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November 07, 2012 10:33 AM The Mystery of Why Republicans Were So Sure They’d Win

By Paul Glastris

Over the weekend, I had an extensive conversation with a longtime Republican operative, a veteran of three GOP White Houses, who insisted, despite all the poll data to the contrary, that Mitt Romney was poised to win, possibly by a big margin. I knew it was possible that he was spinning me, but the very real sense I got was that he was not, that he truly, honestly believed what he was saying.

Writing from Romney’s Boston campaign headquarters this morning, the Washington Examiner’s, Byron York makes clear that this willing suspension of disbelief was extremely common among members of the GOP.

A few hours earlier, across the street at the Convention Center, the campaign’s supporters and volunteers fully expected Romney to be the nation’s next president. Indeed, what was striking after Fox News called the race for Obama, at about 11:15 p.m., was how stunned so many of Romney’s supporters were. Many said they were influenced by the prominent conservatives who predicted a big Romney win, and they fully expected Tuesday night to be a victory celebration.

“I am shocked, I am blown away,” said Joe Sweeney, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “I thought I had a pretty good pulse on this stuff. I thought there was a trend that was going on underground.”

“We were so convinced that the people of this country had more common sense than that,” said Nan Strauch, of Hilton Head, South Carolina. “It was just a very big surprise. We felt so confident.”

“It makes me wonder who my fellow citizens are,” said Marianne Doherty of Boston. “I’ve got to be honest, I feel like I’ve lost touch with what the identity of America is right now. I really do.”

One of the more interesting questions of this election is how and why so many Republicans, who are certainly just as capable as Democrats at reading polls, chose to ignore the overwhelming statistical evidence that a Romney win was unlikely. I suppose one could say it is not much of a mystery, and that this mass refusal to accept politically inconvenient facts is of a piece with, say, conservative denial of global warming. And maybe that’s all it is. But I suspect that there was something else at play, too.

When I was talking to that GOP operative, he repeatedly said that a big reason he was feeling good about his party’s chances was the sense of assurance he was hearing in the voices of Romney campaign aides on the conference calls he was on. “I know when I’m being bullshitted, and they aren’t doing that,” he told me.

So where, then, did the Romney campaign’s sense of assurance (if it was that) come from? Was their internal polling providing significantly different results than public polls, and if so, why? From his piece, Byron York provides some support for the idea that the campaign’s internal intel operations on election day were less than reliable:


Some Romney aides were surprised too, especially since they had put an enormous amount of effort into tracking the hour-by-hour whims of the electorate. In recent weeks the campaign came up with a super-secret, super-duper vote monitoring system that was dubbed Project Orca. The name “Orca,” after the whale, was apparently chosen to suggest that the project was bigger than anything any other campaign, including Barack Obama’s in 2008, had ever imagined. For the project, Romney aides gathered about 34,000 volunteers spread across the swing states to send in information about what was happening at the polls. “The project operates via a web-based app volunteers use to relay the most up-to-date poll information to a ‘national dashboard’ at the Boston headquarters,” said a campaign email on election eve. “From there, data will be interpreted and utilized to plan voter turnout tactics on Election Day.”

Orca, which was headquartered in a giant war room spread across the floor of the Boston Garden, turned out to be problematic at best. Early in the evening, one aide said that, as of 4 p.m., Orca still projected a Romney victory of somewhere between 290 and 300 electoral votes. Obviously that didn’t happen. Later, another aide said Orca had pretty much crashed in the heat of the action. “Somebody said Orca is lying on the beach with a harpoon in it,” said the aide.

Paul Glastris is the editor in chief of the Washington Monthly. This article was supported by the American Independent Institute.

Comments

  • sjw on November 07, 2012 10:50 AM:

    The Republican disconnect is startling, stunning. "A man believes what he wants to believe and disregards the rest" is part of an explanation. Fundamentalist extolling of faith over reason is part of it, too. So is the age/"class" status of so many Republicans, who are older, "whiter," and "straighter" than what is now mainstream America. As for Project Orca, I have my doubts: concurrently with it were many other polling operations that showed a quite different scenario, but the Romney campaign apparently chose to ignore them. Isn't this just like the general Republican rejection of "skewed" polls?

  • c u n d gulag on November 07, 2012 10:51 AM:

    Orca?

    If you're chasing after angry white whale voters, why not Moby Dick?

  • Marko on November 07, 2012 10:52 AM:

    super-secret, super-duper "systems" rarely work the first time. Maybe next time, Mitt.

  • Daryl McCullough on November 07, 2012 10:56 AM:

    I feel bad now for my lack of faith in my fellow Americans, but the assumption I made when Karl Rove and Dick Morris et al, were predicting a Romney landslide was that the Republicans had some kind of ace in the hole. I wasn't sure what--maybe rigged voting machines, or dishonest election officials, or Republican voters who were intentionally lying to pollsters about who they were voting for, or something.

    I'm glad to find out that the conservative pundits were just being blowhards.

  • Martin on November 07, 2012 10:56 AM:

    It's really not so hard to understand. If you live in a bubble, where everyone thinks like you, where all the news you get reinforce your point of view and everyone else is just lying or hiding the truth, how could you not be convinced that there is no way you can lose?

  • cmdicely on November 07, 2012 11:01 AM:

    I suppose one could say it is not much of a mystery, and that this mass refusal to accept politically inconvenient facts is of a piece with, say, conservative denial of global warming. And maybe that's all it is. But I suspect that there was something else at play, too.

    Was there really, though? Sure, "Orca" may have been the particular manifestation of the mechanism of self-delusion, and, sure, its failure may have been the proximate cause of the campaign's over confidence, but why did it fail?

    A massive, systematic election-day information gathering operation should have made the campaign more informed, not more distant from reality -- so why didn't it?

    I suspect the answer comes down to the fact that it relied on drawing a huge pool of volunteers from among Romney supporters that were dedicated enough to devote time and energy on election day -- and that that's a group of people who have rather disproportionately accepted the reality-is-what-your-ideology-tells-you-no-matter-what-the-observed-facts-say message the Republican Party has been beaming out for decades, and particularly heavily over the last decade or so.

    You spend billions of dollars and many years getting your supporters to reject empirical evidence in favor of ideological dictates issued by the inner circle and driving out the supporters who don't welcome that message, and you may get supporters who are very responsive to authority and propaganda, but you probably aren't going to get a support base that is particularly useful for assembling a massive hard-nosed, clear fact-gathering operation to support informed decision-making.

    Or, as the Bible (KJV) says:
    "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Galations 6:7)

  • grape_crush on November 07, 2012 11:02 AM:

    > For the project, Romney aides gathered about 34,000 volunteers spread across the swing states to send in information about what was happening at the polls.

    a) Those volunteers were probably not impartial.

    b) Those volunteers probably didn't do much/enough reporting on what was happening in swing or non-GOP districts.

    Those volunteers - being motivated Romney supporters - either weren't in a position where they could assess the true picture from the ground or were in denial.

  • Steve LaBonne on November 07, 2012 11:06 AM:

    So they really are as moronic as they appeared. Sweet.

  • hells littlest angel on November 07, 2012 11:07 AM:

    Project Orca was doomed ...

    Nah, I'm trying to lay off the Chris Christie jokes.

  • KK on November 07, 2012 11:07 AM:

    I think you can sum it with one thing...Fox News. If you only get your news from complete bullshitters, you are only going to get bullshit. I trolled over there fairly early last night. I had complete faith in Nate Silver so I was very confident and was wondering what nonsense they were spinning. Liz Cheney didn't disappoint me, saying a narrow Romney victory was coming, just as soon as the Fla. Panhandle reported. Remarkable crap. Hey, if Dick Morris is your man you are screwed. Also, Karl Rove, miserable failure- if he can't steal it he can't get it. Suck on it Karl! Nice use of your victims cash.

  • Mudge on November 07, 2012 11:08 AM:

    I think the woman who said We were so convinced that the people of this country had more common sense than that, also illustrates part of their problem. By people she means, of course, white people and those in the 53%. She simply cannot believe any middle class older white (like me) would ever vote for Obama, so they assume they won't. She believes we'd lie to pollsters then vote for Romney. They continue to assume "Us" is larger than "Them". It isn't.

  • Celui on November 07, 2012 11:08 AM:

    'Orca'??? I read Glastris' article above with a lot of interest, and when I add to it today's NYT article from Thomas Friedman ("Hope and Change, part 2"), it appears that the American voter was more perceptive that most pollsters gave us credit. Combine these two articles, and the Greek tragedy model becomes evident: the great man succumbs to his own hubris, fails miserably, and is abandoned by his supporters. Failure of his/its own making is the message here. The GOP wants to remain the party of the wealthy white male, others be ignored. And, of course, with this is the continuation of the economic policies that have made it possible to punish the poor, ignore the minorities, reward the wealthy, and rape the government treasury with dedicated tax policies that continue to hide taxable corporate income. (If those corporate welfare loopholes were removed today, few domestic jobs would result, but the corporate tax rates would likely be reduced, the sources of wealth would contribute to the wealth-making process, and important social programs would not be made scapegoats for every national ill which faces us. Let's revisit the tax structure which rewards investment to a greater degree than actual labor; let's commit to a real 'green' economy. let's welcome the immigrant rather than demonize him (immigrants don't 'steal American jobs', 'job creators' refuse to pay for labor's contribution to success; and, let's quit the easy answers to everything and realize that we're all Americans, not 'Amurkins', and that our nation deserves the best minds we can educate. The future cannot be based on fearmongering and combative inertia. It still is "We the People".

  • aimai on November 07, 2012 11:09 AM:

    Well, as I believe Jonah Goldberg said about Nate Silver's Polls: garbage in/garbage out. A system for data collection and analysis is only as good as a) the data collectors and b) the data analyists...oh, and let's not forget c) the plan for using the data. The votebuilder system used by Obama and Warren had its overreaches and its flaws, people were overpolled, overcontacted, and perhaps many were missed as well. But the system worked and worked hard over a number of months because it was responsive to the issues of ground level canvassers and it could be curnched to produce reliable ACTION ORIENTED data like end of day walk lists and phone lists in the last month of the campaign. Anything that was merely going to be deployed in the last week or day of the campaign and the day of the polls was going to be about as much use as a camera focused on a crime committed on mars. You might just barely be able to make out the action but you sure as hell won't be able to do anything about it.

    aimai

  • Anonymous on November 07, 2012 11:09 AM:

    Byron York makes clear that this willing suspension of disbelief was extremely common among members of the GOP.

    What? The party who thought Romney could massively cut taxes AND massively grow defense spending AND balance the budget was caught unawares in a suspension of disbelief? You don't say.

  • Ashbee on November 07, 2012 11:13 AM:

    Misinformation feedback loop.

  • SecularAnimist on November 07, 2012 11:13 AM:

    The answer is simple. It's the same reason that George W. Bush was so confident that he would win Florida in 2000.

    However, this time, the GOP's efforts to steal the election through voter disenfranchisement and fraud failed.

  • Eric Carrig on November 07, 2012 11:13 AM:

    I don't think the Romney camp realized how extreme they appeared to a lot of people. I don't think they realized the negative impact the 47% comment, range of assaults on women, vagueness of the economic policy, and flip-flopping had on moderates, especially women. I think they just didn't understand the people.

  • sue on November 07, 2012 11:14 AM:

    agree with amai above.
    This sounds like some of the ridiculous corporate bullpucky that is sold by management consultants as corporate improvement but really just produces new jargon, resentment and systems gaming.

  • Ronald on November 07, 2012 11:16 AM:

    One quote up there said it all:
    ""It makes me wonder who my fellow citizens are, said Marianne Doherty of Boston. Ive got to be honest, I feel like Ive lost touch with what the identity of America is right now. I really do.

    When all you listen to is the Faux news/Limbot echo chamber, then all you will hear is a point of view that, well, puts you out of touch with America today.

    It is just that simple, IMO.

  • biggerbox on November 07, 2012 11:18 AM:

    The stories about Orca illustrate some of Romney's biggest problems. He really doesn't know how to run an effective campaign, and he isn't really very good at picking effective people to work for him. The whole idea of Orca sounds doomed to fail. He'd have been awful as a chief executive for a large organization.

    By contrast, Obama had a thank-you email in the boxes of his supporters before people on the West Coast went to sleep.

    It's true that the right-wing prefers wishful thinking to reality, but it's also true that Mitt ran a fairly mediocre campaign against a real master of politics.

  • JustMe on November 07, 2012 11:21 AM:

    For the project, Romney aides gathered about 34,000 volunteers spread across the swing states to send in information about what was happening at the polls.

    amai nails the issue at hand-- What data could these volunteers be reporting n election day that could possibly be useful?

    All that matters is the ability to crunch data on the ground and turn that data into action. Orca sounds like a microcosm of everything that is wrong with Republicans: Orca was just a machine to tell Republicans what they wanted to here, rather than a tool that tells them the facts that would guide their decisionmaking.

  • Elie on November 07, 2012 11:23 AM:

    Following its beloved corporatist model, one can see how speaking the truth to the boss was not the route chosen. Anyone currently working the ropes in an American corporation knows how hard it is to actually inform the power hiearchy about anything that they do not want to hear. And if you try, you will definitely not only be ignored, but punished. Add to that the religious group think embedded in Christian/Mormon ideology and you have fantasy world of the first order.
    I mean, that they thought that they could win the election with the amount of hate and divisiveness and incredible lie after lie and not have it shoved back in their faces tells a lot about how disconnected they are. It also makes me just breathe a huge sigh of relief that these very disturbed people did not win -- thank God their pathology kept them from modulating their approach. Thank.God.

  • gregor on November 07, 2012 11:24 AM:

    Not surprising.

    If you have ever worked on a large project sponsored by the CEO of a huge corporation who has immense interest in it, you know that it was bound to fail.

    CEOs do not want to hear of results that they do not like.

    Romney campaigned as if he was trying to close a big corporate deal. That was the fundamental flaw of his campaign. All the errors flowed logically from the incorrect basic premise.

  • ceilidth on November 07, 2012 11:27 AM:

    When all you do is talk to yourself you are bound to come up with some pretty odd ideas about the electorate and the country. It's in some ways 1968 and your buddies are saying "come the revolution." The only difference is that back then the people doing that were smoking dope and dropping acid.

  • zandru on November 07, 2012 11:28 AM:

    One reason, which was actually put forth prior to the election, that they thought they would win regardless of what the polls were saying, was the idea that a lot of Republican voters were just shy. These voters wouldn't admit to favoring Romney, because of how the big mean nasty librulz would shout at and abuse them. They expected a good 4-5% bounce from all these secret "conservatives."

    They didn't count on the President tying up the conservative (no "") vote, too.

  • advocatethis on November 07, 2012 11:31 AM:

    This really shouldn't have surprised anybody. Not believing the polling number and having faith in gut instincts is of a piece with denying man-made climate change, disbelieving evolution, and the other denials of science prevalent among Republicans. They are not faking it or manipulating these things for partisan gain...they really don't get science. It's mystical magical stuff to them and they don't trust it.

  • LAC on November 07, 2012 11:31 AM:

    Well,Marianne from Boston, when you live in a bubble and get your news information from cretinous life forms like Dick Morris, it is no surprise that you are stunned. Now wipe your eyes, put your petticoats away, and join the rest of us in this era. Or walk into the Boston Harbor...either way...

  • Virgil Bierschwale on November 07, 2012 11:32 AM:

    I've spent the last ten years trying to understand what has happened to opportunity in America and the one thing that stands out is the denial of our leaders, whether they be republican or democrat, media, or even business.

    There are three camps that I describe in this article.

    http://keepamericaatwork.com/?p=208331

    This is what is happening.

    I know most of you will not believe it, nor will you try and disprove it which is why the chasm between the have and the have not will continue to grow and why pre-ordained things like the romney, or even the next obama (whoever that is) will continue to fail.

    We need to understand that the American economy drives the world like I attempt to show in that article, and in more detail in the link within that article so that we can fix the problem and bring both the extremists of the right and left back to the center where we will find prosperity and Balance between the Business communities need for Profit and the Peoples right to a life that should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.

  • scott_m on November 07, 2012 11:35 AM:

    Back in 1972, Pauline Kael was supposed to have said something like "How could Nixon have won? No one I know voted for him."

    Forty years later, it's the same shoe on a different foot.

  • Zorro on November 07, 2012 11:37 AM:

    The name Orca, after the whale, was apparently chosen to suggest that the project was bigger than anything any other campaign... had ever imagined.

    Well, there you are then- they picked the wrong cetacean. Everybody knows that blue whales are much bigger than orcas (aka killer whales).

    -Z

  • Neil Bates on November 07, 2012 11:37 AM:

    Paul, lots of people have speculated, and I tend to agree, that Rs/R-R were most of all trying to whip up a self-fulfilling prophecy about the election results. And despite the thrashing of the idea last night, they - true to form - will double down and do it more and more, instead of trashing it as "reasonable" people are wont. This is their way.

  • AndThenThere'sThat on November 07, 2012 11:39 AM:

    @biggerbox

    Right before Ohio was called last night Chuck Todd was describing the differences in the campaign teams as one playing in the major leagues and one playing in the minors.

    Romney's supposedly super successful leadership abilities and business acumen that made him the elite choice to run against Obama were little more than wisps of smoke. He got were he was because he was born on third base, and he figured out how to screw American workers to get that last 90 ft to home.

    Capctha has a sense of humor today: teAusto patriotick

  • JoanneinDenver on November 07, 2012 11:40 AM:

    I was so sure that the Republicans were going to win; that I stopped listening to
    talk radio and spend all of yesterday watching reruns of "Bones."

  • Daryl Cobranchi on November 07, 2012 11:40 AM:

    Orca sounds like the micro-tracking program that the Obama campaign ran on Election Day 2008. Smart phones weren't really part of the package, but we were tracking (and contacting) those who hadn't yet voted right up until the polls closed.

  • Anonymous on November 07, 2012 11:40 AM:

    "Romney campaigned as if he was trying to close a big corporate deal. That was the fundamental flaw of his campaign. All the errors flowed logically from the incorrect basic premise."

    Absolutely.

    The Republican Party continually touts that it will run government "like a business". That should be remembered each time and the time before this when Dubya was living in HIS fantasy world. American business itself hasn't been run like a business for a long time -- meaning -- enterprises that use facts and a clear assessment of the real market and its needs to design and deliver its products, generating good jobs and decent profits for itself. The Romneyites built a horrible product for this election and proceeded to try to ram it down our throats without noticing that many people did not want what they were selling.

  • Ron Byers on November 07, 2012 11:40 AM:

    This "mystery" is important. Many of the people who have lost touch with reality are the business owners (large and small) and corporate leaders we work for and have to deal with every day. How can we encourage the "angry white men" to leave the Fox News bubble. America's future hangs in the balance.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on November 07, 2012 11:42 AM:

    Well, if you heard the Official-Anal-Fissure-of-the-GOP Alex Castellanos' prediction on CNN just as the polls were closing that a new wave of Romney support is just waiting to inundate the electorate then you'll understand the GOP's silent shock (boy, was it nice watching the GOP in Boston stare silently at those big screens).

    According to that asshat, conservatives and republicans were collectively mis-reporting their voting intentions to those stoopid pollers. Why? Because these conservatives aren't the "cool kids". They'll be laughed at by us big, bad, way cool, popular-type liberals... So they all just pretended to be for Obama or undecided... And just you wait, the silent conservative majority will prevail...

    Seriously, pompous asshats like Costellanos were actually explaining away the polls just like that as of the first wave of closing east-coast polls. I just wanted to slap somebody. But as it turned out, I didn't have to because they got slapped with reality at 11:15PM, Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

  • Del Walmar on November 07, 2012 11:43 AM:

    Outsider Nate Silver's successful interpretation of information in plain sight, proves that the Reagan worshipping elites who have impoverished the American middle class over the last thirty years, just aren't that bright.

  • Neil Bates on November 07, 2012 11:47 AM:

    Yet sure, a lot of the difference has to do with that faith/advertising-business attitude that you believe what you want to happen, etc - which actually fits in with, the SFP concept. It just didn't affect *other people* enough, and there was the great ground game of the Democrats and allies. BTW Nate is really able to crow as his (sometimes odious) critics eat crow!

    Heh, "average romioma" - hmmm, the Romney tumor was excised by scientific averaging?

  • bigtuna on November 07, 2012 11:56 AM:

    As open minded as I try to be about people with strong religionous convictions, this might be a case of belief superceding perceptions of reality. God can only carry you so far, and if your world view is strongly guided by a faith in God and her will, there is bound to be times when her plan is not interpreted correctly.

  • cecilia on November 07, 2012 11:58 AM:

    Saw Orca in action briefly yesterday - I was not impressed. I was asked to spot the Democratic poll watcher at my precinct so he could take a break so was sitting next to the Orcas. The volunteers seemed to be poorly trained and confused. There seemed to be glitches in the software. While I was there they put in the name of a voter who was checking in and their software reported that she had already voted (she hadn't) and apparently that had happened a number of times.

  • Larry Reilly on November 07, 2012 12:07 PM:

    The problem is that they all watched Fox News, Cavuto, Hannity, O'Reilly etc.

    I expect they truly were surprised that here is a very real universe not of their own making.

  • Crusty the ex-Clown on November 07, 2012 12:27 PM:

    Can you say "hoisted on his own petard?" So the empty-suit vulture capitalist, who only knows how to dismantle companies, relies on an election team of doubtless hand-picked young computer-savvy business types to launch a new product - his campaign - to catapult him into the White House, and it flops. Thank God he did it to himself in the election instead of to the entire country later. Born on third base and thought he'd hit a triple, indeed.

  • digitusmedius on November 07, 2012 12:42 PM:

    If this really was how Romney's aides were looking at this election doesn't that fit with their overall incompetence. With the etch-a-sketch comments, and doubling down on the Lie in Ohio and even exporting it to PA and either propagating the false idea that the President never said anything about Benghazi for 2 weeks, etc, etc; it seems to me this staff was just completely overmatched. Of course, Romney picked 'em so he got what he wanted, evidently.

  • kolembo on November 07, 2012 12:52 PM:

    Along with the 'skewed' pollsters, these people created a complete bubble around their viewers, and Fed lies into the cocoon continually

    I read their comments sections with sympathy and disbelief

    they simply can't understand how America would vote for a demon

    because essentially he is

    The voters have to take some portion of the blame of course - consumers have choice and they chose only those channels of news that reinforced this constructed reality...no impingement from outside AT ALL!

    but their media hid from them even their own Republicans who's views did not comply

    its painful reading

    They're in shock and I'm feeling for them

    Some however, are in shock at the level of shock. It would be good to hear from them

    But...HERE'S...what REALLY went wrong...

    http://kolembo.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/ladiesnightmikeluckovic.jpg

  • James E. Powell on November 07, 2012 12:52 PM:

    The Republicans' susceptibility to overconfidence, and some Democrats' as well, is influenced by if not a product of the two Bush "victories" in 2000 and 2004. The voter purges, the fixes at the state and local level, the corruption of the Supreme Court, and the fact that they have all the money in the world supports the belief that they can produce any outcome when they really want it.

    Turns out they can't.

  • bluestatedon on November 07, 2012 1:23 PM:

    There's really no mystery at all. When a party is completely in thrall to a base comprised of people who honestly believe that that evolution is a fraudulent theory inspired by Satan, that climate change is a scam concocted by liberal scientists to get research grants, and that Adam and Eve had vegetarian dinosaurs for neighbors in the Garden of Eden 5,000 years ago, there is no interest whatsoever in acquiring data in a scientifically-accurate manner from objective external reality.

    More simply, today's GOP is a theocratic party of militantly ignorant evangelical Christianists bankrolled by a thoroughly reactionary financial elite, and both desire a return to the 19th century because they regard modernity with horror, fear, and disgust.

  • jayackroyd on November 07, 2012 1:31 PM:

    I can't get over the suspicion that the GOP consultants were in full bore grift mode. Be curions whether Orca was a stsff operation, or outsourced.

  • BillFromPA on November 07, 2012 1:47 PM:

    Two things, first, most of the GOP are more religious than the population at large,they're believers in things in the absense of evidence. Who can forget the quote by the Bush official who denegrated we Lefties as living in the 'reality based world'? They thing if they believe a thing hard enough, it becomes real. Really!

    Second, this quote, It makes me wonder who my fellow citizens are, said Marianne Doherty of Boston. Ive got to be honest, I feel like Ive lost touch with what the identity of America is right now. I really do.

    They live in a bubble, can't comprehend how someone can collect information from their 5 senses and come to any conclusions other than those they hold, can't imagine any worldview other than their own. The world they knew, or thought they knew, no longer exists and they're just coming to the realization that it is they who are the odd birds.

    Wiser political observers than me have commented that somewhere in the Tea Bagger lizard brain is the realization that they and their whole world is fading fast and this election might be their last chance to stop and reverse the arrow of time.

  • Sean Scallon on November 07, 2012 2:02 PM:

    In other words systematic closure. Everybody was telling everyone else the same positive stories, so of course they had to be true, right? We wouldn't lie to ourselves, right?

    What does this remind you of, Iraq?

  • RaflW on November 07, 2012 2:36 PM:

    It makes me wonder who my fellow citizens are, said Marianne Doherty of Boston. Ive got to be honest, I feel like Ive lost touch with what the identity of America is right now. I really do.

    She'd be far better off wondering who her media authorities are. She's lost touch with the identity of America because she's much happier inside the bubble.

    I was a little kid in the late 60s but I'd imagine that a lot of people said similar things then, though the big 3 networks at least didn't allow for the Fox-segmented alternate reality show of modern life.

    Change is hard. Acceptance of change is even harder. Not even being shown that change is around you? Pretty impossible.

  • Dan Purrington on November 07, 2012 2:41 PM:

    To begin with, how could one vote for the same crew, more or less, who created the mess in the first place? Second, how can one take seriously a party which, for its own selfish reasons (and stupidity) denies the reality of climate change? And what to say of a party which pretends to fix the deficit/debt problem without new revenue? Can't do it! Finally, folks, let's face it...much of the aversion to Obama has one source--racism.

  • Anonymous on November 07, 2012 2:49 PM:

    If Republicans are all so clueless, why didn't the first string get involved this year? Why did we have a primary season featuring Herman Cain, Michelle Bachman and Rick Santorum rather than, say, Christie, Daniels and Kasich? I reject the theory that this result took the Republicans by surprise.

  • Daniel Kim on November 07, 2012 4:05 PM:

    I know when Im being bullshitted, and they arent doing that, he told me.

    I hope this guy's job doesn't depend on his BS detector.

  • Amusing Alias on November 07, 2012 10:37 PM:

    Romney's single credible qualification for the Presidency was that he was a data expert. It was especially disheartening to discover last night that even that was a deception.

  • pjcamp on November 07, 2012 10:39 PM:

    Look, Democrats did the exact same thing in 2004 when Kerry was losing. I recall reading dozens of blog posts arguing that party identity isn't all that malleable so obviously the polls are getting it wrong.

    This is not uniquely conservative. It is human nature, when you see a thing greatly desired slipping away, to grasp at any argument which will tell you that it isn't really doing that.

    Because I've now seen this play out equally on both sides, I no longer have any time for pundits that aren't driven by objective data. Y'all's guts are worthless.

    And Orca is nothing but a giant rumor aggregator. That isn't data.

  • Stastny on November 07, 2012 11:14 PM:

    This is interesting but probably incorrect. There is evidence (leaked to CNN as the first results were coming in) that Romney and his people, if not Republicans as a whole, knew very well that they were losing Ohio. This might have been some kind of weird spin-move, I suppose, thought it's hard to understand to what purpose if so. And really it makes sense, looking at the events: the ridiculous Jeep ad and the quixotic late play for Pennsylvania were surely acts of sheerest desperation. Presumably they knew as well that they were losing Wisconsin, Iowa and Nevada, and hence the election.

  • June on November 08, 2012 12:47 AM:

    Romney's supporters got fleeced by Romney-the-con-man. Why are they so surprised? Did they think that Romney's relentless lying stopped at the border of the great unwashed? "Project Orca" -- really? As I've said before -- the GOP may as well have run Madoff or Allen Stanford as their nominee. That's how much credibility Romney ever deserved.

  • Terry on November 13, 2012 10:53 PM:

    no surprise.
    They knew it was about the economy.
    Romney could veer sharply right, then back to center and no one will notice...because its the economy.
    Romney could present no plan or ones so vague they didn't make sense ...because its the economy.
    Every step of the way, Romney's entire strategy was to be the last man standing stating 'I'm not Obama' ...because its the economy.
    Romney let the radical right wing run amok ...because its about the economy.
    Thinking Americans knew it was more complex then that.
    So did Obama.