SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
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
Number of African countries with vaccination rates higher than that of the United States:
Iowa urologists reported that only a minor portion of locker-room teasing arises from “the presence of excess foreskin”; most teasing targets small penises.
A farmer in Surrey, England, was ordered by the Reigate and Banstead Borough Council to tear down his cannon-equipped castle, which he had built secretly and then concealed behind hay bales.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”