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The Conservative Political Media Complex

The day after the election, James Joyner took note of the extent to which the conservative media had spent much of the election essentially misrepresenting the state of the election to their viewers. Instead of giving them a realistic view of the state of the race, news outlets like Fox News Channel, radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, and countless numbers of conservative web sites continually told them that the polls they were seeing on a daily basis were wrong because the pollsters were biased against Republicans, they told them that the American people would turn out in force against President Obama because of the weak economy, and they told them that  the “mainstream media” was lying to them when it was reporting on the state of the race. As we learned on Tuesday, they were all wrong. The polls weren’t biased, indeed it turns out that they were rather spot-on in both the final result and the relative turnout of Obama supporters. The economy didn’t turn out to be a negative for the President, indeed Exit Polls showed that voters gave the President higher marks on the economy that Mitt Romney. And, finally, the coverage of the race from the dreaded Mainstream Media turned out to be largely accurate.

Even after the election, we’re seeing the conservative media pushing an interpretation of what happened on Election Day that is rooted not in gaining insight into what might have been wrong with Romney, the Romney campaign, or the Republican Party but in reinforcing orthodoxy and insisting that real change isn’t required. The GOP’s demographic problems are acknowledged, for example, but outside of notable exceptions such as Sean Hannity and Charles Krauthammer few people on the right seem to think that the party really needs to change very much in response to what this election told us about the shifting demographics in this country, largely because that’s what people like Rush Limbaugh are telling them. They think that the GOP’s Latino problem can be solved simply by nominating Marco Rubio They think that Romney didn’t lose because there was something wrong with the American people. Limbaugh, for example, has spent the week since the election asserting that President Obama won by promising people a lot of free stuff and that the GOP found itself competing against Santa Claus. In other words, the American people voted for President Obama because they’re part of that shiftless, lazy 47% that Mitt Romney talked about at a Florida fundraiser back in May.

Adam Serwer contends that the conservative media plays this role of creating a protective intellectual bubble because that’s exactly what conservatives want:

I would suggest that the problem lies not just with outlets like Fox but also with their audiences. That is, I think my original tweet, blaming the conservative media for misleading the readers who depend on them, doesn’t capture the fullness of the problem. Conservative media lies to its audience because much of its audience wants to be lied to. Those lies actually have far more drastic consequences for governance (think birthers and death panels) than for elections, where the results can’t be, for lack of a better word, “skewed.”

If any event will test whether Serwer’s theory is correct, it will be this election. By all rights, Dick Morris’s political analysis should never be taken seriously again (heck, it never should have been taken seriously to begin with) and people on the right will finally start to view pollsters like Scott Rasmussen with the skepticism that they deserve.  People like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin would not longer be their only source of news, and carnival acts like Ann Coulter would see their audiences dry up quickly. Quite honestly, I expect none of that to happen. If anything, the re-election of Barack Obama is going to do wonder for the business model of Fox News and the Limbaugh/Hannity/Levin crowd, and conservative outlets on the Internet are going to see their traffic continue to boom as people in the grassroots retreat further and further into their media bubble.

Some conservatives are starting to notice the problems that this bubble creates for their party, though, and think something should be done about it:

A long-simmering generational battle in the conservative movement is boiling over after last week’s shellacking, with younger operatives and ideologues going public with calls that Republicans break free from a political-media cocoon that has become intellectually suffocating and self-defeating.

GOP officials have chalked up their electoral thumping to everything from the country’s changing demographics to an ill-timed hurricane and failed voter turn-out system, but a cadre of Republicans under 50 believes the party’s problem is even more fundamental.

The party is suffering from Pauline Kaelism.

“What Republicans did so successfully, starting with critiquing the media and then creating our own outlets, became a bubble onto itself,” said Ross Douthat, the 32-year-old New York Times columnist.

“The right is suffering from an era of on-demand reality,” is how 30-year-old old think tanker and writer Ben Domenech put it.

Citing Kael, one of the most prominent Republicans in the George W. Bush era complained: “We have become what the left was in the ’70s — insular.”

In this reassuring conservative pocket universe, Rasmussen polls are gospel, the Benghazi controversy is worse than Watergate, “Fair and Balanced” isn’t just marketing and Dick Morris is a political seer.

Even this past weekend, days after a convincing Obama win, it wasn’t hard to find fringes of the right who are convinced he did so only because of mass voter fraud and mysteriously missing military ballots. Like a political version of “Thelma and Louise,” some far-right conservatives are in such denial that they’d just as soon keep on driving off the cliff than face up to a reality they’d rather not confront.

(…)

To young Republican strategists and writers, a fundamental shift of how the party communicates is required. That doesn’t mean delegitimizing hugely popular and powerful outlets on the right, but rather transcending them.

“Communicating to the country’s changing demographics and outside of the Fox News echo chamber is a strategic imperative,” said GOP operative Phil Musser, 40.

“The rise of conservative media has been one of the best things to ever happen to the conservative movement. It has helped us reach new voters, has helped with voter persuasion and even motivation,” said GOP strategist Todd Harris, 41. “But with all the positives, there is this fact: If all you did was watch and read the conservative media, you were probably pretty shocked at what happened Tuesday. There’s a huge and ever-growing segment of the vote that Republicans just aren’t talking to and in some cases didn’t even know existed.”

One benefit of the new media world we now live in is that there are far more sources of information, and far more ways to connect with people without having to rely upon the traditional media as a conduit, than there ever used to be. On the whole, this is a good thing. The days when America’s news diet was limited to three television networks and a newspaper or two may have been calmer, but they also arguably do a much better job of information the nation and of covering stories that would otherwise be ignored if we still lived in a world where some Walter Conkite like figure purported to tell us “that’s the way it is” every single night. In reality, that world was really more “that’s the way the things we wanted to show you.” Remember, it wasn’t a national television network that broke the Watergate story, it wasn’t even a top political reporter at a newspaper, it was two guys working the Metro desk at The Washington Post who, until that break-in, had seldom covered national news of any importance. The new media plays a similar role today.

Notwithstanding these benefits, though, this new media world also makes it very easy to immerse yourself only in information that reinforces what you already believe. You don’t have to read The New York Times to get your news, you can go to The Washington Times, the Brietbart websites, or any number of conservative blogs where you’ll find the news presented with a decided ideological basis, while at the same time emphasizing stories that most of the media isn’t really paying attention to, such as Benghazi, Fast & Furious, or any other number of supposed Obama Administration “scandals.” You can follow only the people on Twitter and Facebook that you agree with, thus further creating the impression that everyone agrees with you and shielding you from an America where things are vastly different from the way you perceive them. This isn’t a healthy way to live, in my opinion, and it’s certainly not good for the long-term health of a political movement. Conservatives woke up surprised last Wednesday because they’re living inside of an echo chamber, and as long as that’s the case they’re going to continue to be surprised. Unfortunately for them, the solution involves making the choice to expose yourself to a wide variety of news sources and not just the ones you agree with. That seems to be hard for many conservatives to do these days.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Geek, Esq. says:

    Great post, Doug.

    As in religious denominations, the tension is between True Believers and Evangelists. The latter are willing to be less orthodox, to speak in the language of the unconverted, and to prioritize spreading the gospel instead of ensuring compliance with it.

    True Believers, on the other hand, aren’t willing to compromise, aren’t willing to do what it takes to attract new members, and aren’t interested at all in what others outside the tent have to say or how they see the world.

    The problem for the GOP is that virtually every lever of power–media, activist groups, donors, primary voters–is dominated by True Believers. Past Evangelists like George W Bush are now scorned and banished (anyone see him recently?) and would-be Evangelists like Mitt Romney instead are forced to renounce their past heterodoxies and embrace the Party Line.

    This is a group that not only doesn’t care what people outside the bubble think, they don’t even know how to ascertain it.

    They think that the GOP can just put an sombrero on the elephant, serve chips and salsa at fundraisers, and presto the cartoonish identity-driven Latinos will fall in line–”after all, they work hard, so of course they’re naturally Republicans!”

    This is a party that has not moved forward in ideology, in rhetoric, in demographics, or in math since 1988. Bush showed them a way briefly out of the wilderness, but they learned the wrong lessons from his administration’s excesses.

    Long story short, this party is in the process of slow-motion suicide.

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  2. grumpy realist says:

    Republicans want to believe that the critical mass of plutonium is 200 kg, then are shocked, SHOCKED when a smaller amount goes boom.

    There’s a reason even the Soviets decided in the end Revealed Truth didn’t work for nuclear waste dumps. Of course, by that time, a part of the Urals was radioactive….

    Let’s see if it takes the Republicans more time to learn about reality than the Soviets….

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  3. Moosebreath says:

    Good post, Doug.

    I know you are quoting the article, but this line “Citing Kael, one of the most prominent Republicans in the George W. Bush era complained: “We have become what the left was in the ’70s — insular.” is an “eats shoots and leaves” type error which made me laugh out loud. Kael was a film critic who died in 2001, who is best known in political circles for a line saying no one she knew voted for Nixon.

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  4. Whitfield says:

    I am really careful and discerning about what passes today as news sources. I used to hang onto everything that Walter Cronkite, Eric Severeid, and David Brinkley said. But those networks have long since ceased to be what they were. NBC seems to be the official broadcasting arm of the Democrat party, more than CBS ever was.

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  5. Geek, Esq. says:

    I hate myself for doing this, but here’s a relevant Tweet from, ugh, Mark Halperin:

    By ’92, Ds were willing to nominate pro-death penalty, pro-trade, pro-welfare reform candidate. What are plausible comparable GOP shifts?

    People act like Marco Rubio is going to be a tonic. But, in Texas last week a lot of Republican Latinos lost. Just like Michael Steele lost in Maryland a few years back.

    Surnames don’t matter as much as policy does. And Rubio’s going to have to etch-a-sketch his Teabag politics to win over Hispanics in the general. And, of course, that would disqualify him from the Republican primary process.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  6. Brummagem Joe says:

    Doug, for godsake get real, this IS the business model. You don’t think the Republican political entertainment industry exists to disseminate real news and accurate analysis do you? It’s role is to propagandize to a particular demographic group who need their prejudices reinforcing and morale maintained by a constant diet of misinformation which it is extremely profitable to provide. This particular segment of the infotainment industry is worth billions and is providing a product its consumers are essentially addicted to so there is no way they are going to walk away from this cash cow. The Republican party and it’s sympathisers created this for profit monster and now they are stuck with it.

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  7. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    The whole Rubio ploy is in a way symptomatic of the Republican focus on messaging rather than substance. Put a sombrero on the GOP and all our hispanic problems will disappear. It’s juvenile. Let’s assume Rubio were the GOP candidate in 2016 and say Hillary the Democrat she could easily counter by choosing a hispanc running mate and there are plenty of choices

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  8. Geek, Esq. says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Or, Hillary Clinton would just run on a Democratic policy agenda that involved not sticking it to working class Americans or cutting taxes for plutocrats.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  9. Tsar Nicholas says:

    The Conservative Political Media Complex

    Meh. Not only is this idea banal it’s oxymoronic. A lot more people watch “Survivor” than Fox News. A lot more people watch “CSI” than listen to Rush Limbaugh. Talking about a conservative media is like talking about blue moons.

    In 2004 over 44.9 million Republicans voted and they broke 93-7 in favor (gulp) of George W. Bush. This year, however, despite four years of Obama and the prospect of four more, only 38.9 million Republicans voted and further they broke 93-7 in favor of Romney. That’s not the result of the “conservative media.” None of the useful idiots of the right were telling people not to vote. Even they’re not that dumb. But still millions upon millions of Republicans decided to stay home. That’s impracticality on a grand scale. More than that it’s simple derangement.

    Romney won various demographics that when you think about it your jaw drops. White women voted for Romney 56-42. Romney won the Independent vote. Even white kids aged 18-29 voted for Romney. Yet Romney still lost the election.

    Forget about talk radio and cable TV cocoons and forget about simple minds with large and loud microphones. If Republican voters from ’04 had not unplugged their own brains, en masse, right now Lawrence O’Donnell would be in a straight jacket, Ezra Klein would be on thorazine, and we’d be talking about whom president-elect Romney should tap to replace Petraeus, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 15

  10. David M says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    In 2004 over 44.9 million Republicans voted and they broke 93-7 in favor (gulp) of George W. Bush. This year, however, despite four years of Obama and the prospect of four more, only 38.9 million Republicans voted and further they broke 93-7 in favor of Romney.

    …..Romney won the Independent vote.

    Those two things cannot be evaluated independently of each other.

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  11. Geek, Esq. says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    The problem for your team is that a lot of people who were Republican voters in 2004 stopped being Republican voters, but didn’t stop being voters.

    Your team isn’t replacing Republicans as fast as they’re either dying or defecting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  12. C. Clavin says:

    The problem with the GOP is not that Jan wants to be lied to, and so the conservative entertainment complex lies to her. The problem with the GOP is that they are stuck in the past…or more accurately…what they think the past was.

    Fact #1…Obama’s electorate wasn’t just minorities…in point of fact it looked a lot more like this country does than Romneys electorate did:
    Today’s demographic +/- 70% white, 10% black, 15% hispanic, 5% asian and other.
    Obama’s demographic +/- 56% white, 24% black, 14% hispanic, 6% asian and other.
    Romney’s demographic +/- 88% white, 2% black, 6% hispanic, 4% asian and other.
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/scocca/2012/11/mitt_romney_white_voters_the_gop_candidate_s_race_based_monochromatic_campaign.html
    Fact #2…Romney and the Republicans are on the wrong side of progress:
    We are going to develop other forms of energy.
    Gays are going to get equal rights.
    Women are going to make their own decisions about their health.
    Hispanicas are not going to self-deport.
    Revenues and Spending are going to be part of getting the economy back on track.
    Invading Iran is stupid.
    Science is real.

    None of this changes the fact that Jan enjoys being lied to…and repeating those lies without so much as a critical thought. But that’s not why Romney lost.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  13. Nikki says:

    But still millions upon millions of Republicans decided to stay home. That’s impracticality on a grand scale. More than that it’s simple derangement.

    And welcome to the results of the 2010 mid-term elections. You Repubs assumed it was a sea change; that’s why you so eagerly castigated Nate Silver. There was no way 2008 would be repeated because 2010 proved we were a center-right nation!

    Hence, all the shell-shock on the right.

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  14. Barry says:

    @Whitfield: That’s funny – oh, wait, you’re serious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Geek, Esq.:

    That is a given.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  16. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Thanks for reassuring us that the conservative media complex doesn’t exist, it’s all a figment of Doug’s and liberal imagination. Glad to see that you continue to operate in a reality based universe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  17. C. Clavin says:

    The Newtster on Today:

    “…The great thing about elections is they belong to the American people…I was wrong last week, as was virtually every major Republican analyst. And so, you have to stop and say to yourself, if I was that far off, what do I need to learn to better understand America…”

    I would answer…a lot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  18. john personna says:

    I think the RINOs and soon-to-be RINOs have had their days of reason. Now the base is reasserting its disbelief in fact based worlds. They may be slower than the nimble pundits, but there are more of them. I don’t think they’ll roll over any time soon.

    It will a few more bad elections to drive any change (as some here have already suggested).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  19. C. Clavin says:

    And another thing…I understand that people like Jan and Tsar are easy to dupe…but Romney was supposed to be the uber-businessman…he allegedly knows how things work. Ryan is the facts guy…the brilliant analyst. How did they get fooled? Were they not doing internal polling? How does Romney get shell-shocked by the results? Were they sitting in their rooms every night wearing onesies and eating Cheetos and drinking chocolate milk and watching Fox and reading Breitbart like Jan and Tsar? If Romney and Ryan were the Replicans idea of the John Galt figures who would lead us to the Randian promised land…we all dodged a .50 cal bullet…even if Republicans can’t admit it yet. And if they were relying on Sean Hannity to tell them the truth…the Witch lady from S. Carolina is more qualified to be President.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  20. MM says:

    A part if the problem that isn’t addressed is the fact that a considerable portion of Right-wing media is a grift. Only on the right have I ever seen ads for “seduction techniques that Hillary Clinton doesn’t want you to know about” or “five cures for cancer that the liberal media is keeping from you”. There’s no “four donut flavors that enrage Grover Norquist” books out there for the left.

    Much of the structure is built on stoking anger at some enemy, and a country where conservatives are in charge of everything doesn’t do as well for maintaining that anger as a country where they are perpetually under attack.

    Joe Republican might really want to see his party be in control, but I’m not sure the media he pays attention to really does.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  21. Brummagem Joe says:

    @MM:

    Precisely. All these rightwing blogs and candidates sell their lists to con men and scammers of various sorts. By definition it’s already been proved that these people are fairly gullible and so likely to be responsive to messages about the need to buy gold coins, lay in stocks of ammo, be ready to take reverse mortgages, send large donations to evangelicals to ensure a first class seat in the afterlife, etc. etc.

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  22. michael reynolds says:

    Conservative media lies to its audience because much of its audience wants to be lied to.

    Bingo. People who are constantly lied to want to be lied to.

    Why does a person want to be lied to? Because reality conflicts with his presuppositions or threaten his prerogatives. Most people are resistant to challenges, but this will be particularly the case with:

    1) Religious people who have been conditioned to believe things which cannot be proven and have been conditioned to believe that death is the punishment for doubt.
    2) Older people, because newness translates as a threat, and because the incentives to adapt are less with people who have less life ahead of them.
    3) People whose core identities are very closely tied to their beliefs. In other words, people who cannot change what they believe without abandoning their view of themselves. Racists are a good example. But so are people who see themselves as a superior class rather than race.
    4) The fearful, the insecure, the paranoid. These folks need solidity. Anything that makes the world more complicated translates as a threat.

    These are character traits (insecurity), conditions (age), or conditioning (religion), not ideologies per se. Old people in Russia don’t want the truth about the USSR. Religious Muslims have the same issues of credulousness and willingness to dismiss facts as a Greek Orthodox or a Baptist. Japanese supremacists want a set of lies that is no different really than white supremacists.

    Which is why nothing will change at Fox News unless Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch decide to service a different audience. In which case someone else will pop up to tell happy little lies to scared old racist Bible thumpers.

    Can the GOP insofar as it is distinct from Fox News adapt? Not without being willing to lose some elections, and probably not without Ailes and Murdoch deciding to make a change.

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  23. michael reynolds says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Hey. Hey. She is not a witch. She made that perfectly clear.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  24. Brummagem Joe says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Romney the uber businessman demonsrated he couldn’t organise a booze up in a brewery. By any measure the superior manager was President Obama who hired the right people, had a great strategic plan, made tactical adjustments along the way to compensate for mistakes or take advantage of Romney errors, and executed brilliantly on the day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  25. Brummagem Joe says:

    @michael reynolds:

    All basically true Michael and of course all theocracies from the catholic church to the communist party created powerful communication structures to feed the prejudices of the faithful and punish heretics. The Republican political entertainment industry is just a free market version of these earlier models.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. de stijl says:

    @Whitfield:

    NBC seems to be the official broadcasting arm of the Democrat party, more than CBS ever was.

    Classic Authoritarian in-group/out-group logic error.

    If an entity of political power or influence is not indisputably in favor of my political group, it must, therefore, be in favor of my political enemies.

    the Democrat party

    You need to get better at hiding your tells. Unless you did it on purpose because you think it’s cute. It’s not cute.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  27. Woody says:

    News Corp will never cease giving its viewers Bircher nonsense, never going fifteen minutes without reminding their captured audience only Fox can be trusted.

    Fox viewers demand this. And Fox, being television, will always give the viewers what they want, which in the end, thoroughly corrupts those viewers.

    This was the real point of Network, the most prescient film ever made.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  28. michael reynolds says:

    @Woody:

    Network was an act of genuine genius. One of the greatest screenplays ever written. 36 years old for God’s sake, and Paddy Chayefsky’s words hold up perfectly. If I could write one thing that perfect, I’d be happy with my whole life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. Spartacus says:

    Doug wrote: “The day after the election, James Joyner took note of the extent to which the conservative media had spent much of the election essentially misrepresenting the state of the election to their viewers.”

    This statement and the rest of Doug’s post are way too easy on the GOP by pretending that GOPers would behave differently if only they had accurate information. This is demonstrably false.

    James Joyner, David Frum, David Brooks, Kathleen Parker, George Will et al were all acutely aware of the fact that, unless one is a social conservative, there was no sane reason to vote for Romney, yet they all did. So, how is your garden-variety Republican rube any worse off as a result of conservative media’s lies if the rube is able to make the same decsions as those who know the truth?

    For the gazillionth time, facts and lies do not matter to these people. Tribalism is all that counts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  30. jukeboxgrad says:

    This has already been said in this thread, but I especially like the way Frum said it:

    Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex

    I also think the problem is nicely summarized here:

    The Republican Party Needs to Ditch Fox News If It Wants to Win … Fox News and the talk radio shock jocks across the country win whether or not conservatives are in power; these purveyors of political entertainment thrive under a Democratic president, perhaps even more so than under their preferred candidates. … At some point, Republicans will need to wake up to the current state of affairs and realize they’re being held hostage to a powerful, self-sustaining entertainment industry and that the interests of the party and the interests of Fox News are not one and the same.

    The “conservative entertainment complex” is a Frankenstein monster which is now running the show (and “show” is precisely what it is). And this is not going to change, because the customers are demanding the product, the industry is making money, and these media figures are the most powerful figures in the party.

    The GOP is terminally ill. It’s on the road to obscurity because it’s unable to end its war on reality. The GOP can’t stop being at war with reality because that war is how the “conservative entertainment complex” makes money. What the customers want is smug, belligerent baloney that confirms their existing beliefs (especially about other tribes) and helps them feel good about themselves. We can count on the industry to keep producing this crap; no way are they going to mess with success.

    Consider these three possible goals for the “conservative entertainment complex:”

    A) I want to educate my audience.
    B) I want the GOP to win elections.
    C) I want high ratings and profits.

    CEC cares only about C. A and B are worse than irrelevant: they are obstacles. They conflict with C. This is why the GOP is in a death spiral.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  31. john personna says:

    @Spartacus:

    Well, I think at least some of the were more comfortable voting for Romney once they came to the conclusion that he’d lose. Then they could fulfill their commitments at not cost.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. Barry says:

    @C. Clavin: “Ryan is the facts guy…the brilliant analyst. ”

    Ryan is not nor never was any of those things. He threw out bulls*t numbers with lots of ‘to be determined later’, which the MSM (those Evul Librulz) accepted as meaningful and brave and oh-so-dreamy-look-at-those-abs…………..

    Because the conclusions were to cut taxes on the rich, cut spending on the middle class on down, and run up the deficit, all of which the powers that be like.

    Read anything about Ryan by Krugman, and see just what little Ryan’s brain was worth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  33. C. Clavin says:

    @ Barry…
    Yes, I get that…I was being facetious.

    Ryan speaking to a Wisconsin television affiliate:

    “..The polling we had…the numbers we were looking at looked like we stood a pretty good chance of winning…so, when the numbers came in, going the other direction. When we saw the turnout that was occurring in urban areas which were really fairly unprecedented, it did come as a bit of a shock. So, those are the toughest losses to have — the ones that catch you by surprise…”

    Now keep in mind that both Nate Silver and the Princeton Election Consortium had this as an amazingly stable race with the only hiccup right around the first debate. Romney/Ryan were never ahead. NEVER, EVER, AHEAD. So what internal polling did the campaign have that showed them winning? And these clowns wanted to be trusted to run the country when they can’t even read polling numbers?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  34. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Barry:

    Ryan is an intellectual lightweight who has been elevated by conservatives and an equivalence at any price MSM into some sort of economic genius. In fact he’s got an undergrad degree in business studies of some sort from a right wing mid western university no one has ever heard of; went to work for the govt at age 22; and has worked for them ever since. If he wasn’t the scion of the wealthiest family in Janesville WI he’d be working as a mid level accountant or marketing man in P & G.

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  35. jukeboxgrad says:

    And these clowns wanted to be trusted to run the country when they can’t even read polling numbers?

    It makes perfect sense that the people who “can’t even read polling numbers” are the same people who proposed a tax plan that violates the rules of arithmetic. It’s all part of the GOP war on reality. Even Ryan’s fictional marathon is part of that war. These people are so good at lying that they believe their own lies.

    Nate Silver and the Princeton Election Consortium had this as an amazingly stable race with the only hiccup right around the first debate. Romney/Ryan were never ahead. NEVER, EVER, AHEAD.

    Forget about Nate and PEC. They’re liberals, right? Just look at RCP, which is owned by Forbes. According to the RCP average, Mitt never, ever had a lead in any of the following states: OH, WI, IA, NV, PA. It’s not just that he wasn’t leading at the end. He was never in the lead. Yet lots of people were talking about how he was going to win one or more of those states. And winning those states (along with the easier states) was more than enough for Obama to win. With those states, Obama didn’t need these states: FL, VA, CO, NH (all places where Mitt had held leads, at least briefly).

    The GOP is in the business of running away from reality, and they’re not ready to stop running.

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  36. Let's Be Free says:

    Reading your blog you would think that the R’s lost in a landslide when, in fact, the Democrats eked by with a platform that, except for fiscally marginal to irrelevant tax the rich rage, doesn’t enjoy broad based support. Obama won a technical victory by catering to narrow special interests and sliming his opponent (and his opponent’s supporters by implication, which your cadre of commentators explicitly slimes, time and gain, viscious, uncouth Cretans that they are).

    In the end Limbaugh didn’t jump on the polls must be wrong bandwagon; he played cheerleader saying he felt in his heart they were wrong, but refused to go further. The national pollsters, in general, forced their numbers to be even at the end because they realized they didn’t know how the election would turn out. Didn’t want egg on their face whichever way it went. This post, like so many, goes way over the top, making simplistic statements assuming that people who don’t choose to join the elite sheeptains have no brain of their own. It’s rather disgusting.

    Romney’s huge mistake was in not grabbing the mantle of economic populism. Instead of falling into the narrow MBA perspective of giving up on the 47 percent, he should of (as Reagan would have) jumped on the opportunity to claim that his campaign, his message and his policies were more important for the 47 percent that anyone else, to wit, the promise of economic opportunity and advancing up the ladder step by step, instead of being sentenced to a lifetime in the underclass by today’s big government intellectuals. You are all killing the economic machine. Good luck.

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  37. john personna says:

    @Let’s Be Free:

    instead of being sentenced to a lifetime in the underclass by today’s big government intellectuals

    Boy, that’s what I call bringing the crazy.

    Explain who started the last few billion-dollar web companies, and then how the government intellectuals stopped them … except oops, they didn’t.

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  38. mantis says:

    @Let’s Be Free:

    Shorter LBF: You may think you won the election, but you didn’t because everyone in America agrees with me and Rush, FTW!

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  39. mattb says:

    @Let’s Be Free:

    In the end Limbaugh didn’t jump on the polls must be wrong bandwagon; he played cheerleader saying he felt in his heart they were wrong, but refused to go further.

    right… so Limbaugh never told his audience on multiple occasions “Don’t Let Bogus Polls Depress You

    The national pollsters, in general, forced their numbers to be even at the end because they realized they didn’t know how the election would turn out.

    Math, Nate Silver, and conservative meta pollsters like Scott Elliot really would like you to stop lying about this talking point.

    The key pollsters and meta pollsters who “forced their numbers” all appear to have been the conservative leaning ones who brought their polls back in line (or at least closer to in line) with meta summary of national polls.

    And, btw, if Obama’s election was an “eek”, do you want to comment on Bush/Kerry? Did W eek out that victory as well?

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  40. jukeboxgrad says:

    free:

    Reading your blog you would think that the R’s lost in a landslide.

    They did. There is good reason to describe Obama’s result as both “a landslide” and “a mandate.” Link, link.

    In the end Limbaugh didn’t jump on the polls must be wrong bandwagon; he played cheerleader saying he felt in his heart they were wrong, but refused to go further.

    Consider these two statements:

    A) The polls must be wrong.
    B) I feel in my heart that the polls are wrong.

    You see a big difference between A and B? That’s hysterical.

    The national pollsters, in general, forced their numbers to be even at the end because they realized they didn’t know how the election would turn out.

    This statement applies only to Gallup.

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  41. Eric the OTB Lurker says:

    @Let’s Be Free:

    Reading your blog you would think that the R’s lost in a landslide when, in fact, the Democrats eked by with a platform that, except for fiscally marginal to irrelevant tax the rich rage, doesn’t enjoy broad based support. Obama won a technical victory by catering to narrow special interests and sliming his opponent (and his opponent’s supporters by implication, which your cadre of commentators explicitly slimes, time and gain, viscious, uncouth Cretans that they are).

    It seems particularly disingenuous to imply that the Democrats only “eked by” by picking up net positive legislative seats in what was supposed to be a bad year, or that Obama achieving a 330-206 electoral victory–with a record 62 million votes cast in his favor and more than 3 million more than the other guy–is merely a “technical” victory.

    The much simpler explanation that you seem to be avoiding, LBF, is that the Republicans blew it big time in every way possible. That’s not just a failure of messaging. In fact, most of us would argue that Romney’s messaging was the ONLY thing that was clear about his campaign, and is precisely why he (ahem) “technically” lost.

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  42. Let's Be Free says:

    @mattb:

    Did W eek out that victory as well?

    Absolutely.

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  43. KevinNYC says:

    @Moosebreath:

    There’s lot of debate about whether or not Pauline Kael ever said that. Some say she did, but she was making a joke. Some say it’s an apocryphal story.

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