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In an item yesterday, Eric Alterman rated me as “America’s worst pundit” due to a line I wrote in the fall of 2006 which said that Barack Obama was already “considered a potential vice-presidential nominee” for 2008. Alterman’s right–I plead guilty to not expecting Obama’s presidential run, although I would point out that at the time no one else was predicting it either. I was even more humbled when I went back to see how a real pundit does his job.
Take, for example, this video from September 26, 2006 (a week after my Obama story had shipped to the printer) in which “Eric predicts the early Dem primaries.” His call: John Edwards would win in Iowa and South Carolina (and quite possibly Nevada as well), and emerge as the only challenger to Hillary Clinton. As for Obama, Alterman said it was possible he would run for president but that the “real hope” was Al Gore–-with Obama as his vice-president.
In another video, on May 31, 2007, Alterman called the G.O.P. race as well. Fred Thompson, said Eric, had “already won the nomination.” He called him “a terrific candidate,” adding, “I would bet a lot of money on Fred Thompson.”
In the same video, Alterman said that “I kind of love Obama,” but it would be an incredible risk for the Democrats to nominate him because the country just wasn’t ready for a Black president. People might not admit it, he said, but many just wouldn’t vote for “the Black guy.”
In a blog posting a day earlier, Alterman also predicted that Thompson would win the G.O.P. nomination “as he, alone, appeals to every faction of the party.” (Maybe he meant to say a “fraction” of the party?) Thompson would likely be facing off against Clinton, rated by Alterman as “the favorite for the Democratic nomination.”
So who’s going to win in November, Fred Thompson or Hillary Clinton? There’s no way of knowing, at least until Alterman’s next post.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Discussed in this essay:
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert. Henry Holt. 352 pages. $28.
The extinction symbol is a spare graphic that began to appear on London walls and sidewalks a couple of years ago. It has since become popular enough as an emblem of protest that people display it at environmental rallies. Others tattoo it on their arms. The symbol consists of two triangles inscribed within a circle, like so:
“The triangles represent an hourglass; the circle represents Earth; the symbol as a whole represents, according to a popular Twitter feed devoted to its dissemination (@extinctsymbol, 19.2K followers), “the rapidly accelerating collapse of global biodiversity” — what scientists refer to alternately as the Holocene extinction, the Anthropocene extinction, and (with somewhat more circumspection) the sixth mass extinction.
Ratio of husbands who say they fell in love with their spouse at first sight to wives who say this:
Mathematicians announced the discovery of the perfect method of cutting a cake.
Indian prime-ministerial contender Narendra Modi, who advertises his bachelorhood as a mark of his incorruptibility, confessed to having a wife.
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Science’s crisis of faith