The trouble with anecdotes

Updated
 

Mitt Romney occasionally likes to try to make a point by relying on an anecdote. Unfortunately, they tend not to work out well for him.

Remember the Nemschoff Chairs story in Wisconsin? It backfired. How about the plight of the Sackett family, combating burdensome EPA regulations? It turned out the family was complaining about Bush administration policies. The new one is Bill’s Barbecue.

The Romney campaign put together this video, and began talking up the Virginia chain of barbecue restaurants, just this week. The idea, apparently, is that the Obama administration’s policies are responsible for Bill’s Barbecue’s demise.

At first blush, the argument is awfully thin. The basic argument is that the economic recovery hasn’t been strong enough, and as a consequence, the barbecue chain didn’t have enough customers. Of course, by this reasoning, if Democrats pointed to a different restaurant chain that’s thrived in recent years, that would presumably be proof of Obama’s genius. Indeed, the chain was centered in Richmond, and there’s ample evidence the city’s economy is growing quite well, and the state’s economy is one of the nation’s strongest.

But putting logic aside, Josh Israel dug a little deeper and found that Bill’s Barbecue “struggled to adjust to compete with other restaurants,” and “struggled to adhere to public health codes.” The latter included, according to Israel’s research, citations for “critical and non-critical” health-code violations.

Romney’s video seems to have overlooked these details.

Mitt Romney

The trouble with anecdotes

Updated