Triumphal cognitive dissonance slammed right into the hard wall of hubris that night live on national teevee.
I saw it happen. I stopped in a neighborhood diner on my way home from teaching evening classes late that night. The owner had the teevee on Fox News covering the election returns. When Fox News called Ohio for Obama, Rove wasn't the only one who couldn't believe it. The diner owner was visibly upset and thought the news was incredible.
I have to admit that I was very worried about the Election. I was hoping it wouldn't be a disaster. I returned home at 11PM to find that it was all over, and that my side won the lottery.
Far be it from me, a proud liberal/progressive with ties to progressive politics that go back to my own 18th century ancestors who were Quakers or Abolitionist Baptists (along with later Texas Union Sympathizers, German Social Democrats, and a grandfather who tried to organize Western Union telegraph workers), to offer right-wingers advice, but shouldn't you folks be asking how well served are you and your cause by this kind of "news?" Did insulating yourselves from contrary points of view and inconvenient facts really serve you at all?
No, there really isn't a parallel universe on the other side. There are liberals like Robert Frank, Kevin Phillips, Frank Rich, and many others who've built careers trying to read the right wing id, trying to understand how one mind could hold contradictory ideas as if they agreed seamlessly; how some people could put Atlas Shrugged and the Bible on the same shelf and not see a problem. Lots of liberals from Digby to Media Matters slog through right wing commentary trying to understand what makes the right tick. I'm confident that there is no corresponding effort to understand the left by the right. What few right wing books there are about the left are books like Anne Coulter's which mock and belittle the left, and couldn't care less about understanding it.
As for the right's relationship with unpleasant facts, what can I say? Peggy Noonan and George Will were wrong, wronger, and deluded in their election predictions while the much derided Nate Silver was spot on. Noonan and Wills relied on their "gut instincts" while Silver relied on arithmetic. What happened to that famous conservative "realism" that I heard so much about from 20 years ago?
As Digby points out, right wingers have another problem; they can be such assholes. Especially since 2010 and the advent of Teabaggers, right-wingers aggressively diss not only people who don't agree with them, but also those who don't look like them and don't share their culture. The xenophobia, misogyny, and racism are barely concealed, while the homophobia is on parade. Did the right really imagine that those whole populations that they dissed would stay home on Election Day? It turns out that they came out in droves to vote against them, and so did their friends.
Dan Savage didn't get gays and lesbians along with their friends and families out to the polls to vote for Obama, this did:
And the gender gap, the right wing problem with women; the 'feminazis' didn't get them all out to vote for Obama. The right can thank this guy who got not only young women to come out in droves to vote against right wing candidates, but also their mothers, aunts, grandmas, husbands, brothers, boyfriends, and guys who just cared about basic human dignity:
And does the right really imagine that only white people can hear those racist dog whistles?
How can right wingers say they so super-love AMERICA when they hate their fellow Americans so bitterly? The United States is not an abstraction or a revered old piece of paper. It is the people who make it up, whose consent to live by its laws gives the Constitution its power and authority. It is all kinds of different people who share a common history together, who are each and every one personally invested in this country's continuing success.
And then there is the future. Which of these crowds has a future?
Aging white folk are just fine. I plan to be among them soon. They are living repositories of historical memory and experience. But those things mean nothing for the future without young people who are the future. If you are my age or older, think about that next time you complain about the kids. And take a good hard look back at your own youth. The way I hear some people my age talk, it sounds like we spent our youths listening to Mozart and joining the Peace Corps. In reality, we spent our youths listening to Led Zepplin and getting high off the stuff under the kitchen sink.
No, this is not a predominantly white country anymore, but so what? The ability to incorporate other peoples fully is a great strength of our country (as well as a great strength of the Americas in general). We are in a much better position to face a new more cosmopolitan and interdependent world than the nation-states of Europe and the Middle East, or the very homogenous societies of East Asia. Soon, many of our neighbors, and eventually members of our families, will look different from us and be from cultures that are not so familiar. But they will become familiar, and we will become familiar to them. One person's exotic meal is someone else's home cooking.
Take it from one of your lefty antagonists, you folks on the right don't need this kind of tribalism. And if you do, then you need to ask yourselves if those conservative beliefs that you so cherish can survive the demographic and cultural change that is already upon us.
And even after Obama became the first Democratic President since FDR to win both the Electoral College Vote and the popular vote twice without a third party spoiler, the right still doesn't get it:
It’s not a traditional America anymore. And there are 50 percent of the voting public who want STUFF. They want THINGS. And who is going to give them things? President Obama. He knows it and he ran on it. Whereby 20 years ago, President Obama would have been roundly defeated by an establishment candidate like Mitt Romney. The voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them, and they want STUFF. People feel that they are entitled to things, and which candidate between the two is going to give them things.- Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly.
That means a lot coming from all those rugged individualists on Medicare and Social Security, and those über-patriots putting their money into over-seas tax shelters even in a time of war and crisis, and especially from all those financial industry roulette players bailed out with trillions of dollars in tax money with no strings attached.
And since the election, there's still more:
Meghan McCain, a loyal young Republican, who agrees with me, that it's time to jettison the far right culture war stuff and move beyond the Southern White Male demographic.