The election of Barack Obama has lead to meltdown by neocon pundits far and wide. Some, like Karl Rove, are offering self-serving convoluted explanations as to why Romney lost. Others, like Bill O’Reilly are citing some fantasy of a new “non-white” majority as the reason. Some, like Mary Matalin, are exploding in anger and bitterness. And a few, like Paul Ryan, are simply shell-shocked, so deep was their commitment to delusion. Their “future-world”, as they perceive it, has unaccountably crumbled. Destroyed by a biracial community organizer.
None of them, however, seem to be grasping some of the real reasons Mr. Obama won reelection and the Democrats made gains in both houses. The neocon philosophy itself is the problem. When one carefully examines this worldview it is amazing that anyone voted for them at all, much less the fact that they were able to attract millions of votes.
This is the first in a series of short papers examining the neoconservatives, what they believe and the problems with their philosophy. I will start with the concept of “self-delusion”.
To fool others, at least temporarily, is easy. Magicians do it. Card tricks. Disappearing statues. Bent spoons. Politicians do it. Part of the job description. David Copperfield and David Blaine are masters. They are honest illusionists. Others, like Yuri Geller, are clever frauds. The end result is the same. They make one believe that something exists , when in reality, it does not exist.
The great illusion or delusion of the 2012 election was that Romney was ahead in the polls. Well ahead and was coasting to a massive 300 plus electoral majority. And an overwhelming popular vote. This neocon belief was not based on an objective look at the polls or any other evidence. In fact, most polls pointed in the opposite direction. It was a delusion based on desire.
Perhaps it stems from the “whomever wants it the most” nonsense that is spouted by sports commentators. Somehow wanting something badly enough will magically make it happen. Or perhaps it is based on the very narrow circle of neocon “punditry”, reassuring and reinforcing each other’s gut feelings. Deny the “lamestream” media. Refuse to accept the idea that the emperor has no clothes. Deny reality.
Whatever the cause, the noecons denied and nurtured this delusion. Our guy will win. Done deal. America is saved. It is reminiscent of the preacher who predicts the end of the world. When the world doesn’t end and the delusion is shattered, the preacher finds an excuse. And carries on with the same delusion. Maybe next year.
This self-delusion (for no one outside the neocon punditry predicted a Romney victory) is one of the building blocks of the neocon movement. It has been from day one. From the first days of the Reagan presidency reality has been ignored or denied and “visions” and slogans have been sanctified. This self-delusion demands ignorance. and denial. It refuses to recognize math and science. So polls cannot be trusted. Facts are treated as opinion. Reality is created from whole cloth. Evidence is seen as an enemy. The search for evidence and facts in and of itself becomes evil.
This attitude underpins not only the faulty predictions of the 2012 election. This self-created alternate reality based on hopes, wishes and predominantly, fears, is a cornerstone of the neocon philosophy. Hope is fine. Wishes are nice. These can be great motivators for real change in a real world. But as the only basis for a worldview they fail miserably.
Which is why the neocon movement is gasping and sputtering today. In denial. Spewing vitriol. Shooting the messenger. A cornerstone has been shattered. Is in shambles. Reality does exist, after all. The grand delusion was just that. A delusion. Shattered forever? Not likely. Just like the doomsday preacher the neocon punditry will simply continue to reconstruct a new reality.