Thursday, August 9, 2012

Paul Rahe is a Terrified Old Man

Poor Paul Rahe. He's terrified of the future and he doesn't have any idea how to process the information that he's being given.

In the case of Nate Silver, in particular, the act of equating his work with the CIA during the Cold War, and how they missed the collapse of the Soviet Union, is laughable. Silver does not prognosticate with anything other than sheer raw data to back him up. He doesn't "wing" it and throw wild predictions around. He has been elevated to the position he's in solely because his methodology is extremely sound and is based on statistical models which produce excellent results. Silver works those models, and acknowledges his mistakes as well as his achievements with the data; he deals with things that exist in the real world, in other words, and Rahe cannot fathom anything like this.

Rahe is looking at Mitt Romney's prospects and he's using inductive, not deductive, reasoning to argue that Romney is going to win in a landslide.

Which polls does he see? Who's data is he using? Which model shows Romney winning the Electoral College by a wide margin? Everyone else is using data that is many times more sophisticated and accurate than the famous "Dewey Beats Truman" data of yesteryear. That data breaks down the states by polls that are rigorously compared with other polls; the accuracy of a pollster's previous work is also factored in. This is some serious math we're talking about.

But math doesn't tell the whole story; trends and demographics do. The information used by the people Rahe dismisses is pretty damned good. If the polls were going the other way, would Rahe disagree with them as well?

Here's what he actually thinks is going to give Romney a landslide:
Romney can go on to speak of Obamacare. He can point to the corruption that Barack Obama brought from Chicago to Washington. He need only mention Solyndra and sound the theme of crony capitalism. Romney can also point to the President’s systematic misuse of the executive power – to defraud the salaried employees of Delphi and the bondholders of General Motors and Chrysler, to gut the welfare reform passed by New Gingrich and adopted by Bill Clinton, to let school systems out of No Child Left Behind, to sick the IRS on political enemies, to force people into unions, to encourage voter fraud, to deprive Catholics and other Christians of the free exercise of their religion. The list is long.
I'm not aware of anyone who even remotely believes that Romneycare, I mean, Obamacare is a loser; far from it--Romney cannot bring it up and, when one of his spokespeople does, all hell breaks loose.

Solyndra, Delphi, and welfare reform are not on the lips of voters. Crony capitalism is, and the word is Bain. People are vaguely aware that the auto company bailout worked and saved millions of jobs. People probably don't remember how the Bush Administration sent the U.S. Attorneys after voter fraud (another issue no one cares about because it doesn't exist) and the political enemies of George W. Bush; I don't think they see the Obama Administration in any such light. People are also vaguely aware that the Catholic Church has a tendency to change the subject so that people stop talking about all those kids who were raped. Newt and Gingrich are words so poisonous that the man is literally and figuratively bankrupt because people in his own party rejected his candidacy. And Bill Clinton is pretty popular right now.

In short, Paul Rahe has no idea what he's talking about because things like fact don't matter to him. Winning does. And his guy is the worst presidential candidate since whenever.

When you're old, that's gotta hurt. That's gotta hurt like a son of a bitch. But, the facts remain. Which poll shows a Romney landslide? So far, the data simply isn't there.

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