John Podhoretz notes the inscrutability of the will of the American electorate as this hotly contested electoral battle draws to a close:
November 7, 2006 — THE screenwriter William Goldman changed history in Hollywood with three simple words: “Nobody knows anything.”
He was giving a simple and profound explanation for why some movies succeed and others fail. His answer: Nobody knows anything until the audience decides.
In the world of political punditry, it’s time to invoke the Goldman rule. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of high-profile blabbermouths out there (me included) trying to tell you which way the electorate is going to go. Chances are, if you’re reading these words, you are the sort of person who pays attention to our blabber-mouthery.
And guess what? Nobody knows anything.
If you’d spent the year avoiding all the paid political prognostication and theorizing, you’d be as enlightened right now as if you had read every single word pundits have written this year.
Last week, everybody in the business was certain a huge Democratic wave was going to wash over America.
Then, over the weekend, three major national polls purported to show a Republican rally, and suddenly the certitude was gone. Maybe there’d be no wave. Maybe there never was one. Maybe there was, but John Kerry’s offensive remarks about being “stuck in Iraq” crashed the wave onto the rocks.
You could see them on the news channels, sweating, worried that they’d gone out too far on a limb predicting the Democratic triumph, wondering if perhaps they could just pull it back a little . . . .
Because guess what? Nobody knows anything.