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Just what WAS Romney thinking? Selective perceptions in the Republican bubble zone

Original post made by Oliver Towne, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Nov 9, 2012

It is becoming clearer. Romney's concession speech was as weak as it was because it was impromtu, written only minutes before he appeared on stage, and while his wife Ann and Ryan's wife were crying, and Ryan himself sat muted and stunned. So confident was he in victory, it hadn't occurred to him that he might very well have to give a concession speech, and quite early on in the evening at that!

Whence Romney's confidence? Do he and his staffers not read? Of course they do, but only selective sources that belong to the right wing echo machine. Objective sources -- credible pollsters, Nate Silver and Princeton Election Consortium, among others -- gave ample evidence that Romney was going to lose by over 100 electoral votes. Silver gave Obama a 92% chance of victory; Princeton gave Obama a 100% chance of victory. The latter projected 332 electoral votes for Obama, and a 2.4% victory among the popular vote.

Silver and Princeton are well respected. They do science and have no identifiable political bias. Prior to the election approx 1/2 million people were clicking onto Princeton's site each day. We must assume some of Romney's staff were familiar with the sites and their scientifically based projections of a resounding Obama victory, a victory that would ring out even truer than his first of 2008, as voters now were going to elect him based upon his record, not simply his soaring rhetoric.

So? What were Romney, Ryan, their wives and their staff thinking? What was Rove thinking? What were optimistic Republicans, some who had donated tens of millions to Romney's cause, thinking?

Well, they weren't thinking very well at all. Just as so many Republicans deny the science of evolution, the science behind warnings of global warming, so here they denied the science of defeat that was projected confidently, with scientific backing (Princeton feeds over a quadrillion variables into its computer scheme), by qualified scientists who have spent decades perfecting their science. But rather than heed the science, they chose to believe Rasmussen instead, unable to recognize that over the entire election cycle Rasmussen, ARG, and several other partisan pollsters were lying with statistics in order to create the illusion of Romney momentum and victory. Both Silver and Princeton took Rasmussen's polls into account, but in so doing, both automatically subtracted 3-4 pts from Romney and added 3-4 points for Obama. You see, those who really think about these things, objectively, know that Rasmussen systematically skews its results and has done so for years. (What would you expect from a pollster who also writes opinion pieces in rightwing rags about 'Obama's disasterous policies and how the American public must reject them'.)

In short, the Romney team and its supporters chose to deny science, deny math, deny reality. They chose instead to believe the spinmeisters at Fox, and their own propagandists such as Krauthammer, Coulter, Rasmussen. (George Will predicted a victory for Romney ... in MINNESOTA.) Increasingly they have come to live in their own bubble, which permits them to exclude considerations of science, math, reality. (See George Will above.) And so, in this election, the American public not only resoundingly rejected a Republican presidential candidate, but rejected a deficient way of thinking that has increasingly over the years proved disasterous for those who continue to cling to it in the face of fact, in the face of a glaring reality that they cannot come to acknowledge. The election was a great victory for Obama. It was a great victory for the American people. It was a great victory for rational thought.

Comments (13)

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Posted by Nancy s.
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2012 at 7:12 am

Oliver, you hit the nail squarly on the head. Good job.

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Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Birdland
on Nov 9, 2012 at 8:46 am

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Clearly, Romney was counting on a better turnout amongst Republicans and Independents--at least as many voters as McCain counted on.
As far as extending your missive to scientific theory, etc., you can't even get a group of scientists to reach concensus on a subject, why would you expect all politicians of a certain stripe to agree on the same theory? Even you on the left are not all lemmings to the global warming religion.....many dems think the earth is going through yet another cycle and that man cannot impact those natural fluctuations one iota.
When Al Gore lost his bid for the White House, I'm sure you must have whined about how so many voters ignored man-bear-pigs global warming hysteria.
As long as govt grants are forthcoming, the institutions benefitting from the influx of cash will be beholden to their masters.

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Posted by Stupidity is a disease
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2012 at 9:44 am

Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000.If you want to talk about the validity of the electoral college process, that's an entirely different argument...

I refuse to be distracted by idiotic strawmen arguments like the ones you've put forth, "liberalism". This isn't about political ideology; it's about seeing the numbers for what they are. Interpretations will vary, the methodology for collecting data might be erroneous, but there aren't TWO sides to reality! Statisticians like Nate Silver are so successful in their jobs because they refuse to let personal beliefs cloud their interpretations, which is what any true scientist/ scholar should do in their work.

If it were about government handouts, why aren't the folks in Mississippi, Alabama, etc. voting for the Democrats in droves? You see the highest rates of poverty in those areas. Indeed, many who voted for Obama wouldn't have benefitted from those programs personally.

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Posted by A Neighbor
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2012 at 9:59 am

Oliver, this is a clear and accurate explanation. Thank you. Let's hope this experience brings the Republican Party back to reality so they can once again contribute to our governing process.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 9, 2012 at 10:16 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Oliver wrote: "So? What were Romney, Ryan, their wives and their staff thinking? What was Rove thinking? What were optimistic Republicans, some who had donated tens of millions to Romney's cause, thinking?"

They were _hoping_ for _change_! LOL!


Lib wrote: "you can't even get a group of scientists to reach concensus on a subject"

Um, yes, there is scientific consensus on the subject. It's only in the political sphere where there appears to be no consensus.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Ho ho! Hannity must believe in evolution! Web Link "On Thursday, Fox News commentator Sean Hannity said that he has “evolved” on the issue. In Hannity’s high-speed world, evolution can occur over 48 hours."

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Posted by Julie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Thank you Oliver! My vote in this election was definitely more about rejecting a certain way of thinking (e.g. one that excludes reality, science, math, etc.) and not as much about supporting a certain way of thinking.

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Posted by Milo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Has somebody named themselves "liberalism is a disease"?

Wow! Sounds like somebody needs to become a citizen of another country, because in America we honor the ability to have separate views without the loss of integrity on either side.

Extremist seem to boiling in their oats. Sad.

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Posted by Mittens
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Milo, the first step to a cure is admitting you have a problem. Your veiled threat of deportation of those that don't agree with your leftist utopia is unbecoming of what we've all come to know about liberals....where's your tolerance that leftist a always preach to there's about?
I'll tolerate your hypocrisy if you tolerate the fact that I'm right.

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Posted by Lynne Collins
a resident of Dublin
on Nov 10, 2012 at 9:39 pm

I thought your piece was better than what is usually found here. Too bad people like -liberal is a disease- and -mittens- have to spew such ignorance onto the page, although by doing so they help to confirm your point.

I think there's a better theory than the one you offer, though my alternative does not make you necessarily wrong, even if I'm right. In brief, Romney knew he was going to lose. I saw him on Monday Night Football the night before the election (and I think his only 'interview' over the past 6 weeks or so - not even yet elected and he already was dodging the press!). On MNF he looked like a forlorn soul about to be taken to the gallows. He looked as if he knew he was cooked. Why then all the false bravado over the final two weeks when the scientific stat guys had Obama locked in to a three-point victory? They needed to keep up the charade in order to keep the big bucks flowing in for Romney as well as other candidates, many of whom had incurred large debts.

At the end of the day, they may have chosen to look stupid rather than to have looked corrupt. I agree with you that they appeared rather stupid, for the good reasons you offer. But they were corrupt until the bitter end. Either way, or (probably) both, the good guys and gals won.

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Posted by franco
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Nov 12, 2012 at 11:53 pm

franco is a registered user.

I agree with Lynn regarding Romney. As a flipflopper who lied his way into his nomination by the "base", he had no choice but to play it out to the end. It actually is to the ideologues and the "base" that I think Oliver's comments apply.

They so much believed their own propaganda that they were delusional to the very end. Rove refused to accept anything but his own "math" even when the Fox News propaganda channel called the election for Obama. The Fox newswoman asked him if his math was something Republicans do to make themselves feel good! It was also reported that many followers in the "base" actually became ill after learning Obama won(discussed on CNN).

Recently I've heard various terms applied to this phenomenon. "Epistemic closure" is a concept that is essentially "groupthink". I quote from RationalWiki:

<<<<<Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute adapted the term "epistemic closure" to describe what he perceived as the behavior of conservatives:

“”Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News. Whatever conflicts with that reality can be dismissed out of hand because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted. (How do you know they’re liberal? Well, they disagree with the conservative media!) This epistemic closure ... >>>>>>

The other term is confirmational bias. This is similar. Essentially one listens only to those sources that confirm one's biases.

It is sad that so many in America cannot think for themselves and allow themselves to be guided by these phenomena.

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Posted by Romney fan
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2012 at 11:17 pm

To the liberal msnbc crazies, Romney was neither corrupt or stupid. He could have saved our economy, not more of the same, that's why many dems want him on a WH econ committee, to show them the way.
Romney was honorable, and saw it thru to the end, even though it had been lost in the Primary with the scary, scary superstitions of Santorum and the Bachmans. They just kept crusading and wouldn't shut up. The really crazy chattering of religious extremists who are clueless to what 'limited' government means. They are a burden that is destroying the Republican way can we win nationally.
The far left is equally crazed, but have no problem corrupting the election process, a speciality of union thugs.

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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 14, 2012 at 9:32 am

Stacey is a registered user.

It was Romney who picked Palin, I mean Ryan, as a running mate. You know, the guy who runs faster than the laws of physics?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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