Mr. Zakaria is correct that Gov. Palin's recent answer to a question about the economy "is nonsense - a vapid emptying out of every catchphrase about economics that came into her head." ...The same post links to Robin Hanson at Overcoming Bias:
But Mr. Zakaria is incorrect to suppose that these traits separate Gov. Palin from other candidates for high political office. Calls by Senators McCain and Obama for cracking down on "speculators" are full of classic and wrongheaded catchphrases, as is Sen. Obama's vocal skepticism about free trade. Gov. Palin is merely less skilled in passing off inanities and claptrap as profundities.
Before becoming a pundit someone may spend a long career as a trustworthy academic or journalist, giving careful measured evaluations of the small issues before them. As a pundit they may even usually give thoughtful reasoned commentary on issues of moderate importance.Gary adds in agreement:
But every four years, when a major election is at stake, or when a big crisis appears, styles change. In their world folks mutter, "pull out all the stops, this is really important." They may retain the outward appearance of keeping to their previous standards, but in fact they start to say whatever it takes to push "their side."
People that I've come to depend on for sound analysis and useful insight turn into partisan idiots just when their value as careful thinkers would be greatest. They screw up at the worst possible time and lose all credibility.