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November 07, 2011

One Question for Jeff Greenfield

Political Wire asks Jeff Greenfield, author most recently of Then Everything Changed, "Why do you not like to make political predictions?"

In 1971, I helped advance man Jerry Bruno write a book (cleverly called: The Advance Man), in which the last chapter sketched out how the next President wold be....New York Mayor John Lindsay. It had the same effect as my consumption of large quantities of cheap bourbon in my freshman year of college.  Just as that near-death experience cured me of any impulse toward alcohol excess, my first "prediction" was like a vaccine, immunizing me from the impulse to think I could predict the future.

Look at the "certainties" of almost every past Presidential election. Taken together, random chance would have been a better guide than the collective opinions of experts a year or two before anyone votes.

If I could predict the future, I would -- not by announcing the identity of the next President, but by purchasing the next $100 million Powerball. But I can't I don't.


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