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Monday, November 12, 2012

The best ‘conservative media bubble’ story I’ve read so far

Washington Post - 'GOP's Red America forced to rethink what it knows about the country'

Washington Post:

he arrived early to take apart the campaign office piece by piece, just as she felt so many other things about her life were being dismantled. Beth Cox wore a Mitt Romney T-shirt, a cross around her neck and fresh eyeliner, even though she had been crying on and off and knew her makeup was likely to run. A day after the election, she tuned the radio to Glenn Beck and began pulling posters and American flags off the wall.

Her calendar read “Victory Day!!” and she had planned to celebrate in the office by hosting a dance party and selling Romney souvenirs. But instead she was packing those souvenirs into boxes, which would be donated to a charity that sent clothes to South America. Instead a moving company was en route to close down the office in the next 48 hours, and her friends were calling every few minutes to see how she was doing.

“I will be okay,” she told one caller. “I just don’t think we will be okay.”

While I’m extremely happy her candidate lost, it’s not hard to feel sorry for Beth Cox and people like her. And it’s painful to watch her run right back to the comforting arms of a rightwing media that served her so poorly — “A day after the election, she tuned the radio to Glenn Beck…” It was because she listens to Glenn Beck and (you have to assume) Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc. that she had absolutely no idea that her campaign was in a tailspin. Nate Silver was some sort of nerdy crack pot in her world, while Dean Chambers and his “unskewed” polls were shining beacons of truth.

Who knows how many more people Romney might’ve gotten to volunteer — to knock on doors, to make phone calls, to stuff envelopes and do data entry — if rightwing media (and the Romney campaign itself) had been more honest about their candidate’s chances? Urgency was called for, yet Romney and Fox and rightwing radio were pushing complacency. The election was in the bag. Stay home.

“What [article author Eli] Saslow seems interested in is the highly insulated conservative ‘bubble’ in which Cox lives, where it’s obvious Obama has been an abject failure, that the country is quite literally going to hell in a hand-basket if such misgovernment continues, and not much of anyone thinks otherwise,” writes Ed Kilgore. “I gather this is an especially common phenomenon among southern white folks who have little or no interaction with minorities. It’s not just Fox News or talk radio: it’s an environment in which quite literally no one has anything positive to say about Barack Obama (my mother, an Obama voter who lives in an Atlanta suburb, tells me that friends, family members, and even total strangers assume she shares their antipathy to the president because her skin is white). You could argue there’s ultimately no difference between this sort of white identity politics and old-fashioned racism, though I am sure people like Beth Cox would be horrified at the idea (according to Saslow she thinks the GOP is ‘way too white’).”

All these people were slapping each other on the back, when they should’ve been handing out life jackets. As they were heading toward disaster, they were being told that was victory on the horizon, not an iceberg. You wonder if they’ll learn anything from the experience and, if Beth Cox is in any way typical, the answer to that question is “probably not.”

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