Peter Travers, writing in a 1989 Rolling Stone magazine review of the film Scandal, describes a scene depicting call girl Mandy Rice-Davies played by Bridget Fonda:
Her court appearance during Ward’s trial for pimping is one of the film’s highlights. Told that Lord Astor has denied their assignations, Mandy retorts, “Well, he would, wouldn’t he?”
That’s the line that I remember from the film and it comes to mind from time to time when I find someone doing something totally predictable.
I think about predictable self-serving statements like Astor’s denial in terms of information theory. In information theory, it is observed that a message whose content is known beforehand with 100% certainty, itself carries no information (has no entropy). There is no reason to send a message if it’s content is already known, and I consider valueless political speech where the self-serving speaker acts the same way they always do in a totally predictable manner.
Much of birther speech these days consists of predictions that we label “any day now.” To me, those predictions, not based on any new facts, and part of an unvarying pattern of unjustified optimism, convey no information. Containing no information, there is no difference between them being said and them not being said.
I don’t want to go off topic and so I will only say that comments from politicians and pundits on a broad range of recent events evoke the same response from me: “Well, he would, wouldn’t he?”