December 22, 2005

The Wrong Man

Left Blogistan has been a-buzz today with discussion of Ben Wallace-Wells' WaMo profile of Kos.

While the Confidence Man holds no brief for Kos (truth be told, we generally do find him and his Kossacks too shrill to be productive), we do consider ourselves among the blog triumphalists helping to sweep aside the deadwood of print journalism (if we may be so grandiloquent).

We are also, of course, baseball fans.

And being baseball fan and blog triumphalist alike, we know that when Wallace-Wells deploys Bill James as a conceptual metaphor for Kos's activities, we know that he's utterly wrong.

The operative model is, of course, Oakland's Billy Beane.

And the East Coast Establishment, Ivy League hopeful yearning of Wallace-Wells' invocation of the Red Sox' hiring of James and consequent WS Championship is all washed up. James didn't win the Series -- owner John Henry's money (intelligently spent by Beaneiac more than Jamesian GM Theo Epstein, building on a team framework largely inherited from Epstein's predecessor) won the Series.

And, of course, Beane's most famous comment from Moneyball -- "My shit doesn't work in the playoffs" -- would have been a much more apt anecdote to sum up Kos's political efforts in '02 and '04. To wit, Kos, like Beane, was able to utilize new principles of technology, organization, and data analysis to build a cheap, efficient machine to succeed at the margins where the mainstream market was most inefficient -- but ultimately both keep failing at the final test (playoffs, elections).

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