Friday, December 27, 2013

Andrew Sullivan's Terrible Awards

I've actually never taken the time to look into Andrew Sullivan's annual "Daily Dish" awards before. They mainly focus on, much like Sullivan's writing, political punditry. So he has one like the "Malkin Award" for unhinged conservative kookery.

That sounds like good fun and games.

But then some of his nominee's this year are just terrible. He's giving out a "Dick Morris Award" for worst prediction, but awarded it to one made by Paul Krugman from 1998! It was:
The growth of the Internet will slow drastically [as it] becomes apparent [that] most people have nothing to say to each other…. By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s...
So yeah that's obviously wrong, but why are you awarding the 2013 Awards to something from a decade and a half ago? If you are going to use historically wrong predictions, why not nominate Field Marshall Montgomery's claim in the fall of 1944 that the war would be over by Christmas? Why not nominate the claims by Confederates that one southern solider was worth 10 Yankees? What on earth does this have to do with 2013?

And if we are going to use past predictions why aren't Sullivan's predictions about the Iraqi nuclear program and how great the Iraq War was going to be (or any other warhawk's predictions) put up every year too?

Then it gets worse. He nominated Kevin Drum's prediction that:
“Traffic on the Obamacare sites will settle down pretty quickly, and that will take care of most of the overloading problems. The remaining load problems will be solved with software fixes or by allocating more servers. Bugs will be reported and categorized. Software teams will take on the most serious ones first and fix most of them in short order. Before long, the sites will all be working pretty well, with only the usual background rumble of small problems. By this time next month, no one will even remember that the first week was kind of rocky or that anyone was initially panicked. … I’ll say this: If there are still lots of serious problems with these websites on November 1, I’ll eat crow. But I doubt that I’ll have to,”
But isn't that where we basically are today? And where we've been since late November? Oh okay, everything wasn't fixed with the Obamacare website by November 1, but most people agree it was working pretty well by mid-November. Is Sullivan really saying that Drum missing when the website would be workable by two weeks is some massive failure? And hell, this is pretty qualified prediction ("I'll eat crow.") to boot.

I know some people who love Sullivan for some reason, but I really don't get him. His strengths are so massively outweighed by his faults. Oh well maybe next year Sullivan will get nominated for his prediction on September 16, 2001 that, "The decadent left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead -and may well mount a fifth column." Turns out we didn't, that was wrong prediction too.

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