Outsourcing this week's blogging to Gawker. Speaking of the value of political punditry, Hamilton Nolan writes:
But whereas the sports world, for example, boasts a class of professional commentators that have a legitimate claim to their positions—Jon Gruden can offer more genuine insight into football than your drunk friend in the Packers jersey—the same cannot be said for politics. The political commentator class is, for the most part, little more than a bunch of regular people like you and me who were lucky enough to land jobs writing down their thoughts on politics for money. It's not that there aren't truly insightful political experts in the world. Professional political strategists know tons about how elections are won, and philosophers and political science professors and economists at universities across the country can all offer fascinating and sagacious arguments on how and why various political positions are justified. But, with a handful of notable exceptions, these are not the types of people who compose our nation's political pundit class. Our political pundits are mostly just spitballing. You might as well just listen to yourself.
I'd take issue with the "regular people part." Being charitable, I gather Nolan means "people with no special qualifications." But that's not really true either. They need to be confident that they have something to say. And they need, most of all, to be immune from the tons of relevant, accurate, and devastating criticism. That's what it takes.