Sunday, March 9, 2008

Why is the Conventional Wisdom Wrong?

Mark Leibovich provides us with a "Scorecard on Conventional Wisdom" over at the NY Times. He concludes that it is often wrong. If the conventional wisdom is now that the conventional wisdom is often wrong, do we need articles about it? The people that report on stuff like this, Wolf Blitzer and Joe Klein for example, are mostly dumb. On top of that, they have no particular expertise in the field. It's only common sense that their opinions will not be first rate.

Leibovich provides a list of assumptions that have been proven wrong. Let's go through these bits of anti-conventional wisdom conventional wisdom.

1. "Bill Clinton will be a great asset to Hillary." - Without Bill, Hillary would not have a chance. Hell, without Bill, Hillary would not even be in the Senate. 50% of the Hillary supporters I talk to hope that she will be elected on the theory that Bill will be the one making the tough decisions. Seems like a dubious and sexist rationale to me, but what can you do?

2. "Money is everything." - Money is everything. Do CNN, Fox, Time-Warner, or NY Times reporters provide coverage out of a sense of civic pride?

3. "Barack Obama has a glass jaw." - This one never made sense. It goes along with the Obama's-never-been-tested meme. Was he going to start crying because everyone was mean to him? Isn't that what Hillary did? Is this really just another way of saying that you're surprised so many people are voting for a black guy?

4. "Hillary Clinton has no sense of humor." - Hillary Clinton may have the greatest sense of humor in the world. However, there's no way to know because she's stiff and awkward while speaking in public.

5. "The presidential race goes on too long." - This is driven by the press. The press is driven by the ease of reporting vacuous political gossip. People don't like presidential races because they are 90% vacuous political gossip. I could fit all the substantive information I've learned about the candidates from mainstream political writing on one double-spaced, 12-point, Times New Roman page.

In conclusion Mr. Leibovich, the conventional wisdom is wrong all the time because all of you are just guessing.


Little Earl said...

I've got it! I've finally got it! It's the "election-predicting formula":

4(x+y)/2(y)-x/y = winner of the presidential election

x is the number of articles written by political commentators who blow nonsense out their ass

y is the number of times Little Earl is bored enough to read them

yoggoth said...

As the number of articles written surely exceeds the number of times you have been bored enough to read one, and given our American preference for integers over limp-wristed fractions, we can safely say that the number 2 will be president this time next year.

herr zrbo said...

I'm personally going to vote for Number 2, I just hope it doesn't pick Number 7 as its running mate, that guy's got some shady dealings.

ninquelote said...

I hate to be the math guy in the room, but if x is the number of pointless political articles, which we all know is pretty approaching infinity, then the equation becomes infinity-infinity, which for these purposes gives us zero. So the President of the United States of America is continually going to be a big zero.

That makes things so much easier.