Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Cartoonist's View of The Risks of a Trump Presidency

Scott Adams, whom you may think of as "only a cartoonist," is rather more than that. His blog has been going great guns for some time now, with lots of insightful commentary. But of late, he's been doing extraordinary work in analyzing Trump and his methods. Today he takes on the question of:

The Risks of a Trump Presidency

What exactly is the risk of a Trump presidency? Beats me. But let’s talk about it anyway.
Your Abysmal Track Record
For starters, ask yourself how well you predicted the performance of past presidents. Have your psychic powers been accurate?
I’m not good at predicting the performance of presidents. I thought Reagan would be dangerous, but he presided over the end of the Cold War. And I thought George W. Bush would be unlikely to start a war, much less two of them.
But it gets better. Even AFTER the presidency, can you tell who did the best job? I can’t. You think you can, but you can’t. And the simple reason for that is because there is no base case with which to compare a president. All we know is what did happen, not what might have happened if we took another path. You can’t compare a situation in the real world to your imaginary world in which something better happened. That is nonsense. And yet we do it. Watch me prove it right now.
Read the rest here:

First, he makes a good case for the problems of prediction, and also makes a point that has been made before by historians, that it's hard to compare two presidencies, say Hoover's and FDR's, simply because they happened at different times and therefore had a different set of problems and opportunities to deal with. The only really effective way would be to, as Adams suggests, check out two parallel universes, say ours and the one where Nixon won the 1960 election. Then you could objectively compare the Kennedy and Nixon Presidencies.

Of course, you can make predictions with varying degrees of accuracy. You could have predicted a lot about what Bill Clinton would try to do as President, because you had both his previous record and his stated intentions to go by. But that's not the same thing as predicting what he would do, because there are a lot of other factors. With a Speaker of the House less assertive than Gingrich, for example, a lot of things might have been different. And of course, things happened overseas that he had to react to that you couldn't have predicted.

Now, if you didn't follow that link, follow it now. You'll find Adams very much worth while on the subject.

Oh, by the way, Scott keeps saying, if you'll notice, that he doesn't support Trump or anybody else. Matt Bailey [link] makes this comment on Scott's assertion:

He says he doesn't support Trump, or any other candidate. On an unrelated note, when hunting I go to great pains to appear to be a tree to wild animals, not a human male holding a rifle. It just seems to work better that way...
Quibcag: The medicated lady is Katsura-Sensei of Hayate the Combat Butler (ハヤテのごとく! Hayate no Gotoku!).

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