If it were possible to extrapolate current trends in a straight line, both Rocket Man and I would be rich; we would be working on Power Line full time and living off the commissions we earn on our fab Power Line line of gear. (We’ve earned roughtly $12.00 in the past six months, but Rocket Man hasn’t yet given us a full accounting or divided the profits.)
As investors, however, we are both negative indicators. We reliably buy at the top and sell at the bottom. I bought gold at $900 an ounce in 1980, when I first had money to invest, and have continued to serve as a bellwether of the average investor ever since. More recently I bought bonds — just before the market turned up. I’ll let Rocket Man make his own confessions as an investor.
Much the same applies to my skills as a political prognosticator. (For “my” read “our,” but I’m trying to be tactful.) Our (read “his”) strengths are legal, historical, political, and to some extent economic analysis of current issues based on research and reflection. Our strengths (such as they are) are on display in the publications linked on the left. We (read “he”) read polls as well as Michael Barone, but we have almost never been successful making predictions based on them. Sometimes we incorrectly extrapolate into the future on a straight line; sometimes we let wishful thinking color our projections.
Rocket Man’s current pessimism about President Bush’s reelection prospects are mostly based on straight-line projections of current polls. It seems to me, however, that the real question is whether the American public on average understands that the Islamofascists continue to wage war against the United States. Does the American public understand that there is nothing our enemies would like more than to destroy a city or two next time around, and that they are plotting tirelessly to do so? Or does the American public believe that the lack of a successful attack on the United States in the past two and a half years indicates that the country is secure, if not at peace?
The answer to these questions is not at all clear to me. Contrary to much of what I have read elsewhere as well as in Rocket Man’s post below, today’s Washington Times reports the results of a current Gallup Poll that seem to bear on the question: “Terrorism ranks ‘highest’ as critical threat to U.S.”
If national security is the central issue in the presidential campaign, John Kerry must overcome the evidence provided by a 19-year record in the United States Senate of hostility to defense and intelligence. It seems to me possible that he could do so, but not likely. If, on the other hand, national security is not the central issue in the campaign, John Kerry’s prospects should be bright. It is not apparent to me, apart from the hopeful evidence provided by the Times story, which situation obtains at present or will obtain in November. But I intend to keep an eye out for all evidence that bears on the question.
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill