Thursday, May 2, 2013

It's too late for me to think of a sufficiently sarcastic title

I've always had a problem with Ken Rudin. I assume that, at some point he must have done some good work to get where he is, but I'm a regular NPR listener and I used to be a regular listener of Talk of the Nation and what I've heard has been consistently weak. More to the point, his weaknesses are completely consistent with the conventional Washington political world view.

The DC press corps has shown an extraordinary level of group-think and a truly stunning lack of self-awareness. Members have to constantly tune out contradictory facts and disturbing questions. Which takes us to last night's broadcast:
DONVAN: You have been noodling on the prospects of Hillary Clinton 2016.


RUDIN: Well, other people have, as well, and, of course, there's a new poll - and God forbid we could talk about politics without talking about 2016, because it's only, you know, a million years away from now. But WMUR and University of New Hampshire has a new poll out that shows that Hillary Clinton, if the New Hampshire poll - if the New Hampshire primary were held today and, of course, if it were, then we'd be talking about something else, but Hillary Clinton would have 61 percent, and Joe Biden will only have 7 percent among the Democrats.

And on the Republican side, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul would be tied at 15 percent each. I mean, of course, these are nonsensical numbers, but the point is, as of now, May 2013, Hillary Clinton remains - again, I know this is ridiculous to say - but a prohibitive favorite for...

DONVAN: Yeah. But when you say it's ridiculous to say, why are those - why discuss those numbers at all right now? What relevance actually do they have?

RUDIN: Well, none. I guess, you know...

DONVAN: Oh, too bad.

RUDIN: No. I mean, it really has none. Look, the day of the New Hampshire primary in 2008, a lot of people predicted Barack Obama - who had won the Iowa caucuses - who was going to win the New Hampshire, and Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire. So if on the day of the primary we can't - you know, the polling doesn't show it to be accurate. The fact that we're talking about it two-and-a-half years later is just mind-boggling to me - three-and-a-half years later, two-and-a-half years later. It's mind-boggling. But what it does say is that, at least as of now, the Republican race is wide, wide open. And, of course, you know, it's very rare for a vice president to be denied the nomination if he or she would want it. And, of course, Joe Biden has a tough battle if Hillary Clinton runs.
If there was ever a moment that called for an epiphany, this is it. The man is asked straight out "why are you talking about this?" He admits that he doesn't know, that there's no reason for us to listen to him. Does he then take the next logical step and admit that he should spend less time talking about meaningless numbers? No. There is not a flicker of awareness. He just blithely goes back to drawing conclusions from the numbers he has just called nonsensical.

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