Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

ShellShock, A Primer

Svbjy78bh2tfx0azrbtu
Newscom

1. It's irrelevant what the majority of Republicans nationwide or even many Republicans believed about the probable outcome of the election. Interesting in itself. But not relevant to the true meaning of Shellshock. Shellshock is about what people at the highest echelons of the Romney campaign, including Romney, Paul Ryan and pollster Neil Newhouse believed about the probable outcome on election day.

2. Shellshock requires genuine shock on the part of Romney principals. In other words, mere hope of victory, belief that victory was still possible is insufficient. True shellshock requires that Romney principals believed victory was at least the probable outcome of the election and even the overwhelming probability. Mere hope of victory or even belief that victory was a reasonable probability counts as the 'Limited, Modified Shellshock' theory. But not true Shellshock.

3. Expanded Shellshock. This is consistent with Shellshock on the part of Romney principals but posits that Shellshock was experienced by top pollsters and political operatives across the GOP political establishment. For more on the Expanded Shellshock theory, see this piece by Alexander Burns in yesterday's Politico.

4. Unskewing. Not relevant to the Shellshock meme itself but an interesting secondary debate. Did the Romney campaign pick up unskewing from right wing blogs or did the Unskewed Poll Movement originate within the Romney campaign?