Monday, March 26, 2007

i wish

j. goodrich and/or echidne posted today about bruce barlett's prediction that the conservative era is coming to a close. to be honest, i love reading this stuff, especially when coming from a conservative like bartlett (albeit one who hates bush).

the problem is, it's probably not true. or, at least, we should always be suspicious of reading long-term trends into the latest election or poll result. as the first paragraph of today's paul krugman column us (that is, reminds those of us who can get past the times select firewall):
Remember how the 2004 election was supposed to have demonstrated, once and for all, that conservatism was the future of American politics? I do: early in 2005, some colleagues in the news media urged me, in effect, to give up. "The election settled some things," I was told.
november 2004 wasn't that long ago, but look how dramatically our impression of the country's mood has changed. krugman argues that the 2004 election results are an aberration, but who's to say that the latest pew results don't also turn out to be an aberration as well? for all we know, right now could be the liberal peak, and it's all downhill from here.

i'm not saying that the current pro-liberal poll numbers are temporary. i hope they aren't. i'm just saying that we don't know if they are and won't know for a little while longer. peaks and aberrations can only be seen in retrospect anyhow. while it can be fun to watch your political opponents acknowledge what you want to be true, it doesn't mean that those acknowledgements are, in fact, true.