Thursday, September 02, 2010

Tactical Fallacy

A nice piece by Mr. Sensible, Brendan Nyhan, who is ....sensible.

I had a nice lunch at Tip y Tap in Santiago with John Londregan, in early July, where John made much the same argument.

But there is more to the argument. This is not just a mistake, but a bias. Dem activists are convinced (quite wrongly) that if someone would just come out and SPEAK THE TRUTH, that voters would flock to them. So the failure to speak the truth (capitalism is evil, government should control everything) is only a sign of weakness. Since they only talk to each other, these activists suffer from the "Polled my friends, and we all agree" fallacy.

So it is not just the attribution of good tactics to successful campaigns that is going on, but the belief by activists that the reason Obama is doing poorly is that he is trying to court the center.

Now, the same (mutatis mutandis) is at least as true, and maybe moreso, for Republican activists, I admit. And for Libertarians? It isn't a problem, because we don't have any friends, and don't believe in polls.

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