How the GOP Misread Obama’s Win

19 November 2012 |permalink | email article

Frank Rich, writing about Fantasyland in New York magazine, describes how denial has poisoned the GOP and threatens the rest of the country too. Turns out the most histrionic indicator of the GOP’s Establishment’s enlistment in the post-fact alternative universe was the pillorying of Nate Silver, whose FiveThirtyEight statistical model got all 50 states right. In the waning days of October Joe Scarborough, the former Republican Florida congressman on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, discounted Silver’s findings that Obama (then) had a 73.6 percent probability of victory by insisting that “anybody who thinks that this race is over but a toss-up right now “ is an ideologue. The effort by Scarborough and others to discredit FiveThirtyEight mirrored their partisan attempt to demonize nonpartisan organizations that questioned Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s voodoo economics. Turns out the GOP’s wholesale retreat from reality found its ultimate expression in Peggy Noonan’s blog in The Wall Street Journal which informed the faithful that “Romney’s slipping into the presidency” and will win. Noon’s revealing summation of her thought process was this: “Is it possible this whole thing is playing out before our eyes and we’re really not noticing because we’re too busy looking at data on paper instead of what’s in front of us.” Noonan might have wondered if the neighborhoods in Florida with Romney signs, not Obama ones, was not representative of either Florida or the country. Bill O’Reilly’s Election Night revelation “that the white Establishment is now the minority” was, as Rich wrote, almost pathetic in its naiveté. 

Read ‘em and weep

Add New Mexico governor Susana Martinez (R) to the list of Republican leaders upset with Mitt Romney’s claim that President Obama won the election by doling out “gifts” to minorities, youth and women. “That unfortunately is what sets us back as a party—our comments that are not thought through carefully. Martinez, who previously criticized Romney’s “47 percent” remarks in September, added that his fundraiser video was a “ridiculous statement. Why would you write off 47 percent?”

“The surprise was some of the turnout especially in urban areas, which gave President Obama the big margin to win this race. When we watched Virginia and Ohio coming in, and those ones coming in as tight as they were and looking like we were going to lose them, that’s went it became clear we weren’t going to win.”—A naïve Rep. Paul D. Ryan, attributing the Republican defeat to a large Democratic turnout.

“If I have any message, we can’t get so focused on one issue that we can’t lose sight of the main issue for women—economic security.”—Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, re-elected this month.   

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