How can Andrew Sullivan still have the Von Hoffman award when Von Hoffman has been proven basically right? — Matthew Zeitlin (@MattZeitlin) December 23, 2009
Scores of readers are echoing this one:
You wrote, regarding Dick Morris’ latest nomination:
He should really be ineligible for this award; the competition doesn’t stand a chance. No pundit is as relentlessly wrong as Morris.
This begs the question, why not rename the award “The Dick Morris” award? I’m a well-read political junkie and a 10-times-a-day Dish reader, and I still have no clue who Von Hoffman is.
Another points to a 2009 post from Ben Carlson:
New York Observer columnist Nicholas von Hoffman notoriously predicted American failure in Afghanistan in 2001, just as troops were marching into Kabul. Has the swing in fortunes in Afghanistan proven Nicholas von Hoffman right, warping the award’s original meaning?
Below are excerpts from von Hoffman’s 2001 piece, cited by Jonah Goldberg when the award was inaugurated:
“The war in Afghanistan, the one (Bush) should never have declared, has run into trouble. Just a few weeks into it and it’s obvious that the United States is fighting blind. The enemy is unknown, and the enemy’s country is terra incognita. We have virtually no one we can trust who can speak the languages of the people involved. With all our firepower and our technical assets and our spy satellites, it looks like we don’t know if we’re coming or going. … “We are mapless, we are lost, and we are distracted by gusts of wishful thinking. That our high command could believe the Afghani peasantry or even the Taliban would change sides after a few weeks of bombing! This is fantasizing in high places. … “Moreover, as hellish as the Taliban are, it appears that the ordinary people of Afghanistan prefer them to the brigands and bandits with whom we’ve been trying to make common cause … .”
Another cites a precedent for renaming the award:
Pollstar, the trade association for the concert industry, gives out annual awards for the top concert venues in the US. For years, every year, the winner of Best Outdoor Concert Venue was Red Rocks Amphitheater. Pollstar finally conceded that all things equal that Red Rocks would always win. It’s a fan and artist favorite … if you’ve been there you understand why. Now, the group splits the award into two: Best Small Outdoor and Best Major Outdoor. Except that the former is called the Red Rocks Award and the venue from which it gets its name is ineligible to win.
Change the name to the Dick Morris Award.
He is a contrarian indicator. The more he is convinced about something, the more I am inclined to believe the exact opposite.
As further evidence, another points to Dick’s piece from Friday titled “It’s advantage Romney after Obama fails to move the needle [in Charlotte]”. Another:
On today’s lunchtime video Morris shrugs it off: “I was hoping that Obama wouldn’t get a bounce but he did.” But don’t worry, he reassures us, because Obama’s re-election is doomed! Making this a choice election will “absolutely destroy him” in the debates, ads and messaging.
Do you remember in 2008 when he thought that Obama was going to win Arkansas and Tennessee? The dude is a hack, and a stunningly bad one at that. He embodies the award. He is the award. The award should be him.
I’ve had an increasingly guilty conscience about keeping that award named after someone who in may ways got the future right – at least righter than I did. So fine. Let’s re-name the award for really bad predictions after this lardacious blowhard. You talked me into it.