The prediction business is a tough racket. I’d love to say that I hate to say “I told you so,” but, as much as I hate to say it, I love to say “I told you so.”
One March 23, our old friend Jamelle Bouie of Slate made what he called a “definitive prediction,” that there was simply no way in Hell that Senator Ted Cruz of Texas would ever be president of these United States. It was published under the deck: “Let’s not even pretend that the Texas senator has a chance of becoming president.”
I responded under the headline, “Of course Ted Cruz could win.” I didn’t think—and don’t think—that it’s necessarily the most likely outcome, but it is one possible outcome. I noted that all the best people a generation ago (including many conservatives) were writing columns about how Ronald Reagan couldn’t possibly win, that his presidential campaign was “preposterous,” etc. Bouie, whose main occupation is the detection of covert racism (see if you can spot the secret racist fraction!) got his dress over his head—“Kevin Williamson sneers at this (and similar) arguments” etc.—and argued that the guy from National Review simply didn’t have the keen insight into the Right’s internal dynamics that the covert-racism detector at Slate does. The Reagan example, Bouie insisted, was inappropriate: If you are looking for a Reagan in this cycle, he wrote, then you should be looking at Scott Walker.
(Remember Scott Walker?)
This morning, Bouie writes: “Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the accomplished, theatrical avatar of grassroots conservatives, has a real shot at winning the presidency of the United States.”
I’m not sure what has changed; in March, Bouie insisted that Senator Cruz is “bombastic”; today, Senator Cruz is, in Bouie’s estimate, “almost bombastic.”
Some time ago, I argued that pundits should be obliged to make significant wagers on the predictions they make. Fortunately for Jamelle Bouie, that requirement has not come to pass.