in a 3 dimensional sense?

rcocean said...

Scott Adams is an economist by training. Well that's hilarious. Of course, there have been Nazi economists, Commie economists, small government economists, big government economists, et al.

So why not a funny economist?

rcocean said...

"Or does he just not have an editor or even a proofreader?"

Why does Chuck prefer the vulgar, dumbed down spelling over the traditional intelligent one?

Where's someone to proofread "Chuck"?

Chuck said...

Who knows what Scott Adams believes in?

He thinks Barack Obama -- who nominated Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, and a host if legal leftists to the Circuit and District Courts -- was an historically great president. And then he suggests that Donald Trump -- whose closest thing to a realistic campaign pledge so far (since he cannot 'build the wall,' or repeal Obamacare, or cut taxes or reduce the size of the federal government by himself in any event) was his short list of candidates for the Supreme Court were mostly noted conservatives -- would also be a sound choice for the presidency.

That is nonsensical. Nonsensical, that is, if policy and ideology are at all meaningful.

If Adams is so keen on Obama's performance in office, one would presume that there are substantive reasons for Adams' view. Was it the passage of Obamacare? But Obama swayed not one Republican vote. Obama relied on his virtual supermajorities in Congress, which he promptly squandered in the next election.

Is Adams happy with Obama for the conduct of foreign policy? All of which Trump believes was garbage, from our historic allies in NATO, to Japan and Korea, to the Middle East, to the TPP trade deal. Which one is right?

The time I have wasted on Scott Adams is beginning to be a personal embarrassment to me.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Republicans hate him because he wasn't the kind of drama queen that they apparently crave in a leader.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Racial relations are not great; the Ferguson effect is real -- many cops are afraid to do their jobs, for fear of being sued or stigmatized as a racist.

Bay Area Guy misses the good old days, when a cop could allow his anger to kill a citizen and not have to worry about any stigmatization whatsoever.

SGT Ted said...

/facepalm

JamesB.BKK said...

Judgement, with two "e"s. What to make of that?

Scott Adams does make a good point about all the screeching from Democrats and National Review type Republicans about the risks and just plain badness of a Trump presidency. No one can predict the outcome. In a parallel universe, it can be fairly assured that Democrats would be carrying on the same way no matter the R nominee. That's what they do, together with fomenting envy and resentment. Talking about an observable past and thoughts about that past in connection with prediction is where Scott Adams seems to have veered from his topic and argument.

No real job experience or "leadership" in government? Check - like Obama. Is economical with the truth? Check - like Obama. Might continue George Bush's policies and practices? Check - like Obama (who with H. Clinton doubled-down on the invasion and destabilization stuff while offering no democracy project or decent protection for USA "friends"). From this assessment, one could predict that Trump would carry on as Obama has, but that's a pretty high bar. How could one person with his followers create yet more present chaos and pathways for chaos abroad and domestically and more freedom-killing government intervention and interference domestically than has Obama? Obama's up there with Lincoln, Wilson, F. Roosevelt, Johnson, and Nixon for variants of creating or fomenting chaos and body counts abroad and killing freedom at home. Nixon gets most of the credit for empowering our mad central planning central bankers and fully ruining our money. So, Obama's done a pretty good job at being a destructive US President, likely to "garner" praise from state-connected lefty historians. Trump could do that as well, except for the toxic R that will cause the state-connected historians to see only harmful outcomes.

Birkel said...

"Rhythm and Balls":

You cannot ape the opinions of conservatives but we can do so with your opinions. If you were not so foolish, you would wonder why that is so.

Hagar said...

When will the MSM - or anyone in the "press" - ask the President to explain for us just how and why we went from fighting a "silent war" with Iran losing thousands of soldiers, to becoming allies of Iran, fighting side by side with their troops?

Hagar said...

The U.S. has switched sides before, but I do not think it has ever happened so quickly and smoothly and without any explanation to the people of this country.

wholelottasplainin' said...

What if the question were: Is Scott Adams a great cartoonist, or not?

Suppose a polled majority answered, "not".

You can bet Adams would point to his wealth and awards as extrinsic evidence he was INDEED a "great" cartoonist.

He wouldn't need no stinkin' parallel universe to point to.

walter said...

I used to get mad at my school (No I can't complain)
The teachers who taught me weren't cool (No I can't complain)
You're holding me down (Oh), turning me round (Oh)
Filling me up with your rules (Foolish rules)

I've got to admit it's getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can't get more worse)
I have to admit it's getting better (Better)
It's getting better since you've been mine

Me used to be angry young man
Me hiding me head in the sand
You gave me the word, I finally heard
I'm doing the best that I can

I've got to admit it's getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can't get more worse)

ellamentary said...

Chuck wrote, "The time I have wasted on Scott Adams is beginning to be a personal embarrassment to me." I share that sentiment. I have lost the respect I once had for the man. If only someone could persuade Althouse to stop hanging on, and passing along, his every blog post, acting as if it contained some deep mystical wisdom that eludes the rest of us. These Adams posts are becoming increasingly ridiculous, rather like the candidate for whom Adams seems hell-bent on being the chief apologist.

A beloved professor of mine during my grad school days, when confronted with particularly incoherent writing in a student paper, would often write in the margin, "much too clever to be understood." That pretty much sums up Donald Trump and his "master explainer, " Scott Adams. I still hold out hope for Dr. Althouse.

Bay Area Guy said...

@R&B

Bay Area Guy misses the good old days, when a cop could allow his anger to kill a citizen and not have to worry about any stigmatization whatsoever.

It's a bit warped, but there is a kernel of truth buried therein. I had 2 Uncles who were NYCity cops, one in The Bronx, one in Times Square in the pre-Guiliani 70s. Both were Vietnam vets too, infantry.

Both smoked a lot and drank too much. They were hard men. And, Yes, they had tempers and said a lot of politically incorrect harsh things. They saw a lot of shit in their 20 year careers.

There's no easy answer for those who serve on the front lines, while the rest of us get to live in relative ease and comfort.

Fen said...

"writes Scott Adams"

That's really stupid logic. By his standard, nothing can be judged.

tim maguire said...

As many people have pointed out in different ways--Scott Adams is misapplying an old philosophical idea. That philosophical idea is that you can never know if an action you took was right or wrong because you can never know what would have happened if you had acted otherwise. (BTW: judging Obama a good or bad president is a separate question from whether it was right to vote for him--a distinction Althouse has squeezed a lot of mileage out of over the last 7 years.)

Adams is using this idea to say you can never make an informed decision, that all decisions you make are hopelessly ignorant. But like Zeno's philosophical proof that movement in time is impossible, it is purely a thought game. However true you may believe it to be, you cannot live your life as though it were true and it's absurd of him to try to argue otherwise.

JamesB.BKK said...

Police stand between bad guys and offended citizens. The bad guys need them to be rough.

Robert Cook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Cook said...

Curious George challenges: "Name a success."

I provide an answer from the always excellent Chris Floyd (http://www.chris-floyd.com/):


"...if Obama wasn't black, he would be a conservative's dream. He's opened up more offshore drilling than Bush, expanded fracking, deported more people than any president in history, killed thousands of Muslims (and is currently bombing seven Muslim countries), raised military budgets, cut federal taxes to their lowest levels in 60 years, cut social programs, spent almost 8 years trying to strike a 'grand bargain' with Republicans to cut Social Security and Medicare (until this week when, in his last months in office, he's suddenly decided we should increase Social Security), worked hard to derail public healthcare in favor of a program drawn up by a conservative think-tank and first used by a Republican governor, put troops on the Russian border, beefed up US military presence in Asia to threaten China, supported right-wing coups in Latin America, gave Wall Street trillions of dollars in bailouts and credits, refused to prosecute any CIA officials for torture (despite admitting 'we tortured some folks'), jailed more whistleblowers than any other president, pushed fanatically pro-business trade treaties, and so on.

"Yet there is a mass delusion (carefully and methodically stoked by powerful interests) that he is some kind of socialist peacenik 'surrendering to terrorists' and giving away 'free stuff' to the lazy poor (when in fact the poor and the middle class are sinking, while the rich have never been richer), etc."

Krumhorn said...

Dear Leader has been a terrible, devisive and destructive president....a miserable cock-sucker son of a bitch president. Nonetheless, he has been a remarkably effective president, perhaps the most effective president in my lifetime. And I go back to Truman.

He was effective because he has intended every harm he has caused our nation. From Day One, it was his purpose. By saying that, I don't mean to say that in every instance he set out to actually cause harm. But that was the result. For example, Obamacare. Regulatory madness through the NLRB, FCC, EPA. Dodd-Frank

In other instances, he actually intended the harm. For example, the Iran deal. Ferguson. Political acrimony. Iraq. Military reduction in strength.

I'm pretty sure I can safely predict that a President Trump will cause considerably less harm to the US. Even if he will likely not be as effective as Our Savior, he will make things significantly better.

-Krumhorn



JamesB.BKK said...

Lots in the "Chris Floyd" big quote. Does a "cut" = reduction in planned rate of growth? Bullshitty claim in each case if so. Does he got cites? I can prove the tax reduction claim false personally but why fiddle with a guy that might measure the tax take in the aggregate against the federal superstate's GDP numbrs?. Also, the opener should be, "If Obama wasn't half black ..." if that premise about his skin color was even valid. It might be the white part that's off-putting. Is that racist?

James Pawlak said...

Barrack Hussein Obama aided those waging war against the USA. That is Treason.

Robert Cook said...

"Barrack Hussein Obama aided those waging war against the USA. That is Treason."

If it is, the heads of the Big Banks and the Fortune 500 have some serious prison time facing them.

Robert Cook said...

"I can prove the tax reduction claim false personally...."

Perhaps you're not a member of the cohort most helped by Obama's tax policies, i.e., the truly wealthy.

JamesB.BKK said...

Next time mom comes to the prison, I'll be sure to tell her that she's dumb to think I could have done a better job. And that she doesn't know how to think. And that because Obama's killed a lot of foreign moslems for apparently no good reason, as Robert Cook approvingly quotes some guy, more people would like Obama if he was all white. Right thinking people in the US are sure their fellow citizens should like the terrible stuff Robert Cook's guy described if only they weren't so racist. They are too racist to hold in esteem a president that does harmful things. And they are caught up in mass delusion by scary sounding "powerful interests," even though they have access to unfiltered information like never before.

Robert Cook: Nonresponsive.

JamesB.BKK said...

@Michael K: Yet your average American History before 1877 course would not mention the Panic of 1857, other than to hassle Buchanan and claim a need for government intervention. That event came and went quickly with orderly bad debt destruction and asset transfers from weak to stronger hands and fast growth to follow. It was just some housecleaning. It's only after, when the federal government took to intervention and interference in normal credit cycles and clearing prcesses that we've seen crack up booms and deep prolonged busts with zombie companies run by failed managers and crazy federal price manipulation interventions by people and agencies with records of serial failure, some of the latter being apparently permanent, and permanent, federal-reserve-funded, war. The central planners and intervenors know it's going to get worse too. What a joke it is to refer to stealing depositors' money as a "bail-in." The joke's on us though.