OP-ED: But Will You Still Respect Me In the Morning (After What I Said on TV Last Night)?

Arthur Solomon
Arthur Solomon

By Arthur Solomon

On November 3, 2010,  less than 24 hours after the Democrats found out that they are not the darlings of many liberal voters, and definitely not of independent ones, I began collecting  the musings  (which at least one dictionary defines as "thoughts, especially when aimless and unsystematic") of political pundits. Analyses showed how divided these self proclaimed experts were on various topics despite having the same facts.  

Then in 2012, after President Obama proved so many GOP pundits wrong when he defeated Romney, I listened carefully to see if the pundits showed any contriteness in pretending to be oracles of knowledge.

So now that the 2014 political season is in full swing, here's what I learned from the pundit's meanderings from November 3, 2010, until very recently: \

The Republicans and Democrats will compromise to enact legislation.

The Republicans will not compromise.

The Democrats will not compromise.

The Bush tax cuts resulted in a burst of new jobs.

The Bush tax cuts got us into the mess we are in today.

Rescinding the Bush tax cuts is necessary to control the debt.

The voters want their parties to fight for their beliefs.

The Republicans are a cinch to win enough seats to control the Senate.

The voters want Republicans and Democrats to work together.

The voters want Republicans and Democrats to fight for their beliefs, even if it means not working together.

Women might save the day for the Democrats. 

The GOP will face an immigration backlash in November. 

The Democrats will face an immigration backlash in November.

The tea party will destroy establishment Republicans.

The tea party brings strength to the Republican Party.

The only thing that pundits from the left, right and center agree on is that both parties are “playing to their base.”

History shows that some of these self-proclaimed political experts are probably correct. That’s to be expected.  It’s like saying the N.Y. Mets will have a winning season.  Say it enough times over the years and eventually you might be correct.  But do pundit’s proclamations deserve respect?  

My conclusion is that the pundits, as usual, are all over the place.  If  experts in other fields were as divided, tall buildings would continually fall, bridges would collapse every day, eating red meat would be hawked as a good way to reduce cholesterol, and people would see that their financial advisor's  advice should be taken with a grain of pepper. (Oh, they already know that.)

So, as we are in another election season, have we learned anything from the many pundit predictions since November 3, 2010?  Not much, except that never having to say, "I was wrong” is still very difficult for a pundit to admit.   But once again we've learned that being a pundit assures job security, because it doesn't matter if your opinions are right or wrong, 

just like those of your elected officials.

                                                  * * *

Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a Senior Vice President/Senior Counselor at Burson-Marsteller, where he played key roles on a variety of significant national and international accounts and traveled internationally with high-ranking government and Olympic officials as a media consultant.  Early in his career, he worked on political campaigns. He is available at  HYPERLINK "mailto:arthursolomon4pr@juno.com" arthursolomon4pr@juno.com

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