I agree with mistermix that even the liberal Kevin Drum is wrong about Jindal. Of course, it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future. Nate Silver thought Sarah Palin would run for president in 2012 and that she had a good chance of getting the nomination. It’s probably fair to say that gay wizardry only works on polling data near the time of an election…though it sure works well then.
I am constantly stunned by how little my colleagues, most of whom remind me of Kevin Drum to some degree, understand about politics. I try to avoid the topic with them, but I’m often asked questions, which I answer with 100% accuracy. I’m not bragging, the questions are easy — should I put stock in political futures markets (no), who will win the election (Obama), why will Obama win the election (big demographic advantage), will the government default (no), will Sarah Palin be the Republican nominee (no)…simple questions like that. Sometimes I try to explain to them a bit about how politics works, so that they can answer these questions themselves, but it never takes.
The problem is that they are unable to conceive of how irrational voters are. They believe there will be some kind of logical consistency, that loving Jeebus has something to do with caring about the poor, that being a libertarian should make you more likely to be pro-choice, that people might consider their own economic interest when they vote, that voters pay attention to issues at all. Of course, that’s not how any of it works, people sort themselves into teams — roughly Team Liberal and Team Conservative, though there’s lots of little subteams within each, and there’s also Team Narcissist consisting of people whose beautiful minds won’t allow them to be put into a simple box. There’s a little more to it, but, essentially, the rest is commentary.
Sometimes I think that perhaps libertarians are politically inept for the same reasons that academics are. Academics tend to believe people are rational because they themselves are rational (or so they think anyway) and that fucks up their ability to understand politics. Libertarians believe that markets and consumers are rational (I’m not sure why they believe this) and that fucks their ability to understand how our society works, fucks it up so badly that the rest of the population can see immediately that libertarians are mostly cranks and weirdos.