Bill Kristol – the Gartman of Politics?

It has become a popular sport at Zerohedge to make fun of financial pundits who appear regularly on TV and tend to be consistently wrong with their market calls. While this Schadenfreude type reportage may strike some as a bit dubious, it should be noted that it is quite harmless compared to continually leading people astray with dodgy advice.

 

2ED3-FM-0915GartmanBullishTo answer the question posed in the picture with the benefit of hindsight: not really…. (look at the price)

CNBC screenshot

 

These people should surely be considered fair game. Besides, following their multiple blunders is sometimes actually quite funny. The above depicted Dennis Gartman has become a favorite target, possibly due to the rather odd way in which he expresses himself (he sounds a bit like a time traveler who got lost, or a visitor from another planet). We don’t know if his wrong-way forecasts are cherry-picked, but if they are not, then he is truly a noteworthy phenomenon.

Most people are probably aware though that market predictions are usually not much better than flipping a coin anyway (a tip for aspiring pundits: when it comes to stocks, the safest course is to be always bullish, as the stock market historically rises 67% of the time). Arguably, some prominent political pundits should be considered more dangerous, especially if those who like beating the war drums.

We were quite astonished to find out that numerous pundits who came out in strong support of the Iraq war and didn’t even get a single thing right about that particular statist misadventure, continue to enjoy an apparently unblemished reputation as “foreign policy experts” as if nothing untoward had happened. One of the better known ones is Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, a stalwart of neo-conservatism who has apparently never come across a hapless third world country he didn’t want to see bombed on account of it harboring the second coming of Hitler.

 

Kristol-whoBill Kristol exercising his dubious punditry skills. He is actually the very last person one should ask… about anything.

ABC News screenshot

 

We always thought the man should by now be legendary for his uncanny ability to make 180 degree wrong forecasts. It turns out he actually is. Yesterday we looked at the results of the latest primaries, in which The Donald once again swept to a rather comprehensive victory. As our gaze wandered across a page depicting search results, we noticed a link to a Bill Kristol tweet and got curious.

It struck us as slightly odd that the tweet was originally posted on December 8 2015. We now know why it proves to be so persistent in search results….it is “the tweet that keeps on giving”…. and it has helped us to compose our own little Schadenfreude post.

 

Legendary Forecasting Abilities

Here is the tweet in question:

 

The TweetActually a fairly typical Kristol prediction in terms of accuracy…

 

Replies to this tweet evidently continue to pour in to this day – here is a selection, grouped by sub-topics.

 

1 A few people notice that something has gone wrong:

 

Chris ‏@mcduffiechrisAU  Mar 1

@BillKristol @CFC_Kristoff Missed that one, huh?

 

Un Known ‏@FrankandFroogle  Feb 10

@BillKristol @UnitedCitizen01 Your Kristol ball is broken, no?

 

2 Some question Kristol’s qualification for the job of punditry and wonder how he can apparently still make a living from it. Some speculate what mysterious forces might be at work…and some realize that asking him questions may fail to yield satisfactory results regardless of the subject matter:

 

Uncle Ted ‏@UncleTedK  Mar 2

@BillKristol How do you still have a job?

Humpasaur Jones‏@humpjones

@BillKristol Are you an actual expert in anything? Anything at all?

mini white Beyonce ‏@ItsTonyNow  Feb 10

What dark contract did you sign in blood that allows you to be wrong about everything and still get paid a shitload of money @BillKristol

Tom Hitchner ‏@thitchner  Feb 10

@ItsTonyNow @BillKristol In his attic there’s actually a portrait of him getting more and more correct and more and more penniless

Pith and Vinegar ‏@TheSibylSpeaks  Apr 20

@BillKristol I guess asking you “Where are my other glasses?” is out of the question now? #WhenPsychicsGoWrong

 

3 Numerous well-meaning people decide to helpfully provide Kristol with career and behavior-related advice:

 

CT Sports Arena (CSA ‏@ctsportsarena  Mar 2

@BillKristol flip a coin sometime, then you at least have a shot at being right.

Derek Valor ‏@BoldValor  Feb 10

@BillKristol @DeannaSands1 Please just retire from the prediction business, Bill; write poetry or something; paint still lives; go fishing

Mimi ‏@mimimayesTN  Feb 11

You really need to delete your account & start over. These old tweets are hilarious @BillKristol @Pjimmy18

Rev. Tim ‏@_REV_TIM  Feb 11

@BillKristol @CarmineZozzora (wait in the car Bill, we’ll call ya if we need you, and don’t play with the flashlight).

 

4 Here are a few tweets from the “general analysis/ questions” department:

 

Petroleum V. Nasby ‏@PetroleumVNasby  Feb 10

@BillKristol @missb62 Proudly maintaining a consistent record as the wrongest pundit in American politics.

Mr. Hand ‏@GrayerDreams  9 Dec 2015

@BillKristol Dude, you are deeply delusional and living in a bubble. I’m amazed, reading your tweets.

Thomas Cantwell ‏@AstoriaTom  Mar 2

@BillKristol How are you not in a constant shame spiral? What was your Mother like? Did she teach you about shame?

Sunburn Cooter ‏@Sunburncooter  11m

@BillKristol @MontyDraxel Mrs. Cleo predicted the future better than you. You Sir, are the Mel Kiper of political pundits.

[ed note: in case you don’t know who Mel Kiper is, click here]

 

5 Several people realize that Kristol has an unusual talent and ponder how to make use of it… humanity as a whole could well be helped if Kristol were to decide to actively avert major catastrophes. Even things normally considered utterly impossible might happen:

 

James Welton ‏@jaimoe0  Feb 10

.@BillKristol @chrislhayes If you want to issue savvy predictions, read what Kristol is saying and then give voice to ANY OTHER SCENARIO.

Fantastic Julian ‏@JulianLives  Feb 10

@BillKristol @Bro_Pair If you predicted water would go downhill, I’d expect it to u-turn and soar up into the sky, Bill.

Hershell Bryant ‏@Hershell_Bryant  Feb 10

@BillKristol please predict that Earth will be hit by a meteor the size of Texas so that I can know we’ll be safe @chrislhayes

 

Lastly, someone remarks on the tweet’s general characteristic that already ensures its semi-immortality:

 

Cool A/C Bro ‏@CoolACBro  2h

@BillKristol The Tweet That Keeps On Giving

 

Prescient Nemesis Gets the Last Word

To round things out, here is Bill Kristol’s new nemesis Donald Trump, rubbing it in with his own piece of advice. This was tweeted back in the summer of 2015 already – let us call it a prescient advance needling:
How to make the country soar, according to The Donald

 trumped

    : )

 

 

 

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3 Responses to “Political Pundits, or Getting Paid for Wishful Thinking”

  • No6:

    Kristol was a war crime propagandist, a Goebbels.

  • wmbean:

    The one universal fantasy sold world wide is that journalism is a serious profession speaking truth to power. This so-called profession, journalism, which grips the minds of young aspiring college and university students as a noble calling, much like the church, was, is, and will always be a paid performance, an act of entertainment, and an endeavor that seeks not truth but obfuscation. If one does not have an agenda, a side, a cause, skin in the game, then one cannot obfuscate, there would be little point. Of course the internet has taken away the jobs of pressmen, type setters, and paperboys while allowing all manner of individuals to express their opinions, such as they are, to any and all who might care to read or watch such expressions. Political pundits get paid for their entertainment value and not their usefulness to predicting future human events. Humans like to be assured that their “thinking” is right or correct or at least in the ballpark. Such actions are part of group behavior. Remember that our choice of what groups we wish to belong has little to do with logic and more to do with the social side of our lives. Of course some idiots, such as Paul Krugman, are not very useful.

  • Bam_Man:

    Bill Kristol = One of many “Useful Idiots”, whose usefulness is now very questionable.

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