Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Not-So-Funny Farm

So, if the GOP nominates one of their two (nominally) reality-based candidates for President, and that candidate loses to Obama, there is an expectation that the GOP will really lose it.

But a win by one of their reality-based candidates will return the GOP from the alternate dimension in which they currently reside, as will the defeat of a reality-denial candidate (the rest of the GOP presidential field).

Really?

I've got a couple of questions:

1) At this point, how much worse can the reality-denial get? Seriously consider the ramifications of a large, well armed segment of the United States population becoming more paranoid, more extreme, and more distrustful of any information contrary to their own self-perpetuating world view.

2) How will the GOP become more reasonable if one of the two their reality based candidates is elected President by winning a primary election in which they are forced by their own base to deny reality? The deniers will become emboldened, and think all the nonsense they have engaged over the last four years was effective. That's like giving a toddler a cookie for throwing a tantrum.

3) Is the reality-basis for American narrative really determined by individual campaigns? Think about how effective reality-deniers and historical-revisionists have been already in terms of policy: our nation is currently discussing the dismantling of Medicare, permanent occupation of Iraq and Afganistan, engaging in another war with Iran, resegregating schools based on parental ability, rolling back the medical decisions of women, paying oil companies to raise the prices of gasoline and poison our food and water, and gutting the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - and these are all the parts of the right's platform currently considered "reality-based." Where, exactly, do we go from there in terms of policy? They don't need a candidate to say they support those things, their party branding and primary success makes it nearly implicit that they do.

And the crazy thing is - and the thing most "liberals" and "progressives" and "Democrats" never seem to realize - the GOP is winning all of those arguments with the voters because they aren't really worried about candidates, they're worried about marketing a specific narrative until enough people buy into it.

And the power of getting people to buy into a narrative beats reality every single time.

(HT: Andrew Sullivan.)

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