Reality bites

Many used their “predictive skills” to say that Romney would win, but Obama was re-elected in a landslide victory.

Mitt Romney was so confident that he would win the election, he hadn't even written a concession speech [REUTERS]
Mitt Romney was so confident that he would win the election, he hadn't even written a concession speech [REUTERS]

A few days have passed since the state of Florida was officially awarded to President Obama, giving him a 322-electoral-vote victory to accompany his continually growing 2.7 percent margin in the popular vote. Yes, our two-year electoral beauty pageant has finally come to an end. 

President Obama was re-elected in a landslide – and yet I don’t know how. For during the week before the election, George Will told me Mitt Romney would get 321 electoral votes, including a win in the state of Minnesota. Minnesota! No Republican has accomplished that since roughly the time John C Fremont was the GOP’s nominee (okay, I exaggerate… slightly).  

Meanwhile, no matter what the math said, Peggy Noonan took out her trusty Ouija board and shared that she was feeling “vibrations”. These vibrations have some mad predictive skills, as they told her Romney was going to win. Likely, these very same vibrations told Hollywood producers that we needed a remake of Red Dawn and General Petraeus that emails are a safe place to keep secrets. 

Will and Noonan are far from exceptions, of course. The Dynamic Righty Entertainment Complex (DREC), from Charles Krauthammer to Michael Barone, Dick Morris to Karl Rove, looked at days where 19 out of 22 swing state polls showed Obama leading and knew in their bones: Landslide for Ole Mitt!

And yes, landslide was the word they often used for their predictions of 320 electoral votes and a dozen red roses for Romney, so I look forward to those very same pundits referring in those terms to Obama’s win. 

In Rove’s case, he had what could only be called a live on-air freak out on Fox News (followed by another one a few days later), when the number crunchers at the station called Ohio for the President. Rove, with his trademark stoicism, decided to do the only thing left: Basically lie on the floor in the foetal position and yell “Khan!” (yes, Star Trek II reference, I couldn’t help myself). 

Perhaps, it’s because a lot of people with rather unsavoury connections gave him a whole bundle of doughnuts to win, and according to Sunlight Foundation, he delivered a whopping 1.29 percent return on investment. In other words, they could have done better betting on Rafalca. 

So in Rove’s case, I’d like to offer a bit of advice. Karl, if you walk into Shelly Adelson’s house in the next few weeks and see plastic lining the floor: Run. Fast.  

Of course, right-wing pundits are far from the only righties living in what Bill Maher calls “the conservative bubble”. Their politicians and grassroots supporters are arguably even worse.  

We’ve seen something beyond just the usual crazy for the past few months. Right-wing whiners showing up en masse in comments sections of blogs and on Twitter calling for “the unskewing” of polls and laughably predicting in the face of all evidence to the contrary that their guy was going to win. We’ve been told that when a woman is raped, “her body has a way to shut down” the pregnancy (it’s like magic beans!).  

We’ve been told global warming is a hoax and watched as Mitt Romney mocked “oceans rising” during his Republican National Convention Speech, two months before Sandy slammed the Northeast.

We’ve been told we don’t need government, except for defence spending, and then we need much more! We’ve been told even though it is proven wrong again and again and again, that if we just cut taxes on people with the disposable income of the Sultan of Brunei, capitalist nirvana will ensue! 

The tax cut thing, by the way, is like the GOP Cloud Atlas. Jump between the 1980s and 2012 and the cast of characters possess eerie similarities. 

This is obviously a problem way beyond Mitt Romney and crew deluding themselves into thinking they were going to win the election (Romney hadn’t even written a concession speech) right up until the moment Ohio was announced and Karl Rove went Howard Beale. 

These delusions, everywhere among conservatives, lead people like Michelle Bachmann to attack government while taking massive farm subsidies. They lead to no policy to prevent mass shootings. Really, they lead to a situation where one party is so bereft of reality – so tied to myth – that it’s almost impossible to get them to do anything in Washington that helps anyone. 

It is time for those who have kept silent during this anti-intellectual onslaught, especially Republicans, to stand up and attack this form of demonic possession. It’s about time for a good exorcism.

Cliff Schecter is an author, pundit and public relations strategist whose firm Libertas, LLC handles media relations for political, corporate and non-profit clients. 

Follow him on Twitter: @CliffSchecter

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