We are fully ready for whatever nature has in store here at Cogitamus World Headquarters. So far nothing much to write about -- a little rain and a little wind. I guess it will hit in earnest by tomorrow and we will see what is in store.
- I was amused to see Paul Krugman come to the defense of Nate Silver today. Krugman's ostensible target was a piece in National Review. But we all know who he was aiming at. Yes, Our Mr. Brooks weighed in with yet another patented piece of bullshit attacking Silver -- although not by name -- that's how they do it at the Grey Lady -- and suggesting that his methodology is suspect. John Cassidy of the New Yorker weighs in on the side of Brooks in this tag team match. Cassidy's argument strikes me as weak sauce as well, but I guess we will see as of November 6th. Indeed, Cassidy makes preposterous claims about the current state of the election -- "now that Romney is surging, and has been surging for several weeks, how likely is he to go on and win" -- and suggests that the "FiveThirtyEight model, lacking useful precedents" -- for the imagined weeks long Romney surge -- "or any theory of what determines how people vote, can’t really help us answer that question." This is a misstatement of fact, a misunderstanding of Silver's model and its aims, and an attempt at mystification regarding elections that is really beneath a writer of Cassidy's talents.
It is fascinating to see the degree to which Silver gets under the skin of both right wingers and establishment media types or, in the case of Brooks, those who fall into both categories. It seems strange to me that someone who takes a purely mathematical approach to election analysis -- and who puts himself on the line with his predictions is the object of such vilification. Yes, Silver isn't telling the right wingers what they want to hear about the election -- but neither is the Princeton Election Consortium, electoral-vote.com, the Election Dashboard at Huffington Post, and even Real Clear Politics (which is pretty clearly a conservative site). But with his high profile post at the Times, his youth, his obvious brain power, and his commitment to his empirical approach -- and most of all his devoted liberal following --Silver is a special target for the right.
And, for mainstream journalists like Brooks and Cassidy. In that respect he is like others who have risen through the ranks of the blogosphere on the strength of their talent and vision -- Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias, Josh Marshall -- without paying their dues in the way that journalists are supposed to. Trust me, I know enough mainstream journalists and the venom they feel toward the "kids" in the blogosphere is very real. Their move to mainstream journalistic organs a la Silver and Klein does nothing to mitigate the resentment and may even exacerbate it. People like Brooks are "bullshitters" as the President might say -- and folks like Silver expose them. And that is his unforgivable sin.
Hopefully we will keep the power on here during the storm.
How goes it with you?