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Opening Arguments

Just the fax, ma'am

So the big bombshell from Hillary's emails is that she's kind of an imperious dolt:

They also paint the onetime first lady and New York senator as technologically maladroit – she was all thumbs with an office fax machine – and distant enough from her husband Bill that their aides kept each informed about the other's doings.

She used her email to let aides know she was thirsy. 'Pls call Sarah and ask her if she can get me some iced tea,' one message read.

And she hasn't driven in 20 years and didn't know when the Cabinet meetings were and whether she was supposed to attend . . .
OK, the not driving part is too much of a cheap shot even for a rightwing nutjob like me. Most of the politicians who get to that level haven't driven themselves for years.
One blogger has suggested that Hillary (as well as other members of the worst political class in American history) is the emodiment of the Dunning-Kruger effect:

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability to be much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude. Conversely, highly skilled individuals tend to underestimate their relative competence, erroneously assuming that tasks that are easy for them are also easy for others.[1]

David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University have postulated that the effect is the result of internal illusion in the unskilled, and external misperception in the skilled: "The miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others."[1]

The inept don't know they're inept because, well, they're inept. And the highly skilled keep underestimating themselves. Very useful to keep in mind when considering all politicians, and a good metric with which to gauge the candidates in the Republican primary. All we really know about candidates before they take office and show whether they can actually do anything or not is the quality of their rhetoric. I was struck, for example, in Chris Christi's announcement, that he went on and on about how he would talk to people -- tell it straight, speak the truth, etc., etc. Yeah, but tell the truth about what? And then what are you gonna do about it? If you look at his record as New Jersey governor, maybe there's a good reason he doesn't talk about actual policies. 

People still use fax machines? Perhaps when they get called back to the office on that fancy new pager, afterspending the lunch hour catching the tunes on that nifty eight-track.