Romney, Like Many Republicans, Trusted His Heart Over Reality

My Monday column begins like so:

Satirizing and embodying the dominant attitude of both right-wing media and the Republican Party, Stephen Colbert described the premise of his show by saying, “Anyone can read the news to you. I promise to feel the news at you.” Nearly every day we observe illustrations of this modern conservative disconnect with reality in lieu of emotional kneejerkery: the attitude that the gut ought to overrule everything including math, science, reality, veracity and reality. Reality twice because it’s important. Republican politicians not only engage in this self-delusional exercise, but they actively exploit it among conservative voters, while Fox News and talk radio reflect and amplify it.

So it comes as no surprise that Mitt Romney told Fox News Sunday that he seriously believed in his “heart” that he’d win the election — that is until the president appeared to be leading in Florida on election night. In other words, Romney admitted to disregarding most of the polls and polling averages in favor one or two polling outfits and several opportunist pundits who also believed in their hearts that Romney would be the next president. And, Romney said, when the news networks called Ohio for the president, he knew his campaign was over.

While it’s true that the Florida polls were fairly tight on average, with Romney bumping ahead in Florida following the first debate and settling into a fifty-fifty proposition, the rest of the swing state polls overwhelmingly indicated that it was going to be a very tragic night for the Romney campaign. [continue reading here]

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  • zirgar

    Nelson Muntz HA-HA!

  • muselet

    All of us are vulnerable to trusting our instincts rather than objective evidence, in part because we’re hard-wired by evolution to jump to conclusions (Hmm. Is that a shadow or a leopard? If it’s a leopard, I should run like hell now. On the other hand, if it’s a shadow, I can stay and keep eating these berries. It’s quite a quandary, this. Maybe if I get a little closer … Oh, dear, it’s a leop—).

    It’s hard to break a habit of thought that developed over millions of years. Science education helps (you knew I was going to ride that hobby-horse again, didn’t you?): you learn just how wrong your instincts can be and you learn the value of data. And it’s still hard to get past your gut feelings.

    That’s assuming you want to get past your gut feelings. All available evidence indicates conservatives really don’t want to. They believe what they believe: androgenic climate change isn’t real, austerity will lead to prosperity, Mitt Romney will win the election, the inflation rate in the US is poised to skyrocket (just like Zimbabwe!), the unemployed are lazy moochers, we need to go back on the gold standard, and on and on and on. These beliefs are delusions, but they have a firm hold on the Right, a hold reinforced by tendentious papers churned out by Righty think tanks.

    (In fairness—and to preempt the trolls—at various points in fairly recent history, the Left has had its own problems with reality. At the moment, however, we seem to have gotten over that. There are of course individual Lefties who believe and say silly things, but they tend not to be taken seriously by anyone. By and large, the current Left is resolutely empirical.)

    Bob, I will quibble with you on one small point: expecting reality to conform to one’s personal preferences isn’t so much faith as it is lunacy.

    –alopecia

  • Victor_the_Crab

    Mitt Romney trusted his heart? Does he even have one?