Romney and the Republican’s Imagination

Joe Klein has a great piece up, The Imaginary Campaign

On Aug. 31, the night after the Clint Eastwood empty-chair colloquy at the Republican Convention, Jon Stewart identified the radioactive ingredient that would provide the fuel for Mitt Romney’s September meltdown. The Republicans, he noted on The Daily Show, were suffering from “cognitive dissonance.” Like Eastwood, they were campaigning against a Barack Obama who was a figment of their imagination. “There is a President Obama that only Republicans can see,” he said. That Obama–the Muslim socialist foreigner–was “bent on our wholesale destruction.” The mad fact is, Stewart was only scratching the surface. We now know that Romney has been running not only against an imaginary President but against an imaginary electorate as well. This is an electorate in which 47% are looking for handouts, don’t pay income taxes and won’t “take responsibility…for their lives.”

Conor Friedersdorf has a related observation;

After years spent reporting on the Bush Administration, Ron Suskind began to understand one of its core flaws when he spoke to a senior adviser to the president who disparaged what he called “the reality-based community.” The adviser’s full quotation is deservedly famous. “When we act, we create our own reality,” he said. “And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

That mindset had its benefits. “George W. Bush and his team have constructed a high-performance electoral engine,” Suskind explained. “The soul of this new machine is the support of millions of likely voters, who judge his worth based on intangibles — character, certainty, fortitude and godliness — rather than on what he says or does.” Much of the right stopped valuing reasoned debate or empiricism. As a result, huge swaths of an excessively loyal right-of-center GOP coalition supported numerous policies it would later look back on in bemused horror.

Friedersdorf goes on to say that the  the conservative movement and the Republican Party won’t be able to get it’s act together until it is purged of it’s disdain for realty and facts.  This is the same thing that is going on with the imaginary President and electorate.

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  • Rcoutme

    The GOP also needs to get rid of its disdain and hostility towards science…

    Jus’ sayin’