How would you plan it exactly, asks TPM Reader D?
The readers arguing against shell shock are saying that this line is being purveyed on behalf of the interests of the Republican Party. I don’t find that persuasive. That would be a plausible argument if it originated from the RNC. But a losing Presidential campaign? Do they really care that much about the party? I just don’t see that as a sufficient motivation to generate a disciplined PR line.
And ask yourself — what would it take to produce a uniform political line among a band that had just lost. I mean, how would the word come down? Did they actually have a conversation about it? Did Romney himself, or perhaps his campaign manager actually put out an edict that said,”Hey, we all know we were really playing a losing hand, but now we’ve got to pull together one more time. We’ve all got to get on the same page and say we really believed our skewed polling and now we’re shellshocked.”?
I’m being a bit facetious here, but seriously, how would you do it?
And if that was the purpose why couldn’t they have said that they saw a path to victory but of course you can never be sure, and we were wrong. Doesn’t that get them off the hook as liars?
Also, the idea that the move into Pennsylvania was an act of desperation only makes sense for people who have the same sense of reality you do. That’s how you interpreted it at the time. It was premised on an unspoken but underlying assumption that the Romney campaign saw reality the same way you did. But if they in fact had a different sense of reality, another interpretation would be justified.
And look at the 47 percent remarks. Did Romney actually believe something that patently idiotic as a political strategy, or was he just pretending to have an idiotic sense of strategy?
People believe their own bullshit. Happens all the time. I mean how about the French at Dienbienphu? Did they really believe the Vietnamese couldn’t rain down artillery on their lowland positions, or were they just pretending to be stupid?
It’s not that politicians never resort to the Stupidity Defense. But they usually do it when the only alternative is to admit to serious wrongdoing. Pretending to be delusional so you can save future candidates from feeling the wrath provoked by your own bullshit? Talk about an explanation that doesn’t pass the smell test.
There’s an old rule of political research: never ascribe to conspiracy what can be more easily explained by stupidity. Was the Romney campaign brilliant masterminds of a coordinated PR strategy to make themselves look stupid? Or we’re they just stupid?
Occam’s razor says the latter.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.