Saturday, November 10, 2012

Romney: Crushed by Science

It is a delicious irony that Romney and his campaign were, by all reports, truly shocked by their decisive, broad-based defeat by Obama.

If they were looking at those who average the polls, like Nate Silver and others, they shouldn't have been shocked at all. But they were ridiculing and insulting these, and insisting that they were completely confident that Democrats couldn't turn out the people which they claimed they could do.

They also ridiculed the Obama get-out-the-vote effort, in which I was an active soldier, as futile. This was in spite of the fact that research had shown the personal contact, such as takes place in door-to-door efforts, is by far the most effective.

In short, they "knew" that the results of research could be ignored in favor of their myths. This was a piece with the whole Republicon Party, and shows they are deeply flawed, not only in their policies, but also epistemologically: they don't believe in science, in learning from solid information and data. They can ignore reality—NOT, as Dana Carvey used say.

It is thus entirely just that they were ultimately defeated partly by their firm belief in their own counter-factual mythology.

Here are two great summaries of the Republicans being out of touch with reality. The first is by Rachel Maddow, from her show:

"Ohio really did go to President Obama last night. And he really did win. And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States. Again.

"And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And the polls were not skewed to oversample Democrats. And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math.

"And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes. And evolution is a thing. And Benghazi was an attack on us, it was not a scandal by us. And nobody’s taking away anyone’s guns. And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually. And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. And the moon landing was real. And FEMA is not building concentration camps. And UN election observers are not taking over Texas. And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as Communism."

And Here Krugman hits the right's pertinacious ignoring of contrary information in its economic analysis:

"A lot of 1-percent Romney supporters believed that only the unwashed masses could actually believe that Obama was making more sense on economic policy. What’s so strange about this is that everything — everything — that has happened for the past decade has demonstrated the opposite. Modern Republicans are devotees of faith-based analysis on every front.

"On economics, in particular, they are devoted to supply-side fantasies that keep being refuted by evidence — and their reaction is to try to suppress the evidence. They’ve spent pretty much the whole past four years issuing dire warnings about inflation and soaring interest rates that keep not coming true; they cling to the belief that if only a Republican were in office we’d have a 1982-style recovery even though economists who actually studied past financial crises predicted the slow recovery in advance.

"The truth is that the modern GOP is deeply anti-intellectual, and has as its fundamental goal not just a rollback of the welfare state but a rollback of the Enlightenment."

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