The Corner

Cocks o’ the Walk

Thinking about the 2016 race, I had a memory of ’08. But first, a word about ’16.

I hear frequently that Ted can’t win. (My disclosure.) His view, and his camp’s, is that they will turn out voters who were previously disenchanted.

The truth is, it will happen or it won’t happen, if Ted’s the nominee. Everything until then is blah-blah.

The more experience I have as a political journalist, the less sure I am, about how things will go. This year, 2016, is an especially bizarre cycle. Topsy-turvy. Yet people seem to be as cocksure as ever.

Early in the ’08 cycle, I moderated a panel that included a very prominent political strategist and pundit. I wanted him to go through the Democratic candidates, one by one, giving their strengths and weaknesses. Doing a little handicapping.

He refused, and he refused with contempt. He said that Hillary Clinton was going to be the nominee, and that was that. Anyone who thought otherwise didn’t know the extent to which the Clintons had all the Democratic money in the country tied up.

I, in effect, was a moron for even asking about the other candidates. Case dismissed.

Of course, Hillary did not win the nomination. Some time later, I saw the pundit and gently — very gently — asked about the Clintons and the Democratic money. “It was new money,” he said. Money we had never seen before. Money that went to Obama. It was a great surprise. Who could have known?

Okay. And if Ted wins, the pundits will have their excuses, and they will go on as always: blithely and cocksurely pronouncing on politics.

I think of an expression: “Often wrong, never in doubt.”

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