Thursday, November 8, 2012

Missing the Point; or, Yes, But Can You Secede from Reality?

I am not a conservative or a Republican, and unless things change radically, I never will be. And I don't know many Republicans/conservatives that I talk to about political issues. But I do occasionally hang out on conservative websites and forums to see what people are saying; this doesn't give me any special insight into the conservative mind--for one thing, the people who go to those sites are a self-selected group, tending towards some extreme views.

In other words (and shorter), I'm just guessing here and don't have a nifty model like Nate Silver.

That said, what I'm reading is not making me hopeful that Republicans will wake up to reality after the drubbing of the 2012 election. The talk might occasionally nod towards soul-searching like an acquaintance--"well, maybe we should rethink our position on social issues since they're not winning issues for us."

But most of the talk excels at the sort of angry, reality-resistant positions that the right has perfected recently: Romney was a bad candidate (and even worse, a mushy non-conservative); the media was in the tank for Obama (sub-argument: there wasn't enough attention paid to Benghazi, Fast & Furious, etc.); things will never be the same with these new, non-traditional Americans (you know the ones we mean *makes racist comment*, not that we're racist); the takers just vote themselves more bread and circuses; etc.

In other words, everything is wrong with the world except our ideas, which are great.

And this isn't just from the no-name commenters; if you go to National Review's blog, The Corner, you'll see quite a few arguments like this, including:
1) the old GOP leaders don't work, we need new leaders (with, we assume, the same ideas);
2) Chris Christie betrayed us;
3) we can't change our ideas because they're our ideas!;
4) we need to educate the public about the meaning of liberty (sub-argument: destroy the existing colleges and schools); etc.

What really gets me about this (and why I'm taking precious NaNoWriMo time to write this post) is that these Republicans keep talking about how great their ideas are, without any hint that maybe possibly kind of we tried a lot of these ideas over the years and they're not. Low taxes on the rich create jobs? The Republicans are the party of small government? We need to do things unilaterally to show the world we mean business? Capitalism solves everything? Gay sex and abortion are terrible things that degrade the morals of society?

I hope I'm wrong about all this; I hope all this "a storm is coming, I'm getting guns" talk is just the immediate sting of the 2012 beating; but while hopeful, I'm not optimistic that this will teach the GOP very much. Maybe a few more election loses will knock some sense of reality into them.

So, who's ready for 2014?

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