Thursday, October 1, 2009

Political Science!

Some people might read the Thomas Friedman column mentioned yesterday and think about how depressing it is.

Other people read it and wonder how to operationalize his hypothesis. Those people are political scientists.

As a political scientist, my response is that, OK, all of these seem like credible explanations, but how would we know if any of them are actually correct? After all, we’ve got five explanations here for what is essentially one observation: the current state of the US political system. To be fair to Friedman, he’s probably got an implicit N (the number of observations) of 2 in mind: the US now, and the US in the past. This would at least get us variation on some of the variables he has proposed (e.g., the 24 news cycle, the blogosphere, and the permanent presidential campaign), but would still leave us with more explanations than observations.
It's actually a pretty interesting blog post at The Monkey Cage, and a good reminder that there is a hearty band out there trying to make sense of it all.

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