Political Animal


September 25, 2012 10:16 AM Let’s Lie To Ourselves!

By Ed Kilgore

One of the most interesting phenomena of the presidential contest, particularly at this late date, is the absolute incredulity with which many conservatives are facing the possibility of defeat. I mean, they just can’t grasp it. Here’s one illustrative example among hundreds, from Peter Kirsanow at National Review, with the plaintive title: “Why Isn’t Romney Up By Ten Points?”

[C]onservatives exhibiting less hysteria do remain puzzled by the polls. After all, the Obama presidency has been a trainwreck of Carter-esque magnitude. Almost every historical predictor shows that Romney should have a sizeable lead: Unemployment is high, consumer confidence is low, two-thirds of voters think the country is on the wrong track, more believe we’re worse off now than we were four years ago, household income has plummeted, gas prices are hovering near record highs, and most voters perceive America to be in decline.

There are really only three ways to deal with all the evidence that Obama is ahead with time beginning to run out: (1) blame it on a bad Romney campaign; (2) argue some 1980-style “big shift” to Romney is inevitable and perhaps already baked into the cake; or (3) just deny it all on grounds most of the pollsters are wrong, biased or both.

Unsurprisingly, this last approach is wildly popular at the moment (Kirsanow mentions it as a possibility). It even has its own Prophet, a man named Dean Chambers who spends his time recalculating everybody’s horse-race polls and approval/disapproval numbers based on what they’d look like if they used Rasmussen’s Party ID weighting.

In other words: if you don’t like what the current electorate seems poised to do, create yourselves another one more to your suiting that’s older, whiter and more conservative just by putting your thumb on the scale (which is exactly what “Party ID weighting” amounts to, with varying degrees of semi-justification).

Aside from the technical arguments over “party ID weighting,” the demands of conservatives for more favorable polls reflects the very strangest of all the phenomena of Campaign 2012, from my perspective: the pathological need of many Republicans to predict victory with a fanatical degree of certainty—yea, with angry hysteria aimed at anyone friend or foe who doubts for a single moment that Republican will win. I’ve yet to entirely figure out whether this is a product of a general POV intolerant to doubt about anything (this is the party, after all, in which it is entirely acceptable to refer to your mundane political activism as “spiritual warfare” aimed at “Satan”); or is based on a mysterious conviction that a lot of votes turn on who voters think is winning; or is just habitual spin by people who see no particular reason to spend any time conceding they could be wrong about anything.

From a practical point of view, the new mania for “reweighting” polls on the Right effectively removes those conservatives who indulge in it from any meaningful dialogue with the rest of us. But I suspect they are too busy lying to themselves to worry about that. I shudder to think how the conservative punditocracy will react to an adverse result on November 6, but it would be wise to have a lot of decompression chambers handy.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • SadOldVet on September 25, 2012 10:29 AM:

    While it is still early, we have started preparations for a non-denominational bipartisan 'Wine & Cheese' party on November 7th.


    Wine & Cheese Party
    First United Methodist Church
    November 7, 2012
    9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

    Democrats should bring cheese.
    Republicans will bring the whine.

  • g on September 25, 2012 10:29 AM:

    I've never in my lifetime seen as much ridicule of a presidential candidate as there is of Mitt Romney, and as much main-stream press articulation of his campaign going off the rails. Never, in my 57 years, have I seen such an acknowledged agreement that he is an unlikeable, out of touch, feckless loser.

    So it truly makes me wonder why the right would even WANT to champion him?

  • boatboy_srq on September 25, 2012 10:31 AM:

    It doesn't help that so much of the Reichwing has been propagandized into thinking they're Righteous™, Patriotic™, Representative of The Majority™, and Bound For Victory™. They can't possibly lose because of all of this. That they've been hornswaggled, and the actual majority doesn't agree with them, doesn't enter their heads - and if it does that just means there are more of Teh Unclean to convert to their Righteous Cause (or kill in the attempt).

    It's Crusade and Inquisition rolled into one ugly lump.

  • Peter C on September 25, 2012 10:31 AM:

    "From a practical point of view, the new mania for “reweighting” polls on the Right effectively removes those conservatives who indulge in it from any meaningful dialogue with the rest of us."

    To what 'meaningful dialogue' are you referring, Ed? I haven't seen any 'meaningful dialogue' with conservatives in years and years.

  • Jeff Hebert on September 25, 2012 10:36 AM:

    I just wanted to say that "An intolerance of doubt" is a great phrase. And it would make a great book title, too (hint hint, you should write it!).

  • c u n d gulag on September 25, 2012 10:39 AM:

    What’s funny to me, is that Mitt, the best out of the container of mixed nuts who the Republicans put out there for the guests, would have had a much better chance in the general election if he hadn’t had to so out-retard the other retards in their Primaries (with apologies to real retarded people, who don’t willingly make themselves that way for political and personal gain), that he now can’t find the center again if Hansel and Gretel had left French-bread loaves as markers.

    And that ain't a thumb they're putting on the scale, it's John Holmes schlong.

    Yes, CRAPTCHA, some ickenza it is...

  • delfin on September 25, 2012 10:44 AM:

    Honestly, this is Campaign 101. No matter how screwed you are, you always put up a brave face and push for every last vote because admitting weakness is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Now, AFTER the election? That's when Romney gets buried from all sides, lamenting how this election was his for the taking if he'd only been a True Conservative and if he'd Unleashed Paul Ryan and if he'd Reached Out to the Tea Party and yadda yadda (also Rampant Voter Fraud and Racial Identity Voting and Black Men Spotted At Polling Places).

    But not yet. They're still holding out hope that Obama will get caught on live TV fellating an Iranian or something like that. When you've spent this much time, money and effort, you ride the train 'til it crashes.

  • Ronald on September 25, 2012 10:47 AM:

    One thing stood out in the quote you used, Ed:
    "After all, the Obama presidency has been a trainwreck of Carter-esque magnitude. Almost every historical predictor shows blah blah blah."

    The difference (and yet another 1980 difference) is that Carter crashed the economy on his own. Very few (other than the far right who blame Obama for everything from the economy to bad weather) blame Obama for this crashed economy.

  • Gandalf on September 25, 2012 10:49 AM:

    Why should this be the least bit surprising? A group of people who routinely deny the existenece of stark realities aren't going to start changing now. I don't think it's entirely necessary that I list all of the items that republicans don't beleive.

  • Ron Byers on September 25, 2012 10:51 AM:

    The professional Republicans with real presidential aspirations understood early on that the Obama presidency has not been a trainwreck of "Carter-esque magnitude," and that the Republicans would have a tough time fighting a very competent candidate expected to run a great campaign. That is why they didn't run.

    The people who make a living fooling the rubes, the people who are complaining right now and want to regigger poll results to show their guy winning, have a vested interest in fooling the people as long as they can.

  • Peter C on September 25, 2012 10:53 AM:

    Self-delusion is what Republicans are best at. Ever since Reagan (who seemed to convince himself that he wasn't lying because he honestly believed most wellfare recipients drove cadillacs and cashed several wellfare checks every week), the Republicans have been able to convince themselves that they could see a clearer reality than the rest of us. In that 'reality' the Soviet Union was an evil empire; Iraq did have weapons of mass destruction; banks would police themselves; derivatives were perfectly safe investments; health care acts like a perfect market; Harriet Myers was qualified to be a Supreme Court justice; Sarah Palin was qualified to be one McCain heartbeat away from the presidency; cutting tax rates increases revenue; global warming is a hoax; fossils are just 'God's little joke'; we sit upon unimaginably huge reserves of oil; and on and on and on.

    These delusions may be necessary to keep them putting one foot in front of the other every day, but they are not helpful when running a country.

  • kindness on September 25, 2012 10:53 AM:

    I hate to say it but I've heard several rightwingnutz speak of armed rebellion if President Obama wins again.

    Now I don't think that would happen on any large scale but I do suspect the Kool-Aide drinkers may barf up a few incidents. I plan on celebrating on Wednesday 11/7, but I will be cautious. There will be nuts with guns out there.

  • esaud on September 25, 2012 10:54 AM:

    Cognative dissonance is one of the defining characteristics of right wingers. They self-identify as conservative, but in addition the 1) unquestioningly accept what their own perceived leaders say, and 2) have reflexive hostility and even violence to all perceived others.

    Some people have written alot about their systematic closure to anything outside their own group, but in general, their views are not grounded in reality.

    So if Obama's and Carter's presidency are "trainwreaks", what adjective would Mr. Kirsenow use for GWB's two terms? He is simply blinded by his own prejudices to see that voters are afraid of another Republican presidency so soon.

  • fastandsloppy on September 25, 2012 10:54 AM:

    After the election, the vehemence of the accusations that the election was stolen is going to make liberal complaints about the election of 2000 seem like faint muttering. It's going to be very, very ugly. And 33% of the electorate is going to accept it as gospel that Obama's 2nd term is illegal and illegitimate (not that they were much kinder about the 1st term, but they can always be worse). If the GOP maintains control of congress I expect protracted impeachment hearings based on fabricated thumb-on-the-scales polling 'evidence' and wishful thinking. Oh God, I can't tell you how much I dread it.

  • jpeckjr on September 25, 2012 10:54 AM:

    "Every historical predictor . . . " He left out this one: "and we have a really attractive, appealing candidate who's run a shrewd, effective campaign."

    Or, maybe, history just isn't what it used to be. Maybe the historic election of the first African-American President really did change history.

    Or, maybe, as Glastris has noted here, more and more voters see Mr. Romney as another incompetent buffoon like George W. Bush and learned the lesson our recent history teaches us: do not elect an incompetent buffoon to be President.

  • c u n d gulag on September 25, 2012 10:58 AM:

    No, Ronald, Carter did NOT crash "the economy on his very own."

    He had a lot of help from LBJ and Nixon, who threw a lot of money, along with blood, into Vietnam, and Gerald Ford, who was President when that post-war economic backslide started.
    War is its own stimulus.
    Ending a war is it's own recession.

    Also too, I don't think Carter was behind all of OPEC's oil embargo's.

    Also three, it wasn't Carter who had the great idea to present people with Adjustable Rate Mortgages, which then exploded - an epic disaster that taugh the bankers and the Republican Party nothing. That fiasco started before he was elected, too.

  • stormskies on September 25, 2012 10:59 AM:

    I just watched the entire speech that Obama just gave at the United Nations. I had to watch it on Al-Jazerra because it was not on U.S. t.v as far as I could tell. Anyway, it was just incredible to watch this man deliver this speech which was simply incredible.

    I tried to pretend when watching this speech that it was buffoon Romney up there at the U.N. It was impossible to do because he would seem like nothing more than a cartoon character compared to Obama.

  • Leopold Von Ranke on September 25, 2012 11:00 AM:

    Ronald --

    Jimmy Carter did not "crash the economy." It was not doing well in the spring of 1976. The job market was shaky at best for new college grads (the reason many of us extended adolescence by opting for grad school). Inflation was on the rise.

    That said, I don't think Ds should be counting chickens right now.

  • J on September 25, 2012 11:01 AM:

    Self-delusion, no doubt, but re-weighted polls also prepare the way for Republicans to dispute the election and embark on another round of obstructionism after Obama's victory.

  • Steve LaBonne on September 25, 2012 11:05 AM:

    "Self-delusion, no doubt, but re-weighted polls also prepare the way for Republicans to dispute the election and embark on another round of obstructionism after Obama's victory."

    If they hold the House and do keep pulling this crap, they'll be wiped off the map in 2014. Bring it on, teatards.

  • Daniel Kim on September 25, 2012 11:07 AM:

    If Romney loses big, and especially if the down-ticket races also go badly for the GOP, I am sure we'll hear all about how God would never allow an anti-Christ heretical Mormon become president. The Christian Right will undergo some kind of purification period with Jimmy Swaggart-level tears on the megachurch pulpits.

  • John Wilheim on September 25, 2012 11:10 AM:

    What will happen after Romney loses? The same sequence of events that happens every time the right loses. Its pundits will say they failed to get their message out (and/or the media distorted their message) and that Romney wasn't a "true" conservative -- anything but that the voting public heard their message and REJECTED it. Then the GOP will lurch even further to the right. Lather, rinse and repeat in 2014, 2016 and on and on and on.

  • ComradeAnon on September 25, 2012 11:21 AM:

    It's all such a big circle-jerk. For years, I've thought that traffic comes to a halt for something as little as a car on the side of the road, much less an accident, because of Fox's "Cops". It's turned so many into lookie loos. After years of their fair and balanced propaganda, and the republicans living in their own delusional world because of it, I'm convinced "Cops" is responsible. Throw in the "liberal media" a few Koch billions and a generation of republican appointments and history rewriting and VIOLA! down is up and up is down.

  • patrick II on September 25, 2012 11:22 AM:

    The South thought it was going to win the civil war too -- until the march to Atlanta finally got their attention.

  • max on September 25, 2012 11:22 AM:

    the new mania for “reweighting” polls on the Right effectively removes those conservatives who indulge in it from any meaningful dialogue with the rest of uscontact with reality.

    Fixed that for ye.

    I’ve yet to entirely figure out whether this is a product of a general POV intolerant to doubt about anything [...]; or is based on a mysterious conviction that a lot of votes turn on who voters think is winning; or is just habitual spin by people who see no particular reason to spend any time conceding they could be wrong about anything.


    I think they DO have hold a decent notion in there somewhere. As Lincoln said, 'you can fool some of the people all the time', and I personally believe a certain small part of the population is just exactly like that. They tend to move with the wind - authoritarians consider them to be natural followers. If Obama is ahead and 'everybody' thinks he's going to win, they'll decide Obama is better and vice versa. I'd also say that the R's have been counting on fooling those people for a long long time. They tend to be natural R voters to start with. If it looks like Obama is way ahead, those people won't be inclined to vote for Mitt, and a decent chunk of the R vote will disappear.

    I'm sure they're aware of this at some level. But there's also the 'I hate Mitt but I hate Obama even more' crowd, which is most of the conservative commentariat at this point. If it looks like Mitt won't win, then Obama won't lose, and there's just no fun in that.

    My reading is that this is effectively tantamount to the white flag. They know they're going to lose at this point and they're just going through the motions now. Without ever admitting this is the white flag.

    ['One could be inclined to be merciful in most circumstances like this but, ya know, I want the house back. I already know they're going to try impeachment, so I'm just not inclined to be nice about this.']

  • ComradeAnon on September 25, 2012 11:24 AM:

    Forgot to add. What really scares me is that it means that ballot box manipulation has to be relied on even more. And that's something we can't prepare for.

  • Laughguard on September 25, 2012 11:26 AM:

    Remember, with the possibility of massive election-counting rigging and voter suppression, it's just too obvious if all the state polls show Obama by 9%, and somehow on election day, the result is Romney by 2%. Only if there are competing polls, no matter how disreputable, can Republicans point to the ones that favored them and say, "see, we were right all the time", at least creating enough of a duststorm to hold off investigations of fraud.

  • danimal on September 25, 2012 11:27 AM:

    They have NEVER grappled with the failure of the Bush presidency. Because they have ignored Bush, they figure all real Americans ignored Bush's failures as well.

    Surprise, surprise. If you nominate a candidate with the same platform as GWB, you reap his unpopularity as well.

  • Rip on September 25, 2012 11:34 AM:

    I recall a fair amount of poll denial during 2008, with the term "Bradley effect" being thrown around frequently. It's probably gotten worse because conservatives believe that America has now had an opportunity to see Obama for the failure they insist he is, and that 2010 was undeniable evidence that the voters have rejected the path to "socialism" he represents.

    Poll denial is particularly attractive to conservatives because it plays to their conviction that not just the mainstream media (who often pays for these polls), but the entire information establishment (media, government, academia, think tanks, etc) is "in the tank" for Obama and the Democrats. If you read comments on freerepublic, there are plenty there who feel even Fox has been co-opted.

    Aggravating things further, many on the right started buying into the baseless "Romney landslide" narrative over the summer, and convinced themselves that eventually the polling would reflect this. That the polls aren't co-operating can only be proof that they are rigged.

  • jeri on September 25, 2012 11:37 AM:

    “Why Isn’t Romney Up By Ten Points?”

    Huh. Based on actual factual facts, I've been wondering pretty much the opposite: Why isn't Obama up by 90 points?

  • LL on September 25, 2012 11:38 AM:

    or is just habitual spin by people who see no particular reason to spend any time conceding they could be wrong about anything.

    I vote for this option. Professional goopers have been lying to the world and themselves for so long now they really don't know any other way to be. More importantly, if they lie strongly enough in their own behalf, everyone of any importance to them will conveniently forget how totally wrong they are about everything. And THAT is the most important thing, because being a gooper means never having to say you were wrong. About anything. Ever.

  • Keith M Ellis on September 25, 2012 11:40 AM:

    "The difference (and yet another 1980 difference) is that Carter crashed the economy on his own."

    Not to pile onto poor Ronald, as others have already pointed out that this is false, but I think this is really interesting in that it's a nice example of the non-partisan nature of comforting, false views of reality. Carter was wildly unpopular for two reasons: stagflation and the Iran Embassy Crisis. And he was responsible for neither.

    Stagflation is a very nice example of a very unusual high-inflation/high-unemployment condition that's the result of an external commodity shock — in that case, that OPEC finally managed to control oil prices and, of course, raised them. This somehow tarred both Carter and the Democratic Party and the GOP has used it to bash Democratic Party economic policy ever since. Worse, the increase in the unemployment rate that followed under Reagan when Volker at the Fed radically raised interest rates to control inflation has also been blamed on Carter and the Dems, as somehow the natural progression of Carter admin policy, which it wasn't. The embassy crisis was resolved under Reagan, but deliberately by the Iranians, who at that point hated Carter. These things account for 98% of why people were upset in 1980, and neither was Carter's fault.

    Nevertheless, Carter's presidency was and still is widely understood to be a colossal failure and there's this weird consensus across the entire political spectrum that Carter was responsible for those poor economic conditions.

    The truth is that people re-write political history all the time and very often the revision sticks and becomes the consensus.

    To be very honest, I find myself unwillingly feeling some sympathy to these incredulous conservatives right now, as I have to admit this is very much how I viewed things in late 2004. I believe that underlying fundamentals couldn't support a Bush reelection, just as the conservatives believe now about Obama. In retrospect, I realized that I had far too eagerly centered my views upon polling precedent (Bush's favorability rating) that supported my preference and gut intuition — I thought that Bush had become unpopular. And he had, to some degree. What I didn't account for, and what the conservatives similarly aren't properly accounting for, was how poor of a candidate the opposition candidate turned out to be. Someone else might have beaten Bush, someone else might have beaten Obama. However, as often noted, weirdly in this election cycle the GOP actually nominated their strongest candidate. That they had such an astonishingly poor crop of contenders says something that they ought to consider carefully.

  • Anonymous on September 25, 2012 11:44 AM:

    I just watched the entire speech that Obama just gave at the United Nations. I had to watch it on Al-Jazerra because it was not on U.S. t.v as far as I could tell.

    Um, I watched it on MSNBC. To the best of my knowledge, it was on CNN and C-SPAN.

  • jim filyaw on September 25, 2012 12:08 PM:

    too bad this moron wasn't around in 1936. he could have landed a gig at the literary digest. in all seriousness though, what the republican party has become in relation to reality is sobering. there are enough gullible people out there to make them truly dangerous if they are returned to power. given this degree of zealotry and intolerance, why should they treat liberals and moderates any different than the nazi's treated the socialists and communists?

  • Tom Levenson on September 25, 2012 12:09 PM:

    The delusion is strong in these ones. I note the reflexive attempt ot explain all ills by saying Obama=Carter, which both undersells Carter, and requires ignoring most of what Obama has actually achieved.

    One example: the writer claims "consumer confidence is low" -- which it is, historically.

    But as it happens, the Confidence Board has just released its most recent numbers: a jump to a number above 70, significantly higher than predicted...and more important, close to double the historical low achieved in October, 2008 -- a number around 38. So yeah -- is it where one would wish it to be? No. Is it a vast improvement on the late Bush numbers? Yes. Is this an indication of what Obama has been saying -- a job undretaken seriously, but not yet finished? Sure fits that narrative.

  • NCSteve on September 25, 2012 12:24 PM:

    Actually, all the hysteria, denial and demands for perfect conformity with the received Truth are all quite familiar. This is what's happened again and again when objective reality impinges upon the conservative epistemically closed counterfactual bubble. The bubble breaks, all that harsh disconfirmatory reality floods in leading to shock, bewilderment and terror among the True Believers. And then, ultimately, they go right down the path identified by Festinger, Riecken and Schacter in "When Prophecy Fails," and, ultimately, the disconfirmation results in a redoubling of belief and feverish proselytization.

  • Leopold Von Ranke on September 25, 2012 1:06 PM:


    "Voter supression." Kind of soft, huh? Call it what it is. Disenfranchisement.

  • JCtx on September 25, 2012 1:06 PM:

    I think the problem may be clarified even further by looking at Peter Kirsanow's points individually:

    Unemployment is high: But not as high as it was a few years ago.

    Consumer confidence is low: But not as low as it was a few years ago.

    Two-thirds of voters think the country is on the wrong track: But most of them believe that it is on the wrong track due to Republican policies.

    More believe we’re worse off now than we were four years ago: I'm pretty sure that is not true.

    Household income has plummeted: Again, it's better now than it was a few years ago.

    Gas prices are hovering near record highs: The record highs that occurred at the end of the Bush administration's reign of terror.

    Most voters perceive America to be in decline: That doesn't sound right either.

    Basically, the point is that every theory that they have to suggest that Romney should be doing better is just out and out wrong, but they refuse to believe it. Cognitive dissonance indeed.

  • boatboy_srq on September 25, 2012 1:22 PM:


    More believe we’re worse off now than we were four years ago: I'm pretty sure that is not true.

    Most voters perceive America to be in decline: That doesn't sound right either.

    They well and truly may be accurate if you allow for this: we've suffered through the Great Recession which didn't bottom out until well into 2009 (and from which some of us still haven't recovered) and it's been as painful as it has in no small part because of state-level austerity beginning in that year complemented by one of the most "do-nothing" Congresses in the history of Congressional metrics (#### you very much, GOTea!) bound and determined to do absolutely nothing about the situation just because TABMITWH.

    Some of us are worse off than in 2008, and some of us do have real problems seeing the country's direction repointed - but that's hardly a reason to vote for more of the people who ####ed things up in the first place and continue to #### things up now. This is where "are you better off than you were four years ago?" is particularly damaging to the GOTea: perhaps we are, but the reason for that is the candidates you keep sElecting, and rMoney/rAyn (H/T to - sorry I've forgotten who penned that but it's good) are no better.

  • Vicente Fox on September 25, 2012 1:37 PM:

    If they hold the House and do keep pulling this crap, they'll be wiped off the map in 2014.

    This presupposes a rational electorate. Remember, my Representative is pretty good. It's just everyone else's that sucks.

  • beejeez on September 25, 2012 2:33 PM:

    I don't see Republicans doubling down on the loony if Obama wins and the Dems hold at least the Senate. The GOP's money men were happy to take the beauty-challenged Tea Partiers to the prom until they started dragging down the Prom King vote.

  • JM917 on September 25, 2012 2:50 PM:

    If--I'm still saying that's a big IF, depending on turnout sizes (ours and theirs) and global events (an October surprise from Netanyahu?)--Romney and the GOP go down to defeat in November, here's what I expect:

    Republican screams that the election was stolen, and endless "hearings" on this if the Republicans hold one or both houses of Congress;

    At least one, and maybe repeated, attempts to impeach Obama;

    Unceasing attempts within the GOP to close ranks, to the hard right of course, and to crush any within the party who so much as whisper about the need to move back toward the center;

    As a consequence of the above: Down-the-line solidarity within Republican ranks in Congress to block Obama at every turn, including refusal to confirm appointments (will there even BE another secretary of state or secretary of the treasury after Hillary and Geithner retire?);

    As a further consequence of the above: An all-out effort to ensure that only hard-right contenders get into the primaries for 2016--e.g., heading off even Jeb Bush, so that next time around the GOP roster consists of the likes of Rand Paul, Ryan (but only if he joins in the attack on poor Romney), Rubio, Santorum, Halley, and maybe the new heart-trob from Texas, Cruz.

    And I hope that the Secret Service and Homeland Security are on the alert for right-wing crazies with guns and car bombs.

    In view of all this, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Very Serious People of "Americans Elect" persuasion try to launch a "Middle Way" party, drawing primarily on what will pass as "moderate" Republicans: Huntsman might re-emerge here, but Jeb Bush would be a greater catch, and maybe Bloomberg will find this an appropriate outlet for his billions; surely David Brooks and the great minds at WaPo will find this a congenial cause. The idea would be to consign the Tea Party types to the dustbin of history, as ex-Whig leaders did to the Know Nothings in the mid-1850s. The more the hard right dominates the post-2012 GOP, the more inviting it will seem to VSPs that now is the time to strike.

    Let us hope and pray our non-sectarian prayers that some kind of a slow, steady economic revival kicks in over the next few years, for which Obama and the Democrats can claim credit. That, provided another war in the Middle East is averted, should clear the way for strong Democratic gains in the 2014 midterms (assuming a decent turnout and continued craziness on the right) and for a Democratic victory (Hillary?) in 2016.

    Such a victory four years out, plus ongoing demographic changes (including lots of funerals among elderly whites like me), might finally clear the way for a genuine partisan realignment, with "Third Way" neo-Republicans finally getting shunted aside as it becomes obvious that NO national party can survive without getting Hispanic votes. And maybe the Dems will shift further left, leaving more room for "moderate" center-right folks to take over what's left of a chastened and expurgated GOP?

    Today it's bright and sunny, and there's my optimistic forecast. It could be a LOT worse...

  • roshan on September 25, 2012 3:49 PM:

    the demands of conservatives for more favorable polls reflects the very strangest of all the phenomena of Campaign 2012

    Really? Have you never heard of conservapedia? They have been manufacturing alternate reality since quite sometime now. Complaints about polls haven't just started this season. They have been there all along.

  • Repack Rider on September 25, 2012 4:28 PM:

    . I shudder to think how the conservative punditocracy will react to an adverse result on November 6, but it would be wise to have a lot of decompression chambers handy.

    If only being wrongwrongwrong were enough to make R-W shills give up predicting. In the GOP, failure is rewarded by a promotion.

  • @TeaPartyCat on September 25, 2012 5:53 PM:

    Of course there's many ways they are wrong or in denial, but I think the one which is first and foremost and which naturally leads to the rest is the presumption that any Republican would have to win because Obama is so weak. If they just for a moment were to remember all the candidates they wish had run in this cycle, I think they'd see that all of those potential candidates did not view Obama so vulnerable nor his defeat so certain, otherwise they would've run now, rather than bide their time for 2016. Because if they thought a GOP victory was certain now, then not running is waiting until 2020, a long way away, and long enough for any of their stars to fade.

    Romney is an awful candidate, but he was the best among those who chose to run. Why didn't anyone better choose to win? If these guys bothered to try to answer that one, they'd see that victory was never certain.

    Keep up the good work, Ed. I find I read you before Benen these days.

  • boatboy_srq on September 25, 2012 8:12 PM:

    @kindness on September 25, 2012 10:53 AM:

    People look at me funny when I say this election reminds me less of 1980 than of 1860. And then I remind them of that....

  • Vicki on September 26, 2012 12:59 AM:

    Yes republicans are denying the polling data. But they are such liars they think everyone else is a sorry liar like they are. Romney has done nothing but lie and Ryan is a rotten person who should not be in our government when he has such distant for the programs that help people.

  • Elvis Costello on September 26, 2012 1:01 AM:

    You "down the memory hole" libs can't seem to remember that this "oversampling" argument was your same critique in September 2004:


  • Vicki on September 26, 2012 1:35 AM:

    Really republicans thought when President Obama was not able to fix the terrible mess they left in a timely manner Americans would want a republican back in. That is not the case. We have seen the GOP obstruction that did not care about what the recession was doing to the American people, just that is would harm President Obama. But all republicans are still the tax cutting for millionaires, getting rid of Medicare and Social Security and nothing that would please the average American. We have seen republicans obstruct every single solution for the good of Americans. We have heard their lies. We know that sticking with President Obama is the only sane course.

  • Bernard Webb on September 26, 2012 6:55 AM:

    Exactly the same thing happened in 2008. In October, with Obama up 10-12% in ALL polls, ALL conservative commenters on open political forums were ABSOLUTELY, TOTALLY sure that McCain would win. All of the polls were deemed wrong and skewed toward Democrats. And yet Obama won.

    Here we go again.

  • Paco on September 26, 2012 7:05 AM:

    It's a bit like the old story of the General who insists on only hearing good news. The General starts to believe the story he insists on hearing and just cannot understand how he lost the war.

    FOX tells Republicans what they want to hear. In theory, those at the top know what is really happening and the propaganda is meant only intended to keep the ignorant common folk in line. But in the end, even the generals at the top of the party start to believe the propaganda. That may well be where we find the GOP now, living in a dream-world of their own creation.

  • Pastor Agnostic on September 26, 2012 8:30 AM:

    there is another factor which we tend to skip over.

    The vast majority of Americans, from both sides, despise congress. Even the GOP voter is unhappy with the inane performance of the majority in the house. It is not just that they are recognized as obstructionist, hateful, and more concerned to attack the president than to fix what needs fixing, it is that the Tea Baggers have seemingly done the impossible - lobotomized an already brain dead entity - the GOP congresscritter.

  • Louise Stonington on September 26, 2012 2:24 PM:

    It's a strategy to get the votes of the uncommitted.
    Repeating 'Everybody thinks...' will persuade some people that they better get on the bandwagon, even if it's not true. This is pne of Cialdini's 50 proven ways to be persuasive.
    So the repubs are not in a dream world, they are saying what communication experts tell them to say.

  • serfdumb on September 27, 2012 2:32 PM:

    Could it be that voters are not as stupid as the republican party believes they are. We remember who crashed the economy,and we know who's responsible for keeping it from recoving. The latest failure of the veterens jobs bill tells us all we need to know. Isn't that right Mr. McConnell?