Tuesday, October 14, 2008

McCain & Gambler's Superstition

Adam Blickstein of Democracy Arsenal flags this from a Sam Stein piece on the differences between Barack Obama's and John McCain's transition teams. The short version is that Obama has one and McCain doesn't:

The Arizona Senator has instructed his team to not spend time on the transition effort, according to the source, both out of a desire to have complete focus on winning the election as well as a superstitious belief that the campaign shouldn't put the cart before the horse. (Emphasis added.)

That's another way of saying, Don't count your winnings before your final roll of the dice, and is a classic example of a gambler's magical thinking.

Josh Marshall makes the good point that losing campaigns often look bad, partly because they're losing, and partly because they're forced to cast about for some way to reverse the trend. It reminds me of Allen Barra's observation about football coverage: Saying a team lost despite its quarterback throwing for huge yardage overlooks the fact that most teams wind up with that many passing yards because they've got to make up a ton of points in a hurry.

Still, something tells me that in the aftermath of this election, we're not only going to hear insider accounts about the behind the scenes chaos within campaign McCain, but also insider accounts of the behind the scenes chaos within candidate McCain. (Think he's placed a wager on the outcome of the election?) The question is whether the people who are enabling his increasingly obvious character flaws will be held accountable, or whether it will just be written off as typical electioneering.

Posted by Judah in:  Politics   

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