Republicans’ delusory confidence that Obama would lose

William Kristol writes at The Weekly Standard:

Is the Grand Old Party in as much disarray as it seems? Yup. For one thing, Republicans are electorally shellshocked. For the past couple of years, they had been confident Barack Obama would lose in November. Many Republicans held that belief going into Election Day. This was the first time since 1948 that Republicans were confident they were going to win a presidential election—and then lost it. The Republican psyche will take a while to recover from the shock of November 6.

I would say to Mr. Kristol that if Republicans had been reading VFR for the last two years they would not have been confident that Obama would lose and would not have been shellshocked by his victory. For two years I repeatedly mocked Republicans’ triumphalism about the continuous but somehow never completed “precipitous” fall in Obama’s popularity and about his coming defeat. I pointed out that Obama had a lot going for him, that he was not a beaten looking incumbent like Hoover or Carter or Bush the elder, but a tough competitor who was set on winning. I said that Obama because of his race was still a messianic and historical figure in the world’s eyes and that it was very unlikely that such a figure would be a one-term president. I indicated the continuing leftward movement in our politics and culture, the victory of the left on one issue after another, and said that an Obama defeat would be inconsistent with that clearly established direction. I said that Romney with his empty candidacy and his weak kindly smile looked like a classic loser, not a winner. I ridiculed the conservative writers who, in the face of very close polls two days before the election, declared as a fact that Obama would lose.

One writer, who is unconnected with any establishment, who is not a political expert, and whose only political skill is looking at reality with his own eyes, had a better insight into the election than the entire vast superfunded Republican/conservative establishment and its armies of experts.

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Daniel F. writes:

The Weekly Standard is a treasure trove of evidence of the Republican establishment’s misplaced self-confidence. In the Nov 19 issue, there is an article by the perennially optimistic Bush-mouthpiece, Fred Barnes, entitled “A Setback, Not a Catastrophe: The Democrats’ success was Obamacentric.” He concludes:

Could any other Democrat have held the White House under such poor conditions? I doubt it.

For Democrats, Obama is the man. When he leaves, they’ll no doubt yearn for the “new Obama,” just as Republicans are constantly on the outlook for a “new Reagan.” Neither exists. That means four years from now Republicans won’t have Obama (or a clone of him) to kick around any more. That’s more than a strength. It’s a relief.

The same issue has another piece that unintentionally illustrates the emptiness and loser-ism of the Republican establishment and most Republican voters. Entitled “There’s Still Football” by Geoffrey Norman. It begins:

Whatever the reason for holding elections in November, it works out as a merciful thing. If your party loses, you’ve still got football to remind you of what’s truly important in life. There is nothing like college football—not even politics—for passionate, irrational affections and loyalties. A Texas Republican, for instance, would rather vote Democratic than switch over to Oklahoma.

Needless to say, one cannot imagine such a silly statement appearing in The Nation, The New Republic, or any other leftwing political magazine.

LA replies:

I’ve been planning for weeks to write about that quintessentially idiotic Barnes article (as well as several other extremely revealing post-election items in The Weekly Standard) and hadn’t gotten around to it. Thanks for bringing it up and also the Geoffrey Norman remark about football and giving us a taste of how far gone the neocons are in their effort to downplay their defeat. In the previous TSW issue, Barnes himself, like Norman, said that politics is a “game,” so it really doesn’t matter who won the election.

Daniel F. replies:

Yeah, the brain-dead, smiley-face optimism and rah-rah-America boosterism of The Weekly Standard is so over the top that it becomes morbidly funny. It almost cheers me up. Almost.

LA replies:

My feelings precisely.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 09, 2012 10:28 AM | Send

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