Wisdom (before it’s conventional)

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Your readership is not taken for granted. You have lots of other options. So, from time to time, it’s important to be reminded you’re not wasting your time with me. And two recent stories — by political reporters at the New York Times and the Washington Post — seem to confirm that.

Let’s begin with the New York Times, where Jonathan Martin has been doing some terrific reporting. His latest is about the “Republican rivalry” simmering between Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz.

It’s entirely consistent with something I predicted back in July: “[O]n the surface,” I wrote, “Cruz and Paul are friendly toward one another — which is exactly why (at some point) they will try to destroy each other.”

Maybe you thought this was the work of a troublemaker — or merely someone engaged in “concern trolling.” But as Martin notes: “[W]hen Mr. Cruz went to New York City to meet with donors this summer, he privately offered a different view of Mr. Paul: The Kentucky senator can never be elected president, he told them, because he can never fully detach himself from the strident libertarianism of his father, former Representative Ron Paul of Texas.”

Compare that with what I wrote in July: “If you’re Team Cruz, you basically put this message out there via a whisper campaign: ‘Sen. Cruz loves Rand, but let’s be honest. Rand just can’t win with that Southern Avenger thing hanging over his head. And have you read his dad’s newsletters?'”

To what shall we attribute this prescience? Contrary to popular belief, the best “opinion” columns and analysis are still based on historical observation and/or inside reporting.

We hear things.

But that’s not the only example. Over at the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza asks: “Is Chris Christie the Republicans’ Bill Clinton?” In September, I asked a similar question: “Will Chris Christie be ‘the Republican Bill Clinton’?” (In fairness, Reihan Salam had us both beat by months.)

Great minds …

This may sound like bragging or (since you’re already reading this) preaching to the converted. But again, I don’t take your continued readership for granted. I’m blessed to get paid to write about politics. And I’m under no illusion this opportunity is my birthright.

To be sure, nobody gets it right ever time. But more often than most, what gets written in this space is later corroborated (or repeated) by some of the best political reporters in America. (And sometimes, even our wildest speculation turns out to have been at least contemplated.)

So keep coming back. We appreciate you. And, while you’re here, do click the ads!

Matt K. Lewis