In case you missed it, Lyin’ Ted and John Kasich – the prickly, delusional governor of Ohio who doesn’t even warrant an insulting nickname – have both dropped out of the presidential race. Barring any insane convention shenanigans in Cleveland, the GOP elders will have to bite the bullet and live with Donald Trump as their nominee.
But enough about Trump himself, whose rise many people (including myself) failed to predict. Along with exposing Conservatism Inc’s isolation, Trump’s success has also laid bare the sheer bankruptcy of America’s pundit caste. Of course, there’s nothing wrong about making inaccurate guesses; if predicting the future were easy, I could make a fortune betting on sports and retire young. Nevertheless, as Glenn Greenwald and Zaid Jilani rightly point out, these Beltway Brahmins cannot entertain the thought of being wrong:
TRYING TO PREDICT the future can be fun, which is why — from office sports pools to stock market speculation — many do it. Generally, though, people make such predictions with at least some humility: with the knowledge that they do not actually know what the future holds.
But not America’s beloved political pundits. When they pronounce what the future has in store for us, it comes in the form of definitive decrees, shaped with the tone of authoritative certainty.
Since these definitive decrees are anything but, the authors think that today’s arrogant writers need to get their heads out of their ass:
At the very least, when a profession that touts its expertise, collectively, is this wildly wrong about something so significant, more needs to be done than a cursory, superficial acknowledgment of error — or casting blame on others — before quickly moving on, in the hope that it’s all forgotten. Some collective, introspective soul-searching is in order.
Will such introspection actually occur? I wouldn’t hold my breath. If America has taught us anything over the past few decades, it’s that elites of all stripes will always find a way to fail up. No need to contemplate reform when our glorious “meritocracy” shields affluent, overrated journalists from the consequences of their mistakes.
Therefore, despite screwing up in a manner that would get most regular workers fired – or at least admonished – pundits like Ross Douthat will continue being handsomely compensated to enlighten us little people. That is, until we collectively decide to dump the mainstream media and seek better alternatives.
One can only predict when that will happen.