The Daily Banter

Republicans are ‘Unskewing’ Reality to Match Their Self-Deception

My Monday column unskews the Unskewed Polls website and how Republicans are desperate for polls that match their fictitious view of the president.

Last week, when the conservative British commentator Stuart Varney said on Fox News Channel that every poll, including the Fox News poll presumably, doesn't "feel right" and dismissed the "mathematical gobbledegook" used to ascertain the respective results, it all made sense to me.

Conservatives are liars. To themselves more than anyone else.

The conservative self-deception has fooled many of them into believing the president is less popular than he is, that Mitt Romney is more electable than he is, and that the economy is worse than it really is. Rewind through the last four years and recall the syllabus of non-reality-based attacks on the president. He'll destroy the nation. He's a secret Muslim. He's lazy and shiftless. He's a socialist. He's a Nazi. He's somehow a Nazi-communist-socialist. He's the only politician who uses Teleprompters. He's solely responsible for the national debt, which somehow didn't exist prior to January 20, 2009. He's pushed "failed economic policies" "down the throats" of the American people. He's responsible for the biggest tax increase in the universe. He gutted welfare reform. He stole from Medicare. He's an unpopular, idiot "man-child" lightweight failure who's apologizing for America and bribing poor black people with free Obama Phones.

None of that is true, except to conservatives who, above race and every other nearsighted justification for their anti-Obama apoplexy, are simply terrified that center-left policies might actually work. Continue reading here.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    Setting aside for the moment the truly alarming idea that so many Americans are truly living in a paracosm, I’m trying to figure out what the upside is of using made-up statistics to delude oneself into believing one’s preferred candidate is not only winning but comfortably so, when in reality he’s losing and in all scientific likelihood he’s going to lose, and possibly lose badly.

    I can think of three potential reasons.

    1. To keep the fundraising spigot open for another week.

    2. To pre-emptively lay the psychological groundwork for feeling cheated and wronged by, and to cry “voter fraud!” at, the legitimate result.

    3. To pre-emptively lay the evidentiary groundwork to legitimize a fraudulent result.

    (1) is the simplest explanation, and probably the correct one. (2) is rather pathetic, and (3) is a bit scary.

    What worries me more about this is that it only further entrenches the GOP/Fox cohort within its paracosm, and commits the Republican Party and its media enablers to continue their ongoing improv act at least for the medium term, if not indefinitely. One could argue that they’re just staving off the inevitable (this fever has to break eventually … doesn’t it?), but one could also argue that they’ve dug in so deep now, gone so far to deny reality and manufacture their own, that they — and we — have reached the point of no return. The paracosm is here to stay, and that bubble is never going to burst. Our only hope is that its population continues to shrink.

    • ninjaf

      I think it is #2. And I also think there could be marches in the streets and talk of “second amendment rectifications,” etc. It is scary to think how far the delusion has gone in order to line the pockets of a few who have made their bread and butter these last few years by stoking these fears.

      Most of me thinks that I am irrational for thinking this way. But then I open my monthly Costco coupons and see them selling end-of-the-world type food supplies and I have second thoughts.

      • GrafZeppelin127

        To tell you the truth, I’m looking forward to the Tea Party et al. using those “Second Amendment remedies,” trying to stage a bloody coup or starting a Second Civil War. I say, bring it on.

        I know that sounds morbid and sadistic and I don’t say it that way because I want anyone to be hurt or killed, and I don’t want anyone to take it as an actual call for violence. I say it in part because I know they’ll never do it, although the little devil in me would love to see them try and would love to watch what happens when they do.

        I agree that #2 is more likely than #3, if only because #3 would be more complicated and harder to achieve. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about GOP fans, especially Tea Party types, it’s that they have an intense desire to feel heroic. But feeling heroic and actually being heroic, or acting heroic, are two very different things. These self-described heroes are really cowards at heart; they disguise fear as aggression and bravado.

        One of the dangers of living in a paracosm is that it becomes your whole world. When everyone in the paracosm believes the same things, the people living in it start to think that the whole world is “on their side.” As Bob points out, this is part of the reason and explanation for the “unskewed” polls; Obama can’t possibly be winning because “everyone” “knows” he’s singlehandedly wrecked the economy and is a dire threat to Freedom™ hell-bent on Destroying America™.

        So far, the polls have not convinced them that their cohort is smaller than they think; they prefer to believe that the polls are wrong or deliberately deceptive. Maybe it will take an attempted coup or a declaration of civil war, and more to the point the public (not to mention military) response thereto, to snap them out of their fantasy. On the other hand, maybe they’ve passed the point of no return.

        • Brutlyhonest

          I’m, also, thinking it’s more along the lines of #2 so they can have even more BS “reasons” to call the President illegitimate.

          The scariest part, to me, of #3 and ensuing response is how openly wingnut so much of the active duty force became over the last 10 years or so of my career. And it seems to have continued/accelerated that decline in the 4.5 years since I retired.

        • ninjaf

          I say it in part because I know they’ll never do it, although the little devil in me would love to see them try and would love to watch what happens when they do.

          Same here.

    • muselet

      To my mind, it’s clearly a combination of all three, but number 2 is the most important.

      Fundraising off the rubes will be helped by cooking the books on polling, although the high rollers already know they’re really investing in 2014 and beyond. Legitimizing a fraudulent Romney win is a longshot twice over, but a sufficiently cynical Republican operative might see value in keeping the option open.

      However, being able to tell tales of widespread Democratic perfidy via Fox News and AM talk radio and the wackier Righty websites gives cover for congressional Rs to continue to refuse to work with the Obama administration. I can even see it being used as an—or should I say “yet another”?—excuse for impeachment in a second Obama term.

      Thus will begin the 2014 congressional election campaign season, followed hotly by the 2016 presidential election campaign season, all accompanied by another round of voter purges and new restrictions on voter rights.

      I fear things are going to get even uglier before they get better.


      • ninjaf

        Thus will begin the 2014 congressional election campaign season, followed hotly by the 2016 presidential election campaign season, all accompanied by another round of voter purges and new restrictions on voter rights.

        Ugh! Please, not so soon!

        But I don’t disagree.

    • bphoon

      Put me down for #2. I all too clearly remember how many right wingers (I was in the Army then, too) held that in ’92, since Ross Perot was on the ballot and Clinton garnered less than a majority of the popular vote, Clinton was illegitimate. This line of “reasoning” held that, since Perot siphoned votes from the right, GHWB would have easily been elected had Perot not run. Therefore, GHWB should have been awarded the presidency by default.

      Problem: Clinton did garner a majority of the Electoral College vote and was therefore legitimately, constitutionally elected. Some never accepted this fact of life.

      As for the paracosm, I agree that it’s exceptionally durable. I think we tend to forget that it existed long before the “modern” conservative movement and the Tea Party–anyone remember the John Birch Society? Back then, they were thought of as fringe cranks who deserved no waste of anyone’s time. The paracosm only grew, starting primarily with Reagan.

      I have to think, given the charade that it’s engaged in currently, that over time, enough people will either voluntarily come to their senses or give up in frustration and leave the paracosm to the Orly Taits of the world that it will either implode or, more likely, shrink back into irrelevancy. I can only hope against hope that it’ll happen sooner rather than later.