Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The World's Most Useless Equation?

I'd like to extend my congratulations to Slate's John Dickerson, who has finally outdone himself this time. Already known for his penchant to write, in Yoggoth's words, "political-writing because-I'm-paid-to stuff," Dickerson has established a mathematical formula designed to demonstrate exactly where McCain and Obama stand on Iraq. Are you ready? Are you seriously ready? Here we go:

Current troops
in Iraq
- troops withdrawn per mo. * no. of months = Residual Force
Obama: 140,000 - (2,500-5,000)X * 16 = Y(x)
McCain: 140,000 - X * 16 = Y(x)
Ladies and gentlemen, there you have it, all the vagaries of political analysis have finally been squelched once and for all. No need for verbose pseudo-commentary. Just plug in the numbers and presto! It's possible that this is a joke, but I can't be sure.

In a slightly less groundbreaking piece, Dickerson ponders what McCain's best options might be concerning the inevitable George W. Bush appearance at the Republican National Convention:

When I asked GOP veterans whether there was any way to minimize the damage for McCain, their first reaction was to laugh. Since the convention starts on a Monday, one member of the McCain campaign joked that Bush could speak on Sunday night. Another veteran Republican suggested putting up an onstage dunking booth for the president. McCain could break tradition by arriving at the convention early in the week so he can take a few throws at the target.

Sounds like a good idea to me. Honestly, what can he do? Dickerson astutely notes that McCain "has no historical precedent to follow. Richard Nixon didn't speak at Ford's 1976 convention. The benefits of resignation." Ah, Nixon. At least the man knew how to make an exit, yes?


yoggoth said...

So his insight is that all the troops that are removed from Iraq won't be in Iraq anymore.

Most of Slate's columnists at least offer baseless speculation. Dickerson describes what everyone else can see. Imagine a man standing next to you waiting for the bus. He describes, in detail, the graffiti scrawled on the plastic bus stop advertisements. Then he reads the ads out loud while reminiscing about past bus stop ads. This is John Dickerson.

yoggoth said...

Actually, let me elaborate. A man stands next to that other man cracking jokes about the graffiti 5 minutes after the other man has preceded to another topic. He laughs incessantly at his own jokes and elbows you in the side. This man is Micky Kaus.

Little Earl said...

Another man pays careful attention to what the other two men have been saying. He focuses on a relatively insignificant aspect of the conversation. He saunters over to the other two men and berates them for being unwittingly immoral and hypocritical. This man is Christopher Hitchens.