- The Washington Times - Friday, February 25, 2000

When are the political columnists of this country either going to quit their jobs or have the decency to stop offering predictions about who is going to win the next primary or the following election? Since this primary season started, these so-called experts couldn't have been wrong more often if they were afraid that their noses would be cut off for guessing right.

A year before the first primary, we were told that the Republican primaries were already settled. But, we were still going to have to go through the process because we have to act like this is still a democracy. The political experts all agreed George W. Bush had already beaten any conceivable opponent and if they weren't fanatics, zealots, or idiots, they would quit now and avoid making fools of themselves for a whole year.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to the coronation. What happened was two big mistakes, one after another. The Republicans announced a series of debates and after jumping out of windows for a year to avoid any confrontation with a real live Republican, Mr. Bush decided to show up. Unfortunately, he stood there with 68 million dollars in his pocket but almost nothing in his head. Mr. Bush is definitely no dummy, but he did a great impression of a dummy in the first debate. He was definitely better in the second debate, but only his mother could tell the difference. He kept looking like he wanted to say something, but he either forgot what it was or was afraid to say it. He looked like he was saying to himself, "The system dictates that I have to be here but even if I don't read anything else, I read the columnists and it's unanimous that I'm here for nothing. These guys in front of me are just too stupid, neurotic, unbalanced, distorted by envy, or full of complexes to congratulate me and save the cab fare."

But Mr. Bush picked the wrong reading material because the columnists were, as usual, wrong again for the third time in one campaign season. The first time was when Elizabeth Dole announced that the "experts" announced that her style, her class, her grace, and her husband made an unbeatable combination. They predicted the money will flow and she can't lose. The "experts" then watched the money flow, but they had a bad sense of direction because it flowed into Mr. Bush's pockets. Since being wrong has nothing to do with being an expert, they became too busy with their next prediction to notice the flop of the last one.

They then announced that the next formidable opponent will be Steve Forbes because, unlike Elizabeth Dole, they couldn't be wrong about the direction of the money since it was already in his pocket. But leave it to the experts to be wrong again. Mrs. Dole couldn't find the money and Mr. Forbes should have saved the money. There was not enough money in the world to save Mr. Forbes.

Money could buy everything except a personality and he has as much personality as Mrs. Dole had money. By the time the third debate took place, Mr. Bush's personality was coming back but Mr. Forbes couldn't bring anything back because it wasn't there in the first place. Mr. Forbes then announced that he quit the race months after anybody forgot that he was still in the race. But he quit with pride because "he changed the agenda." The fact that nobody remembers what the agenda was didn't affect anybody because he made the announcement with the same personality that would have made him a runner-up in a Mr. Magoo look-alike contest.

Candidates pay for their mistakes by losing their stages. But the experts never lose their pride, their voices, or their newspapers.

Why should they care? In any other field, being wrong might cost you something, but political experts are in one of the three "fantasy" occupations. Just like the other two (weathermen and economists) they are almost never right, but they never apologize because they wouldn't know to whom to apologize because nobody complains for the simple reason that people didn't expect them to be right in the first place.

Jackie Mason is a comedian and Raoul Felder is a famed attorney.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide