Not one of the "Blue Chip" 50 economic forecasters saw the coming of the 2001 recession in the fall of 2000. How could 50 intelligent informed observers make independent assessments of the economy and fail to see a major event that was right in front of their eyes. The obvious answer is that forecasters do not make independent assessments. They try to make sure that their foecasts are consistent with the rest of the forecasts. This way, if they are right, they can be happy. And, if they are wrong, well, who could have known?
ABRACADABRA. Having tracked the religious right's rise over the last two decades, I must say that, unlike Scott and Sam, I find the argument, rendered via Amy Sullivan, over whether or not the religious right is a tool of the man, or poised to become the man himself, largely irrelevant; either way, we wind up with law written by self-appointed religious sages.
IRANIAN NUKES. I was all ready to write a long post on Noah Feldman's article about the Iranian nuclear program, but that determination foundered upon my inability to figure out what Feldman was actually arguing. Feldman included a long, interesting, and rather pointless discussion of the Islamic position on suicide bombing, danced around a realist analysis of the nuclear situation in the Middle East without really committing to it, and soldiered through a discussion of Islamic theology without coming to any conclusions.
THEOCRACY HYPE.Scott, I agree with you that Amy Sullivan's prescriptive arguments about Democratic outreach to evangelicals are thin. (And for a small-but-perfect illustration of the limited efficacy of even the rather ostentatious rhetorical gambits that Hillary Clinton has attempted in an effort to reach religious voters, see here.) But I do feel compelled to take Sullivan's side on the broader issue of liberal "theocracy" narratives.
AND THEN WHAT? I have a lot of problems with Amy Sullivan's recent piece about the opportunities allegedly presented by David Kuo's new book. First of all, I reject her entire premise that Democratic politicians don't reach out to religious believers, and since she never mentions the names of prominent Democrats who treat believers with contempt it's impossible to evaluate her claims.