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Nov 09 2012

Team Romney may have been hoisted by their own willfully ignorant petard

How did Team Romney blow it so badly? I offer the possibility that Team Obama was simply more effective in a digital age against a less than ideal candidate. But details of a 20th century, top-down clunky Romney campaign are emerging. It’s hard to say how big of a difference it would have made had Team Romney paid attention to actual poll data, instead of basically making up their own reality out of whole cloth. But word is Romney and Ryan were both stunned when electoral reality came home to roost:

HuffPo – Another unnamed senior adviser explained that as returns came in and battleground states went into President Barack Obama’s Electoral College column, they felt their paths to potential victory narrowing. CBS reports that the campaign was unprepared for this in part because it had ignored polling that showed the races favoring Obama. Instead, it turned to its own internal “unskewed” polls, which it believed more accurately reflected the situation on the ground. They didn’t.

How did the fantasy-based approach work out in the trenches? Not well according to one soldier:

Ace of Spades — So, the end result was that 30,000+ of the most active and fired-up volunteers were wandering around confused and frustrated when they could have been doing anything else to help. Like driving people to the polls, phone-banking, walking door-to-door, etc. We lost by fairly small margins in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado. If this had worked could it have closed the gap? I sure hope not for my sanity’s sake.

Any ideology based on the premise that facts don’t count will eventually fail. You can coast for a while on false beliefs, just as you can drive for hundreds of miles with a faulty gas gauge. But there comes a point when the tank runs dry and the best bullshit in the world won’t convince that engine to turn over. Fortunately for us, the Romney machine sputtered and died before it was able to roll over the entire nation and run the ship of state aground.

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  1. 1
    northstar

    I am reminded of this quote from, and about, Karl Rove:

    “The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore.” He continued “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. 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.”

    * Suskind, Ron (2004-10-17). Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush. The New York Times Magazine.

    The scary thing is, they really did believe they could create an alternate reality from the force of their minds, and were genuinely astonished when they could not.

  2. 2
    unbound

    I’m not sure it was complete denial by Romney’s campaign. In Loudoun County, VA, Mitt and wife have been out here something like 5 or 6 times and we got absolutely hammered with robocalls for the last month (literally 6 to 8 voicemails each day and another 6 to 8 calls that didn’t leave voicemails…nearly all of them being RNC, Romney, etc). So it wasn’t for lack of trying (our county did vote Obama) in a battleground state and county.

  3. 3
    raven

    Any ideology based on the premise that facts don’t count will eventually fail.

    QFT.

    These ideologies can keep going a lot longer than you think though.

    Look at communism. It took almost a century to collapse.

    Or Lysenkoism, a science denial theory. It caused tens of millions to die of starvation and Soviet biology and agriculture never did fully recover.

    Faith healing and the demon theory of disease are still around. They still work as well as they ever did.

  4. 4
    Trebuchet

    @Unbound: A dozen robobcalls a day? That sure sounds like a good way to win friends and influence people…to vote for the opposition. Seriously, why do these politicians think that bothering people on the phone is a good idea?

    Here’s another of my “Romney as CEO” posts: Like so many CEO’s, Romney has surrounded himself with yes-men. They tell him what they think he wants to hear so often that pretty soon they’re believing it themselves.

  5. 5
    Ben P

    The scary thing is, they really did believe they could create an alternate reality from the force of their minds, and were genuinely astonished when they could not.

    Although I hate defending Karl Rove, his comments there were in a context in which they make more sense, which was the run up to the War in Iraq and the question of weapons of mass destruction.

    In that context, it makes a bit more sense. It’s still objectionable, but it makes sense. If America declared that Iraq had broken its obligations to the UN and Saddam needed to go, there’s no overriding body to say “no, you’re wrong, go home.” Countries all have to decide whether they go along with America, or risk angering america by objecting and paying the foreign policy price if they do so. The country has created its own reality.

    But you’re right in that same mindset does seem to have gone on much further and penetrated into all aspects of the conservative movement. In a sort of andrew sullivan esque way I do hope that this is the first crack in that armor of denial. That prominent republicans do start to recognize that even if they have different opinions, they can’t simply ignore the facts on the ground and pretend as if they dont’ exist.

  6. 6
    feralboy12

    Like driving people to the polls, phone-banking, walking door-to-door, etc.

    Perhaps they expected everyone to haul themselves to the polls by their own bootstraps.

  1. 7
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