Thursday, September 17, 2015
Smart and Smarter
I linked to this Ezra Klein post just for the quote of Carly Fiorina being a fool, but actually reading it I am amazed by something which shouldn't be amazing. The post says two things -- that Fiorina won the debate in the sense that her chances of becoming President increased and that much of what she said was false or nonsensical. I was unsurprised then surprised that I was unsurprised. Of course I knew that Klein can keep both concepts in his mind at the same time -- that claims can be both false and politically useful. But I realize that it is amazing for a prominent commentator to admit this. I can't think of the last time I read both claims in the same mass circulation essay. I think one of the rules is to not insult the public -- it isn't OK to say that no one should be convinced but that most people will be convinced. I think another is that even relatively honest pundits aim to become aids to politicians, and they can't if they say the politician is a liar or a loser. But I don't understand -- obviously no one with Klein's general orientation is going to be hired by a Republican. Why don't pundits ever contrast the honesty and effectiveness of arguments by politicians with whom they disagree so strongly that they can't be angling for a job ?