Another consistently dumb thing has been the daily "forecast" of the possible departure of Alberto Gonzales. It has gone up as high as 95%, but there he remains. And this has been going on for weeks.
Let's think about the numbers here. Were you to flip a coin once a day for three weeks and the first time it came up tails you would have to quit your job, do you know what the chances are that you wouldn't have had to quit? 1 in 2,097,152.
So at an average of 85% chance of leaving per day, what is the chance that Alberto would still be around after three weeks? Roughly 1 in 200,485,773,214,478,329.
This is incredibly dumb, because anyone who has watched Bush at all over the last 6 years knows he will hold onto dead weight the way a cat holds onto a dead bird.
O.K. it is now the middle of June, so I won't even try to calculate the numbers as it would fry my little calculators insides. But Slate at last is bowing to reality, at least somewhat:
When we first launched this enterprise, we truly believed that the sun rose in the east and gravity worked. We were wrong. As we have increasingly observed, most notably on the days the AG testified before Congress, some mystical alchemy provides that the worse he does, the better his chances become of remaining in office. At this point, just about nothing Gonzales does could cause the president to fire him. That will happen only if and when the president can make it look like he is not buckling under pressure. So we drop the Gonzo-Meter to zero, in the perverse hope that Bush might start to believe that ditching his AG is his own idea, not ours.
What Slate didn't seem to believe in is statistics. If they did, they might have noticed that their premises were ridiculous from the start. Notice, the fact they were disastrously wrong about the way the political world in Washington actually works never enters into their thinking. For them, the way they wish the political world worked is "reality" and what actually happens is fantastical.
Look folks, realism begins by coming to grips with the world you find around you. Period. All the rest is naivete.