[UPDATE 8/16/10: Apparently, some dude named Peter Boettke recently linked on his Facebook page to the posting below that I made almost a year ago. I imagine he's also the person who left an "anonymous" comment in the comments to this old posting. I would refer Dr. Boettke, and all those who deign to visit my blog from his Facebook posting, to the original posting made by Nate Silver, which is what I'm referring to. Whatever you think of Silver's posting, the part I'm referencing below is quite funny. And I'm just commenting on this. Think of it as a kind of John Stewart or Stephen Colbert moment of sarcastic humor. As to the question of the "political rhetoric in an intellectual dispute," I have no idea what Dr. Boettke is referring to. My posting isn't about an "intellectual dispute." It's certainly not about policy. It's simply about another person's blog posting concerning a factual lie made by Matt Kibbe. Truly, what is "intellectual" about Matt Kibbe's claims regarding the number of people in attendance at the Tea Party rally last September? And as far as Dr. Boettke's complaints about "political rhetoric," all I have to say is that the rhetoric of my blog postings is generally mild compared to what I've heard coming out of the mouths and on the blogs of many Tea Partiers. If Dr. Boettke would like to have a serious policy discussion about "Obamanomics," I'd be happy to oblige. I'll even throw in some choice references to Friedrich Hayek!]
Statistician Nate Silver, commenting on teabagger leader Matt Kibbe's outrageously egregious lie about the number of attendees at the Washington DC teabagger rally, wrote:
But yesterday, someone told a real whopper. ABC News, citing the DC fire department, reported that between 60,000 and 70,000 people had attended the tea party rally at the Capitol. By the time this figure reached Michelle Malkin, however, it had been blown up to 2,000,000. There is a big difference, obviously, between 70,000 and 2,000,000. That's not a twofold or threefold exaggeration -- it's roughly a thirtyfold exaggeration.Nate, Nate, Nate. Now you know that challenging a blustery macho teabagger's manhood is a really serious insult, and may result in some direct "expression" of 2nd Amendment rights. But the worst of it is in the one subtle detail that only a careful observer will catch. Silver's emphasis on the "thirty" in "thirtyfold exaggeration" is not coincidental. As Silver mentions in the title of his blog posting: "Size Matters; So Do Lies." What Silver is telling us, therefore, is that Kibbe's 53 inch penis size represents a "thirtyfold" exaggeration of its normal grandeur which, when you do the math, makes Kibbe's "Mr. Happy" a regular 1.75 inch worm! Ouch! How Nate Silver knows this is another matter altogether; but still ... for Kibbe, that's got to sting.
The way this false estimate came into being is relatively simple: Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, lied, claiming that ABC News had reported numbers of between 1.0 and 1.5 million when they never did anything of the sort. A few tweets later, the numbers had been exaggerated still further to 2 million. Kibbe wasn't "in error", as Malkin gently puts it. He lied. He did the equivalent of telling people that his penis is 53 inches long.