Who is Jane Galt?

Well, nowadays, she's Megan McArdle (quoted tweet continues after embed):

…strong opinion but now I’m just resigned to the fact that my mental models have zero predictive validity when applied to the sort of people who want to occupy the Oval Office.

Yes. I've noticed that. Their brains work funny.

In fact here are a few guidelines I'm trying to follow in current and future blogging about politics:

  • Megan's avoiding predictions about presidential candidates. I'm trying to avoid predicting voter behavior too. I shoulda learned my lesson back in 2016.
  • In fact, maybe I shouldn't make predictions at all, about anything.
  • I will not advise Biden to drop out. Why would he take my advice?
  • Same for Trump, whom I find at least as reprehensible and unsuited.
  • I won't even advise my fellow voters, for that matter. I'm pretty sure you won't listen either.
  • I won't even say: "If you voted for either Biden or Trump in the primaries, maybe you should just stay home and watch West Wing (Democrats) or Blue Bloods (Republicans) reruns instead of going into the voting booth.

Maybe more as things occur to me.

[Amazon Link]
(paid link)

While I was searching the Pun Salad archives for what I said about Biden in the past, I came across a lengthy quote from Andrew Ferguson's mass review of candidate campaign bios from 2008. Biden's was Promises to Keep (Amazon/Kindle link at your right). Ferguson's review was in the Weekly Standard, now defunct, but the Washington Examiner reproduced the relevant bits a few months later. Can't-say-we-weren't-warned excerpt:

What does a discerning reader learn from Biden's book that we didn't already know? Perhaps not much, if you're a regular watcher of C-SPAN or a longtime resident of Delaware. But there is something unforgettable about watching the man emerge on the page. His legendary self-regard becomes more impressive when the reader sees it in typescript, undistracted by the smile and the hair plugs. Biden quotes at great length from letters of recommendation he received as a young man, when far-sighted professors wrote movingly of his "sharp and incisive intellect" and his "highly developed sense of responsibility." These qualities have proved to be more of a burden than you might think, Biden admits. "I've made life difficult for myself," he writes, "by putting intellectual consistency and personal principle above expediency."

Yes, many Biden fans might tag these as the greatest of his gifts. Biden himself isn't so sure. After a little hemming and hawing--is it his intelligence that he most admires, or his commitment to principle, or his insistence on calling 'em as he sees 'em, or what?--he decides that his greatest personal and political virtue is probably his integrity. Tough call. But his wife [Jill] seems to agree. He recounts one difficult episode in which she said as much. "Of all the things to attack you on," she said, almost in tears. "Your integrity?"

In the 2008 campaign (a mere 16 years ago), Joe dropped out after finishing fifth in Iowa. This was a followup to his 1988 campaign, 20 years before that, where he dropped out very early, dogged by (accurate) claims of plagiarism and lying about his past. (plus ça change…)

Okay, so no predictions from me. I'll continue to post the amassed predictions of others as revealed by wagering their own money:

Candidate EBO Win
Donald Trump 58.5% +1.1%
Joe Biden 14.9% -5.2%
Kamala Harris 14.6% +8.8%
Michelle Obama 4.7% -0.3%
Gavin Newsom 3.5% -4.1%
Other 3.8% -0.3%

My rudimentary analysis, for what it's worth: bettors seem to be warming to a future where (a) Kamala replaces Joe on the ballot (somehow); (b) Trump wins anyway.

Also of note:

  • How about George Soros? Or the Ghost of Christmas Future? Biden's expressed criterion for withdrawing from the race:

    It depends on-- on if the Lord Almighty comes down and tells me that, I might do that.

    Yes, "might".

    The WSJ editorialists mock: The Almighty Calls for Biden.

    Mr. President, the Almighty is on the line. Not the Deity you invoked Friday night in your interview on ABC. The Big Guy appears to be sitting out this presidential race. We mean the closest thing to the Almighty in American politics: the Democratic-media establishment. They want you gone, sir, and the question is when you admit it and oblige.

    President Biden’s interview on Friday with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos was a portrait in defiance that won’t stem the establishment campaign unfolding against him. The media that covered for him has turned with a vengeance. The sleuths at the New York Times and Washington Post have suddenly discovered that the debate wasn’t merely a “bad night.” This week they tell us that there have been many such episodes of demonstrable cognitive decline. Who knew?

    Well, the American people knew, since they are not oblivious to evidence they can see. They have said so in every poll for a year. Special counsel Robert Hur knew. (See our editorial, “A Tipping Point on Biden’s Decline,” Feb. 10, 2024.)

    Which brings us to…

  • I don't think Rich Lowry will be invited on MSNBC soon. Actually, I don't know if he ever appeared there, but this seems to be a deal-breaker: Morning Joe's" Dishonorable Attacks on Biden Truth-Tellers.

    Acouple of months ago, Joe Scarborough warned his viewers, and especially his critics, that he was about to unleash a truth bomb.

    The former Republican congressman wanted everyone to know not that Joe Biden had lost a step but was still okay, not that Biden was better than Trump regardless of his physical and mental state, and certainly not that he had heard some concerning things about Biden but he didn’t want anyone to draw premature conclusions.

    No, no — he wanted everyone to know that Joe Biden was more impressive than ever.

    This was ludicrous at the time but has been exposed as propagandistic dreck in light of Biden’s debate debacle that appalled even Scarborough himself.

    “Start your tape right now because I’m about to tell you the truth,” Scarborough said directly to the camera on his March 6 program, “and F you if you can’t handle the truth.”

    Liar? Fool? Maybe both?

    Note: Scarbourough's paean was made about a month after Robert Hur recommended against prosecuting Joe Biden due to his doddering-old-foolishness.

  • Just pants? Issues and Insights draws attention to Biden’s Pants-On-Fire Lie That Nobody Noticed In His ABC News Interview.

    “One thing I’m proudest of,” he said, “is, remember when my economic plan was put forward, a lot of the mainstream economists said it’s not going to work. Well, guess what? We now have 16 Nobel laureates, 16 of them in economics, saying Biden’s next term would be — based on what he wants to do, an enormous success.”

    I&I notes that at the time the "plan was put forward", Biden was claiming "major economists — left, right, and center — support this plan.”

    I can't even keep all Biden's "plans" straight, let alone what economists said about them when. All I'm (relatively) confident about is that the bill will come due, probably after November, at which point Biden won't care, one way or another.

  • Do stampeding herds typically produce avalanches? Or is this just a really bad mixed metaphor? Ann Althouse's headline: "[American media] have become a stampeding herd producing an avalanche of stories suggesting Biden is unfit, will lose and should go away..." Quoting from a Guardian article, which continues:

    "... at a point in the campaign in which replacing him would likely be somewhere between extremely difficult and utterly catastrophic. They do this while ignoring something every scholar and critic of journalism knows well and every journalist should. As Nikole Hannah-Jones put it: 'As media we consistently proclaim that we are just reporting the news when in fact we are driving it. What we cover, how we cover it, determines often what Americans think is important and how they perceive these issues yet we keep pretending it’s not so.' They are not reporting that he is a loser; they are making him one. According to one journalist’s tally, the New York Times has run 192 stories on the subject since the debate, including 50 editorials and 142 news stories. The Washington Post, which has also gone for saturation coverage, published a resignation speech they wrote for him. Not to be outdone, the New Yorker’s editor-in-chief declared that Biden not going away 'would be an act not only of self-delusion but of national endangerment' and had a staff writer suggest that Democrats should use the never-before-deployed 25th amendment. Since this would have to be led by Vice-President Kamala Harris, it would be a sort of insider coup. And so it goes with what appears to be a journalistic competition to outdo each other in the aggressiveness of the attacks and the unreality of the proposals. It’s a dogpile and a panic, and there is no one more unable to understand their own emotional life, biases and motives than people who are utterly convinced of their own ironclad rationality and objectivity, AKA most of these pundits."

    Ann criticizes the author on a number of points, but she is on her firmest ground drawing on her lawprof cred:

    Solnit writes "Since this would have to be led by Vice-President Kamala Harris, it would be a sort of insider coup," but she's not talking about the stampede that seems to have begun mid-debate. She's talking about the 25th Amendment. That does, indeed, require the VP to participate in a constitutional procedure (not a coup!).

    I knew I'd eventually come across the 25th Amendment today!

  • <voice imitation="professor_farnsworth">good news, everyone!</voice>. And Twitchy has it: THE CANDIDATE WE NEED: David 'Iowahawk' Burge Declares He Is Running for President. And, apologies in advance, he's not holding back the language:

    Sometimes the right person emerges. When we needed a person to see us through the War for Independence and to serve as this new nation’s first president, Washington emerged. When Britain found itself fighting for its life against Nazi Germany, Churchill emerged. When our country was tearing itself apart over the slavery question, Lincoln emerged.

    And now, in our troubled times, David ‘Iowahawk’ Burge has emerged.

    (Am I wrong to fantasize about Nikki Haley tweeting the same thing? Yeah, probably.)

    Ahem: Dave, if you need a veep who will balance the ticket with an "elderly dork" vibe, I'm available, and I pledge to take our campaign as seriously as you do.