Monday, November 13, 2006

Bad Information

Here are two stories about bad information. The first, in Newsweek called "The Architect's Faulty Specs" is about how Karl Rove seems to have imbibed his own Kool-Aid and apparently really believed that his Republicans would hold both houses.

As Digby said:
This is a perfect illustration of everything that is wrong with the Bush administration. They are magical thinkers". [...] I think what shocks me the most about this article is that it reveals that Rove actually believed they would definitely win based on his magic numbers. I assumed he was "projecting" confidence as any political strategist would do. I honestly didn't know he was delusional.

And this delusional man's power was unprecedented for a political advisior.
Rove's miscalculations began well before election night. The polls and pundits pointed to a Democratic sweep, but Rove dismissed them all. In public, he predicted outright victory, flashing the V sign to reporters flying on Air Force One. He wasn't just trying to psych out the media and the opposition. He believed his "metrics" were far superior to plain old polls. Two weeks before the elections, Rove showed NEWSWEEK his magic numbers: a series of graphs and bar charts that tallied early voting and voter outreach. Both were running far higher than in 2004. In fact, Rove thought the polls were obsolete because they relied on home telephones in an age of do-not-call lists and cell phones. Based on his models, he forecast a loss of 12 to 14 seats in the House—enough to hang on to the majority. Rove placed so much faith in his figures that, after the elections, he planned to convene a panel of Republican political scientists—to study just how wrong the polls were.

His confidence buoyed everyone inside the West Wing, especially the president. Ten days before the elections, House Majority Leader John Boehner visited Bush in the Oval Office with bad news. He told Bush that the party would lose Tom DeLay's old seat in Texas, where Bush was set to campaign. Bush brushed him off, Boehner recalls. "Get me Karl," the president told an aide. "Karl has the numbers."

The second example of bad information comes via the NY Times in an article entitled "Sectarian Rifts Foretell Pitfalls of Iraqi Troops Taking Control" and involves accurate information that is just plain bad and this is what BushCo has created in Iraq. Read it and weep.

As Digby describes it:

It is clear that no matter what this country does now in Iraq, it is impossible to
"fix" in any substantial way. We didn't just break the pot at the Pottery Barn, we blew up the whole neighborhood. Going in was, as James Webb wrote back in 2003, "the greatest strategic blunder in modern memory" the war's execution has been the greatest series of tactical mistakes in modern memory --- so much now that it's impossible to see a way out that even leads to some kind of authoritarian stability, much less democracy. And it's very, very easy to see how it can lurch out of control in a dozen different ways.

James Baker and Robert Gates and Joe Lieberman aren't magicians. And they are not going to let anybody say they and Junior "lost Iraq." Don't get your hopes up about these "grown-ups." They are just looking for a way to keep Bush (and in Joe's case, himself) from looking like a loser --- and real withdrawal (as opposed to cosmetic) is not going to accomplish that. Everything they do for the next two years will be to save Bush's face and the Republican party, period.

I'm sorry to be so cynical, but I lost any hope that the Bush administration was capable of doing the right thing a long time ago.


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