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Explaining Things

Posted by Bob on November 30th, 2004 under How Things Work

Every day you pull your car into a parking place between two other cars. You can just swing your car in.

It is clear you know what you are doing because your car went in on one try without hitting either other car and you left enough space for the other two drivers to reach their cars when they come back, all in one go.

So far, so good.

But for a person who doesn’t drive a car, that can look a little scary. You swing in and obviously you know what you are doing.


Then the person who has never ridden a car before asks you exactly HOW you did that.

Obviously you did it, so why can’t you explain exactly HOW you did it? Chances are that you can’t explain it. You’ve been driving a long time, and you know how to do it. In fact, if you thought about it too much before you swung in, you might just hit one of the other cars for the first time in your life.

Before this election I predicted the results with a fine accuracy. I usually do. To be fair, my doctor brother made the same predictions I did.

By now everybody will tell you they did, too. But we actually did.

So some people asked me HOW I got it right.

I haven’t the foggiest notion.

I started driving — legally — when I was fourteen years old. I was carrying around my first political petitions a year before that. I had done both politics and driving a good while before that.

So during the 2004 political campaign while the pollsters were doing state-by-state scientific analyses and had their hands on the public pulse, I was sitting here watching cable television. I got it right. They got it wrong.


Even Dick Morris, who is a political expert extraordinaire, made the statement that the election would be “very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, VERY close.”

I didn’t think so. I figured it wouldn’t be runaway, but Bush would win comfortably. In fact, I had very little doubt about it. It seemed obvious to me.


I haven’t got the foggiest idea.

I said months ago in [Kerry’s Two Fatal Problems] when Kerry was leading in the polls, that it would be miracle if he won. In that case I was explaining that the Clintons didn’t want him to win. The media are just discovering that, though the Augusta Chronicle ran two op-eds by me that said that months ago.

But that Clinton explanation just a point I wanted to make. Even if I hadn’t come up with that, I knew that Kerry was just plain losing.

If I were in Dick Morris’s position, where he has to explain what he is saying and think about it a lot, I would probably have made the same mistake he did. If I tried to swing my car into a parking space and I had to explain every move I made, I would probably ruin somebody’s fender.

  1. #1 by Elizabeth on 11/30/2004 - 3:40 pm

    I spent a lot of time holding my breath, waiting for the Republican Party and/or the Bush campaign to drop the ball.

    It’s been stupid before.

    The day of the successful Frost Belt Presidential candidate is long gone. All that talk about Pataki and Juliani as viable candidates is just that — talk. They both have the fatal weakness of being residents of a Frost Belt state.

    I think it’s interesting that some people in the national media have actually said on air that Hillary chose the wrong state, that she should have run for the Senate from Arkansas.

    A Presidential candidate needs to be likable, too. That definitely rules out Hillary!

  2. #2 by Don on 11/30/2004 - 4:29 pm

    I predicted that the winner of the election would not be someone I wished to have as a guest in my home. I was right.

  3. #3 by Don on 12/01/2004 - 1:44 pm

    Good heavens, Bob. Now I crashed into a car in the parking lot, while thinking carefully about the steps necessary to park it properly.

    How do I explain this?

  4. #4 by Bob Whitaker on 12/01/2004 - 3:30 pm

    Don, if it was me, I would say that I was thinking so hard that I forgot to notice there was already a car in the parking space.

  5. #5 by Bob Whitaker on 12/01/2004 - 3:33 pm

    Don, it’s okay to have a politician in your house.

    Just count the silverware before he leaves.

  6. #6 by H.S. on 12/01/2004 - 3:55 pm

    Don, just tell them you read Bob Whitaker’s personal blog. They will understand perfectly. What happens next is anyone’s guess. Bob’ll bail you out I’d bet, unless, of course, the white-suited men have been called instead….

  7. #7 by Don on 12/01/2004 - 4:40 pm

    RE: Don, just tell them you read Bob Whitaker’s personal blog. They will understand perfectly.

    I tried this. They told me that if I wanted to plead insanity I should at least be straightforward about it. Then they gave me 3 months of psychiatric counseling and forbade me to log on for one year.

  8. #8 by Don on 12/02/2004 - 2:04 pm

    RE: “Don, it’s okay to have a politician in your house.”

    Doing a remake of “Home Alone” might be fun.

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