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Clip after clip, quote after quote, it appears that the Republican Party and all its cohorts really, truly believed that Romney was going to win this thing, and maybe win big. The visual, verbal and written expressions of disbelief from Romney, Ryan, Rove, Limbaugh, etc., are just overwhelming. But is it real? Were they "shocked", or to quote my favorite movie, were they "shocked, shocked!" that most voters chose Obama? More below.

I studied the polls very closely in late October and early November, the same public polls everyone looked at, and when I could find the data behind the polls I would look not just at who was leading, but where voter enthusiasm was falling. It struck me that voter enthusiasm was incredibly high across the board, across all demographics. 80% of people polled generally said this election was important to them, that this election would impact them, and that they were likely to vote. Nothing in the polls indicated that Romney supporters were more enthusiastic than Obama supporters.  And in almost all the polls, registered voters were picking Obama by between 2% and 4%. The polls differed with the so-called likely voters, that's where the pollsters hedged their predictions. But even there the honest polls only hedged down to small Obama win or  dead heat. The reasonable pollsters were not predicting a Romney win.

So I have to ask myself, with voter enthusiasm equally high on both sides, why would anyone expect anything different from what the registered voter polls were showing - an Obama win by 2% to 4%? How could a rational, intelligent person believe otherwise?

I've always assumed that the folks on the right, while devious, deceptive, immoral and unethical, were a pretty intelligent bunch. Leading up to election day, I assumed all the right wing predictions of victory were just message manipulation; they knew the truth but were hiding it. Even right after the election I believed that they were "shocked, shocked" to learn what they already knew. And it would make sense for them to pretend to be shocked. They were ginning up their side so hard and pretending for so long that they couldn't come out and admit right after the election that they secretly knew all along that Romney was going to lose.  The faux shock seemed to me to be an effort at saving fact with all the supporters they lied to.

But now I'm not so sure. I'm beginning to wonder if maybe I've been giving the right wing more credit than they deserve. Their disbelief in the results seems so genuine. They have expressed incredulity to such a level that they have managed to look like total idiots to the entire country, including their supporters. If this was an act, it was an act taken way too far.

I'm still on the bubble on this, but if in fact, they believed their own bullshit, then I am even more frightened about the right wing than I ever was before. It is one thing for your opponent to be a devious calculated liar because you could expect that enemy to change tactics when it is clear that the old tactics aren't working. But if your enemy is this delusional, then what they will do is stick to the old tactics, just harder, angrier, meaner. If that's the case, then two years from now and four years from now, the lies and slime and wretched demagoguery we can expect to see will make us yearn for the gentler campaign of Mitt Romney. Imagine that.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Unquestionably real (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Killer of Sacred Cows

    There is no doubt in my mind that they absolutely believed that they would win and win big. In the week leading up to the election I was hanging out a bit on Red State and Free Republic. I even set up accounts and did some commenting.  I pretended to be one of them, and did some well disguised concern trolling (e.g. "I know Karl, Dick and Dean say we got Ohio, and Rassmussen, Gallup and Gravis are the best, but there are these other 10 polls that show Obimbo leading...").

    They were supremely confident, not just a little bit.  They thought they would get upwards of 350 electoral votes, and that they would take WI, MI, MN, PA, etc.  It may have been theatre for the puppet masters at Fox and for Karl Rove.  But for the commoners on these freeper sites, it was undoubtedly real.  It made the eventual outcome all the more delicious.

  •  Nice diary, thanks! I liked/have felt this most (0+ / 0-)

    poignantly
    It is one thing for your opponent to be a devious calculated liar because you could expect that enemy to change tactics when it is clear that the old tactics aren't working. But if your enemy is this delusional, then...

    It is a little like when McCain picked Palin....the most important choice of a Presidential candidate being pick of VP. It is a little like McCain going all wacky in suspending his campaign then rushing to DC to do very little when the stock market plummeted. We look how Presidential candidates manage their campaigns as a snapshot of how they think and how the manage people and data and complex organizations under duress.

     In BOTH elections Obama has shone...while his competitor did not. Romney and his team were sloppy with data analysis and just not that sharp. Their GOTV efforts though better than prior Republican attempts were not up to Obama's. Their GOTV computer system I read FAILED on election day and had not been given a dry run! ROmney and his team had to watch CNN for results, IIRC!

    I greeted the news of their shock and surprise at a loss with skepticism just as you do but had come to believe it. WIth realizing they really thought they were ahead I was HORRIFIED at how close we dodged the bullet of a Romney Presidency even more. They ignored the science. Had heads in sand. Were lost in their own propaganda bubble.

    George Bush governed this way and we had a trumped up war as a result. Same folks seem to be running Romney's foreign policy team, and Romney had expressed little interest in foreign policy. Scary as hell

    we dodged a bullet and that they are surprised drives that home in a deeper way that is not just about policy it is about governing.

    Romney failed as CEO of his own campaign.

  •  there is spin in this, but how much? (0+ / 0-)

    I've studied a lot of these comments as well. I think there is more to this story that will come out over time.

    There is contradictory evidence as well: Ann Romney looking despondent at some of the late rallys; Those last minute gasps at PA, MI & MINN; the fact that Romney campaigned ON Election Day etc.

    I'm certain there were folks who bought into the whole Unskewed polls thing, the "large unprecedented rallys" and the whole Right Wing conspiracy apparatus. Still, there were some smart folks in the campaign. They could see the same public polls as everyone else did (not to mention some strong early voting numbers for Obama). So, I'm not buying that EVERYBODY in the Romney campaign was so sanguine on Election day.

    Within the Romney camp, I'm sure there are folks who would love to throw all their private pollsters under the bus in order to make themselves look better.  Not to mention the consultants who can say, "We did everything right! We would have won, it's just that our voters didn't turn out"

    There will be some interesting insiders accounts to come.

  •  It's a combination. (0+ / 0-)

    The on-air talkers did a bit of theater to keep spirits up among the voting public.  But I think the powers-that-be in the party thought that voter suppression in the swing states would work better than it did.  They believed their own racist claptrap about lazy and stupid urban voters, and thought they'd be more easily discouraged from voting or would accept misinformation at face value.  As well, although all talk of voting machine "irregularities" was considered wacko CT foolishness around here, I think that for the honchos on the right, there was an assumption that the voting machines in key precincts would "take care of" some more unwanted votes in urban precincts.  I think there was real surprise from some of the dirtiest players, like Karl Rove--who probably paid quite a bit for unsavory robocalls, goons at the polling places, and a range of other dirty tricks--that these tactics didn't do the trick.  I also believe that the unwanted attention given to John Husted and his "patch" on the voting systems made him more cautious than he might have been had he had no eyes on him.  And I believe that at the heart of the campaign, people (including Romney) were given assurances that the operatives working all over the swing states had this election covered.

    "I'm really proud of all of you." -- President Barack Obama

    by SottoVoce on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:25:05 PM PST

  •  At the time I understood that all the (0+ / 0-)

    Fox News viewers and hate radio listeners had come to the belief that they were winning by virtue of the propaganda they were being fed. But it seems that even each of those who were manufacturing that propaganda believed what the others in their bunch were saying was true, rather than the same combination of wishful thinking and outright fiction that they were spinning.

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