Why are Republican's so surprised?
American conservatives are still trying to get over losing the election on Tuesday. And it wasn't close. It was the same margin Bush won in 2004 and back then that 3% was called "a thumping". Conservatives lost governorships and senate seats, they lost on pot and gay marriage. Karl Rove, the guy who elected a bad president twice spend $390 million dollars and lost the presidency to a flawed democrat in a sluggish economy. But that's what you get for drinking Kool-aid made from bathwater.
Having spent the election cycle feeding on hopelessly biased and often deliberately manipulated news, numbers and talking points the hard right was prepared for a Romney surprise. Right up until the moment the Republican nominee walked on stage to deliver his concession, surrogates were still sputtering about absentee ballots and improperly weighted polls. Like the Wizard of Oz, strategist Karl Rove was nakedly exposed on live television insisting it was “intruding on the process” when Fox News called Ohio for Obama. The President carried the state by 3 percentage points.
It was so unthinkable to this crowd that a bumbling, apologizing, teleprompter-addicted, globally acknowledged failure was even running that the cognitive dissonance of his victory must have shorted out a few brain stems. Could this be the first crack in the Bell jar American conservatives have been living in?
In recent years I have written often about the alternative universe the U.S. right has devised for itself. It’s a self sustaining belief system sealed off entirely from the real world with caulking made of paranoia. They have their own economics, history and science.
This alternative universe sustained its followers through the Bush years and the perceived aberration of Obama’s first term. But the prospect of Obama being re-elected caused a disturbance in the force. In the face of aggregated polls agreeing on an Obama victory Romney supporters denounced the polls as a liberal scheme to tilt the table for Obama.
The denial reached a level of absurdity when the September jobs numbers were surprisingly good. Clearly the Labor Department had cooked the books on orders from the Oval office.
But there are limits to the extent of this incremental lunacy. Barack Obama won on election night. You can’t really argue with that.
The Tea Party set will surely launch one last manning of the barricades. In an e-mail exchange with me libertarian pundit Wayne Root defended his prediction of a Romney landslide. “It was based on gut instinct that no President could be re-elected with this horrible economy,” he wrote.
Root believes it was Hurricane Sandy that undid Mitt Romney’s manifest destiny. “What did Obama actually do but land on a tarmac, wave, take photos and promise checks?” he asks, “With common sense I assumed voters might notice this”.
Will fresh air flow into the right wing bell jar? Repeated defeat is a harsh mistress. With the prospect of a third drubbing in 2016, the real world may be the only option.