Reality and Its Detractors

There possibly is no clearer measure of the difference between the U.S. Right and Left than the way we react to bad news. Righties immediately scream that the whatever-they-don’t-like is a lie, because it doesn’t fit what they think reality is supposed to be. And they blame somebody else, usually news media, or Democrats, or anybody but them. The whatever-it-is is never their fault.

Lefties accept the reality, sometimes perceiving the reality as even worse than it is. Then we blame ourselves (or at least each other), and form circular firing squads.

(It really does resemble the dynamics of domestic abuse situations, in which the abuser is perpetually flying into rages because the world isn’t the way he (or she) wants it to be. And then he (or she) concocts some reason to blame the significant other, or the kids, and takes the rage out on them. The abusee, all too often, blames her/himself and accepts the abuse.)

This week a Gallup daily tracking poll showed a significant lead for Mitt Romney. Nate Silver calmly and rationally explains why there is reason to think the Gallup poll is wrong. In a nutshell, the Gallup daily tracking poll has a history of swinging wildly in ways that don’t show up in other polls, and whenever that happens Gallup usually is wrong. See Nate for the wonky details; Business Insider provides a simplified version of what Nate wrote for those of us who don’t speak wonk.

Predictable headlines from rightie blogs:

“Nate Silver Blows Gasket as Gallup Shows Romney Pulling Away in the Presidential Horse Race” (American Power)

“Nate Silver Asks: Whose Shark Is This, and Why Do I Feel a Need to Jump It?” (The Other McCain)

“Romney Surges In Polls, Nate Silver Hardest Hit” (The Lonely Conservative).

That last headline is especially off, because the other polls, as in plural, are mostly showing Obama making a small gain over Romney (see also Sam Wang’s latest figures). It’s just the Gallup poll that shows a “surge.” Oh, and a Pew poll taken before the Tuesday debate shows Romney looking better on foreign policy. But that’s about it.

Speaking of foreign policy, Mittens hasn’t been talking about Libya lately. I wonder why?

26 thoughts on “Reality and Its Detractors

  1. I sense fear, but not from Nate Silver. He never panics. After all, we know what really scares Righties. Hmm, perhaps I will dress up as a mathematical equation for Halloween, and terrify my Republican coworkers.

  2. I suspect that Mr. Romney isn’t talking about Libya until he hears from his handlers how he will deal with this subject. Everything he does is carefully choreographed. I’m sure that this isn’t the end of it, though, and, as we saw and heard, the President will not be allowed to go into any detail or explanation because he will be interrupted by Mr. Romney.
    I wasn’t the only person to note the disrespect offered the President by his challenger. The Republicans can dish it out, but are crying to Momma when the behavior reverses itself.

  3. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I wish polling results were only released to the politicians and their campaigns.

    This way, reporters, if there are any left, can do something besides compare the polling results – like talk about what the candidates and campaigns stand for.

    Instead, it’s all about the horse race.

    If the above is too much to ask, how about polling companies releasing results only once a week – say Fridays?
    That might help boost weekend newspaper sales, something they desperately need, and TV news show ratings.

    Less poll analysis, and more economic/foreign policy/political analysis, MSM!!!

    Now, besides regular lobbying groups, polling is now an entrenched part of what Stephen Colbert called the “Political Industrial Complex” – somthing the the new PAC’s and Super PAC’s are hoping to also become a permanent part of. FSM help us all…

  4. Well there’s a big difference in motivation. An earnest, credible statistician sees his job as a left brain activity — the answer’s in the numbers not elsewhere. While somewhere deep inside some inner sanctum within the GOP there is such a person, highly paid and in no way allowed to make public statements, their highest calling is not truth-seeking but power. That often puts them at odds with reality. They know something I’ve long complained about Obama not embracing which is that affectation can be infectious. Looking whipped takes the wind out of those who support you, plain and simple.

    However, the GOP now seem so delusional that their denial stands to alienate rational Republicans. There’s always that.

    I read this morning that the circular firing squad may be hasty, the same pattern of polls showing an even greater 9 point shit towards McCain ended up a 5 point advantage by Obama on election day.

  5. I’m sure in their little hive minds and massive echo chambers, they think Nate Silver is the Liberal version of Dick Morris.

    My apologies to the great Mr. Silver for including him in the same paragraph with Dick Morris, let alone the same sentence!

  6. My take on Nate Silver is that he is a pure wonk; he’s in love with the numbers, with the process, more than the result. He’d probably cook and eat a puppy before he’d be unfaithful to the process. Fake wonks, like Paul Ryan, arrive at the result first and then concoct evidence to support the result. They have no respect for process.

  7. Lynne: I think Romney is keeping his powder dry for Monday’s debate. He wants to have the jump on Obama with some gotcha arguments that Obama didn’t prepare for.

  8. He wants to have the jump on Obama with some gotcha arguments that Obama didn’t prepare for.

    Ah, fresh fictions, you mean… which are impossible to prepare for. Unfortunately for Mittens, they’re also easy to fact-check. And then he’s “got.”

  9. I checked out Ezra Klein’s Gallup piece as Dolorous Stroke suggested, very interesting stuff. But wow, the comments section… it was like spying on an orgy between my inbred, right-wing cousins and some barnyard animals. I need eyewash now.

  10. (Sorry to be a comments hog… this is what happens when I can only Websurf on my lunch hour.)

    Obama campaigning today at George Mason University:

    We have got to name this condition [Mitt] is going through. I think it is called Romnesia. I think that’s what it is called. Now I’m not a medical doctor. But I do want to go over some of the symptoms with you because I want to make sure nobody else catches it.
    If you say you’re for equal pay for equal work but you keep refusing to say whether or not you will sign a bill that protects equal pay for equal work, you might have Romnesia.

    If you say women should have access to contraceptive care, but you support legislation that would let employers deny contraceptive care, you might have a case of Romnesia.

    If you say you will protect a women’s right to choose but you stand up in a primary debate and say you’d be delighted to sign a law outlawing that right to choose in all cases, then you have definitely got Romnesia.


  11. It really does resemble the dynamics of domestic abuse situations

    I’ve long thought this. There’s the rage principle you mention, and also the fact that the Righties *cannot* be satisfied. The press is always too liberal, the Democrats always too recalcitrant, and so on – no matter how much the press or Democrats or whoever kowtow and quiver and submit.

  12. Pingback: Reality: The Ultimate Litmus Test « Lean Left

  13. “I’m sure in their little hive minds and massive echo chambers, they think Nate Silver is the Liberal version of Dick Morris.”

    I’ve long said it too and it’s nice hearing it again, and again sort of like Church. They have to see it this way because “they can’t be wrong.”

    I too am a math and science type and though ego does quite often seep into where it has even less place I’ve come to form some real bonds based on the innocence and earnestness of some I’ve met pursuing solutions to perplexing problems. There’s a purity there that makes no excuses and holds no grudges.

    It tends to make these types, of which I’m convinced Silver is one, unflappable since their not vested in the outcome, letting the cards fall where they may. Unlike teeth-gritted pugilistic combatants or syncophants they keep eyes on the ball which makes them sometimes admired but easily smeared — they don’t enter the fray because they think the facts speak for themselves.

    They work best in conjunction with a few salespersons, bruiser types and possibly bodyguards. LOL!

  14. Pingback: The Mahablog » Power Tool Shorts Out

  15. I’ve always found that the (generality alert) main difference between Ds and Rs was that Rs think one size fits all (as long as it is their size), whereas Ds understand that the best happens when we are all allowed to use our own strengths.

  16. The right is latching onto this particular poll, and will do the same with any poll that shows Romney ahead, as a groundwork for the inevitable legal battles they plan to launch in order to steal Ohio for Romney after the actual votes give it to Obama.

  17. Xecky Gilchrist …The dynamics are exactly the same as in domestic abuse.

    It like the story where a women asks her husband what he would like for breakfast. He says, I’ll have two eggs, one scrambled and one fried. She cooks his eggs and then serves them to him. He looks at the eggs and says…You scrambled the wrong one.

Comments are closed.