January 10, 2008

Now, why should we read all the articles about why everyone was wrong about New Hampshire?

The reason there's this subject at all is because they were wrong before, so why should I care what they say now. This punditry is an absurd racket. First, they get to make mistakes — scribble, scribble, scribble, making mistakes. And then, that's their raw material for a whole new set of articles. They can look at anything that has already happened and purport to say why it happened. And who's to say they're wrong, since it happened and they've come up with reasons? But when it hasn't happened yet, and they exercise their facility to come up with reasons for things, it's embarrassing when the thing doesn't happen. Unchastened, they keep writing. They have to. They're pundits. But must I read it? The sheer dimension of the New Hampshire mistake has led to a flood of post-mistake writing, and I don't think I'm the only one looking at it from a distance and thinking I'd be a chump to read this. But then, I also think: I'm a pundit too. Shouldn't I get to work contributing to this flood? Don't I have some explaining to do? And you know whenever something needs explaining, I can come up with an explanation. Seriously, tell me something that didn't happen, and I think I could manufacture a reason why it would happen, if it did. Or do you have something better to do?


Middle Class Guy said...

They learned from politicians and other public people. Say, do, or write wrong, offensive, or stupid things, ignore the backlash, justify what you did, apoologize, move on.

People have short memories, especially with the information overload. Yesterdays news in five minutes ago. It all just goes away.

Oh, and the media is never wrong, they just come up with excuses so they are always right.

Verso said...

The reason there's this subject at all is because they were wrong before, so why should I care what they say now.


Now they can apply their "expert analysis" to explain why they were so inexpert before the NH primary. Apparently they went to bed stupid Tuesday night and woke up with all the answers Wednesday morning.


Still, it's human nature to examine problems and phenomena, trying to understand explain them. It's who we are, as humans, and it's what we do. We can't help ourselves. Nor should we. There's a lot of trial and error, a lot of mistakes, but by and by, this is how we slowly figure out and explain the nature of the universe. This is the process that discovered the secrets of flight and will someday find the cure for cancer.

A lot of failure goes into making a little success.

My personal favorite theory is "a certain percentage of Democratic voters in the last days of polling presumed Biden (especially) and (to a lesser degree) Dodd hadn't dropped out. By and large, come election day, those Biden and Dodd supporters ended up casting ballots for Hillary."

AllenS said...

Sometimes a guess is just a guess.

George said...

Dear Pundit:

I am so confused. Our politicians are so, so [snif] irrationa....

The Democrats are taking away my incandescent light bulbs and replacing them with evil anti-green mercury bulbs which will befoul the Earth.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are handing out $1 billion in vouchers for digital TV converters:

"Think of the people who are not currently receiving cable -- by definition they are isolated already," [do-gooder] Pellettier said. "They don't have the funds to purchase cable. These could very well be particularly vulnerable individuals -- we want them to remain connected to their communities."

Won't the increased TV viewing cancel out any light bulb energy savings?

Is there a candidate who opposes both the new lightbulbs and the TV giveaways?

I need your answer in five minutes.

Badly Baffled in Biloxi

Pogo said...

The Oracle was consulted and she provided a glimpse of the future. But fate gave its own answer, one that met, approximated, partly resembled, or defied expectations.

Still the Oracle defends her choice.
You did not understand, she whispers, the answer was in my prophecy, but you failed to heed it fully. Come here, and listen again.

MadisonMan said...

Or do you have something better to do?

Yes. Why waste time reading someone who was wrong Tuesday? Is there any evidence that they'll be right Thursday? No.

Roger said...

Do I have something better to do? of course I do, but being a political junkie I need my fix.

AllenS said...

The pollsters could demand a hand count of the votes cast on the evil Diebold machines. You know, just to be sure.

Middle Class Guy said...

Reading the pundits and pollsters is as intelligent as reading the racing form to look for a winner.

The best prediction on a daily basis is the weaterman. He can never be wrong.

Fair to partly cloudy
Chance of rain/snow
Cold with a chance of warm up
Warm but chilly later

Verso said...

the evil Diebold machines

Do you seriously not care about the problem of easily hacked electronic voting machines?

Original Mike said...

Unchastened, they keep writing. They have to.

They're like long range weather forecasters (apologies to MM).

SteveR said...

In the past these kind of mistakes and the examination of mistakes took place in an echo chamber. As the media has evolved, blogs, et al have been looking at every step and as you have done here, exposed the racket (aka punditry).

Over time we'll rely less and less on those outlets whose interests are more self serving than informative. I know I have and I, of course, speak for millions.

AllenS said...


Do you seriously care? Does New Hampshire care?

Verso said...

I'm not saying the machines in New Hampshire were hacked. But I am concerned about easily hacked voting machines that could be made much more secure than they are today. I used to think this was just the nutty obsession of various Troofer types, but then I saw the video available on this page:

Princeton University, Department of Engineering and Applied Science

Security Demonstration

I do realize, however, that it is completely irrational to think anyone would ever tamper with an election. The very idea is unthinkable.

Jay Paul said...

During this election cycle, I am learning the real power of the web to allow the dissemination of the opinions of regular voters, instead of having to listen to the hacks in the mainstream media. Young people especially have learned they can influence in American politics by becoming involved in campaigns and spreading the word with blogs and social networks like My Space.

While this is not new (at least the spreading of information or even the internet) the willingness of generation “Y” to dive in and let their opinion be known is new. Before I have heard older teens and twenty somethings lament they didn’t believe they can have much of an influence on current world events. I don’t know what changed, but I’m glad it did.

We are now learning the issues that are important to voters are changing and the presidential candidates are scrambling to catch up. One important shift has been the economy. It has replaced the war in Iraq as a hot button issue. According to the site; http://www.tailrank.com/ the top issues listed in the New Hampshire exit polls are as follows;
New Hampshire Democratic primary voters:
The economy 2. The war in Iraq 3. Health care
New Hampshire Republican primary voters:
The economy 2. The war in Iraq 3. Terrorism 4. Illegal immigration

Once again the economy tops the concerns of the current voters while the Iraq War falls to second. I think one of the reasons is that people are being affected more by the economy while the situation in Iraq is getting better as a result of the surge. It’s no coincidence that John McCain has benefited from this shift.

People are demanding accountability from their candidates as well as their sitting representatives. I say it’s about time and welcome to the National debate, lets hope we make a good choice in November. By the way I said back in June of 2007 we weren’t going to elect a qualified candidate and the election would again be the victim of apathy. Well I hope I am proved wrong and just so you know; I’m just as lousy at predicting the future as the experts.

Jay Paul “The Seventeen” http://theangeryindependent.blogspot.com/

Verso said...

Here's another video, showing another extremely simple way to hack an electronic voting machine:

How to Hack a Diebold Voting Machine

Let me be the first to stipulate, however, that no one would ever actually steal votes. I'm frankly amazed that anyone would even consider the possibility.

Ron said...

If you keep pouring those 13 oz. martinis, you may bloviate at will!

Three olives!

Eddie Thomas said...

I think Verso is right that there is a serious concern in the midst of all the useless theorizing. We use exit polling in other countries to verify the results of their elections. If we can't accurately verify our own elections, then there are real problems, both here and abroad.

PatCA said...

This event has unleashed a torrent of pent up writerly excess. The Iraq War just wasn't any fun any more.

madawaskan said...

Well I love the way democrats pick and choose which polls to 'believe" -hell same with fickle republicans.

There were border nuts going-"Look-Bush's numbers are down 3%-it's because he loves Mexicans."

You know that idiot was Captain Quarter's - forget discussing margin of error.

While were at it-ghee maybe people aren't anti-war.

Supposedly in New Hampshire the undecideds ran from Obama by passing their chance to make history and found the most pro-war candidate campaigning in New Hampshire-they voted for John McCain.

But what have they done with these polls to the war effort?

Hell they called Ohio, Florida and dallied with Michigan during 2000 playing with the very legitimacy of the government and crowning that frenzy by challenging military absentee votes-so desperate to win at the expense of the long term costs they were.


But they have a very real effect don't they?

Funny how this is the most upset they've ever been by the negative "observer" effect.

Revenant said...

There were border nuts going-"Look-Bush's numbers are down 3%-it's because he loves Mexicans."

Bush's job approval and favorability ratings dropped by more than 10% during the immigration "reform" debacle, and polls routinely showed that the public rated Bush's handling of immigration as even worse than his handling of the Iraq war.

So no, it wasn't some statistical blip that could be explained away as falling within the margin of error.

Supposedly in New Hampshire the undecideds ran from Obama by passing their chance to make history and found the most pro-war candidate campaigning in New Hampshire-they voted for John McCain.

Hillary, who is anti-war, got 112,000 votes. Obama got 104,000. McCain got 88,000. Overall anti-war candidates got more votes than pro-war ones.