On National Review Online yesterday, Jonah Goldberg argues that liberals’ weakness for “expert” opinion gives them a fetish for predictions. This is just as true of left-leaning media outlets. Today, Kevin Drum of Mother Jones proclaims that, based on historian Allan Lichtman’s model of “thirteen keys to the presidency,”Obama is a “shoo-in.” The model rests on the theory that a candidate with more than half of the thirteen keys will always win (as has been true since 1984). Obama currently holds nine.
Lichtman’s coding is debatable, as Drum admits: the victory counts Obama as possessing keys for “major policy changes” (the stimulus and health care reform – both stupendously unpopular), “no social unrest” (one could argue the Tea Party represents major social unrest), “major foreign policy success” (based on the fleeting and relatively meaningless killing of Bin Laden), and “no charismatic opponent” (which remains to be seen).
But do these flaws cause Drum to reject Lichtman’s model? No, he states: “Still, Lichtman is the expert … [s]o there you go.”