Friday, June 24, 2005

More Counterfactual Job Performance Analysis

by Tom Bozzo

Apart from demonstrating the relative efficiencies with which Republicans circle the wagons and certain prominent Democratic politicians form circular firing squads, the controversy over Karl Rove's despicable remarks highlights an irony of his boss's career trajectory.

Correctly applying counterfactual standards, that is, comparing the actual performance to that of the "next best alternative," Rove's boss has taken a lot of credit for nothing, or likelier less than nothing. No particular talent or policy insight is needed (at least not within the U.S. political mainstream, which includes the guy who got the most votes in the 2000 election) to deliver rousing speeches to unite the country in the aftermath of the Sept. 11th attacks, or to conclude that the Afghan war was necessary.

It also should not have any particular talent or policy insight to have understood that
"You really shouldn't feed dynamite to your pig," says Juan Cole, mideast expert and professor of pig studies. "Dynamite has never been a safe feed for pigs and has only resulted in disaster for pigs and the pig community."
Should things turn out anyway, it will take a lot of data to unseat my prior that it'll be the result of dumb luck.

Addendum: Excellent analysis by Phantom Scribbler.
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