Like so many things that ought to be true, it probably isn't. Still, it is the stuff of lore. No, not my prediction. We haven't gotten to that yet.
The story is that, through some accident, a misprint, a botched instruction, an edition of the Old farmer's Almanac carried an insane prediction of a horrible snowstorm in the middle of summer. In a freak meteorological event, the snowstorm actually happened, and a reputation for the phenomenal accuracy of the publication became cemented in the public mind.
The Old farmer's Almanac became a household necessity.
The locale varies. It is Boston, California, other places. The timeline goes all over. The earliest is 1780 (that would be Boston). The Snopes website, responsible for debunking many popular myths, took a swing at this one. They found an early reference in The Vermont Gazette of Bennington, from January 21 1823.
It is said that, while the celebrated veteran of the Type, Isaiah Thomas, was printing his Almanac for the year 1780, one of the boys asked him what he should put opposite of the 18th of July, Mr. T. being engaged, replied, "any thing, any thing," the boy returned to the office and set rain hail and snow. The country was all amazement -- the day arrived when it actually rained, hailed and snowed violently. From that time Thomas' Almanacs were in great demand.
It is a sad, very sad, fact that snopes found no instance of a summer snowstorm that corresponded to a Farmer's Almanac prediction that they were able to document. Doesn't mean they didn't miss a snowfall or an issue. But they are pretty thorough.
A shame, really. Especially since it would have made a really good introduction to a retrospective analysis of the collapse of the Romney campaign. No, not George in 1968. Rather his son, the self-described street person who, in Horatio Alger style, raised himself by his bootstraps and sheer dint of true capitalistic mindset.
The moral of the story would have been this: If you make enough predictions, you're bound to hit one. Witness Nostradamus, although that predictor of catastrophe had the foresight from his gift of prophesy to make his forecasts more obscure than snowstorms on specific dates. Still, it is possible that Hitler had a sister named Hister.
The real, actual, satisfactual story of the Romney collapse is not that Mitt is not likable. He isn't, but those whose analysis includes that are way off, although the writing is very very good.
It isn't about the expanded role of money due to a wayward Supreme Court. That happened (and the writing is superb), but the real story lies elsewhere.
No, it's not about how Newt's grandiosity was not exploited by Romney or about how Romney took over Virginia through strange electoral rules, entertaining and well written though that might be. It won't be the deliberate disfranchisement of legitimate voters by Republican legislators.
Okay, okay. All those bits of analysis came from one source. But there are others besides me. A quick glance at Taegan Goddard has enough examples to forestall any further work at research.
John Heilemann talks about a coming meltdown of the GOP establishment as it considers a hobbesian choice between an unelectable Mitt and an unelectable Newt, with disastrous effects downline on the ballot. Politico speculates that Newt's momentum and Romney's lack of personality may overcome money and organization. Michael Steele believes conservatives want to hold up a final victor until their collective voice is heard.
Jonathan Chait thinks Newt might make it a contest if he can get enough money. Andrew Sullivan thinks Republicans "are just not into" Romney and he happens to be a truly awful candidate. Brad Phillips wonders if maybe Newt is doing Romney a favor, getting his ex-wife to keep Bain out of the headlines until Romney can claim the nomination.
All right in their little ways. But all miss the real deal.
The true story of the Republican primary campaign will not have been that Romney was beaten. Romney's only hope has been to stay balanced on the razor's edge long enough, keeping his opponents dividing the predominant opposition of the party base itself toward anything the spelling of which begins with "Mitt". He could not maintain that delicate equilibrium for long. The edge has turned into a pin, and Mitt Romney is left sitting with no place to put his feet.
The contest has always been between those who wanted to carry the torch that would light the kindling beneath the stake to which the "moderate" is tied. It looks now like Newt is the winner of that primary, the only real primary. We'll know for sure when Santorum sinks beneath the waves.
I didn't know which member of the extreme conservative wing would win. But I predicted the victory way back before anyone announced.
That makes me the winning prognosticator, right?
I do need to pick up a 2012 OFA on my way home today, though. The predictions may be bunk (but they're better than they have any business being), but you won't find a better astronomical ephemeris for the price.
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