There is much talk among the beltway pundits of “momentum” saving Mitt Romney’s Presidential campaign, and our Chief Scientist-Decepticons are pushing back hard. The conflict is being called Politics’ Moneyball Moment.
Nate Silver, regrettably, appears to have confused the concepts of momentum and inertia. (For those who don’t have their Handy Pocket Book of Physics Lies close by, here is a reprise. Momentum is the product of mass and velocity; or, intuitively, why a speeding bullet or a slow-moving train are both hard to stop. Inertia – which Nate calls momentum – is a moving body’s tendency to keep moving, in the absence of other forces like friction. It’s only when forces come into play that momentum matters: the more momentum, the more force it takes to stop. Or, strictly speaking, the more impulse, which is the integral of force over time. Told you lying was complicated!)
Sam Wang, meanwhile, laughs like a drain at David Brooks.
Regardless of Nate’s confusion, surely the clearest indicator of the sorry state of Romney’s campaign is their reliance on a Scientific Concept like Momentum. When a Presidential campaign stops talking about God and American Exceptionalism, and instead starts bleating about satanic concepts like Science, it’s a sign that they are truly desperate.