Saturday, 13 August 2016

Can't you take a joke?

I used to be a bit of a political junkie, although my interest in Australian politics has waned over the last decade. However US politics continues to amuse, with the current, never-ending,  Presidential election providing a constant stream of highlights.
The current trend is for the Republican nominee to say something both outrageous and or factually untrue, spend a day or two being defended by his own supporters, before the negative publicity forces him to walk it back with a claim the he was being sarcastic or joking. While this indicates a deliberate strategy of throwing anything and everything against the wall to see what sticks, it often leaves strong supporters twisting in the wind, having defended a withdrawn claim.
Anyone who followed the 2014 FIDE Election would have seen similar behaviour from current FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. After Kasparov gave his campaign speech at the FIDE Congress, Kirsan gave a speech where he basically promised everything Kasparov promised, plus more. The headline claim was that Kirsan was going to put an additional $20 million into chess (to counter Kasparovs offer of $10 million). As someone who witnessed this speech in person, I had assumed the promise was genuine, albeit one made off the cuff.
Of course once the election was over the promise disappeared almost immediately. Leaving the Congress after the vote FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos indicated that the promise was in fact 'bullshit'. The justification then (and repeated by people even now) is that everyone in politics lies and so lying doesn't matter. The problem with this is that planning often depends on these promises (cf FIDE funding to Africa), and the 'here today, gone tomorrow' funding model isn't one that any sensible project planner can rely on.
So it turns out that this tactic did work for the FIDE election, but I suspect it will be less effective in the real world.


Anonymous said...

Neither US candidate likes to be out of the limelight, but they both just make fools out of themselves whenever they speak. It might end up being a contest in self-restraint for egomaniacs.

Heath said...

So he claims he brought in $12 million funding into chess so far in the first 2 years?