On Real Time with Bill Maher a segment has been created dubbed Dispatches from the Bubble as a way of revealing and duly ridiculing the inanities held to be verities by a preponderance of the nation’s right, and its principal political vehicle the Republican Party. Variously referred to as “the Bubble,” “the right-wing echo chamber” and by me more often than not as an alternate or conjured reality it is the phenomenon of a sizable portion of the electorate willfully hermetically sealing itself inside a media-informational loop, and therefore an impenetrable set of assumptions and accepted truths forever reinforced. In which case, both hilarity and national mayhem ensue, often inextricably.
It long has been an accepted verity within The Bubble that Barack Obama is manifestly a failure both as a president and a human being, that his presidency is on its face a disaster and a radical departure from American precedent and American values, that his ignominy and disrepute are widely accepted and indisputable. This is a set of beliefs currently running headfirst into an unforgiving brick wall, what is for Republicans harsh reality, for the rest simply reality. Reality bangs against the Republican Brotherhood in the form of a crushing inundation of extremely dismal polling for Romney, which reflects dislike bordering on revulsion for the Romney-Ryan ticket by ordinary Americans; and also in the form of witness to professional Republican political operatives fleeing the political doom of Mitt Romney the way panicked Earthlings fled the tripods in War of the Worlds.
It was bound to happen, this piercing of the alternate reality bubble, especially after a Republican primary season during which the prominently bandied truisms were: that Obama created the debt, the wealthy are under siege, taxes are high rather than at historical lows, evolution is fake, and creationism science, global warming is a hoax but supply-side economics real. Under the rolling Big Top that was the Republican primary, a process safely ensconced in bubble wrap Obama was born in Kenya, is Marxism incarnate and evil personified, the words of the likes of Cain and Perry and Bachmann were received with credulity, and crazy was as common as dust mites, a place where allowing the uninsured to die is a venerable solution and in fact approximately 47% of Americans are worthless pieces of shit.
This is opposed to the reality in which the rest live, where President Obama is liked as well as admired, and respected for his cool and competence; where General Motors is still alive and Osama bin Laden is dead to borrow a phrase; where the economic and political challenges have been complex and Obama has been pragmatic, while Republicans only obdurate. Not only do Republicans have only themselves to blame for their present rude awakening, but so does Romney, who allowed himself to be convinced the truisms inside the bubble reflected truisms in the world at large, that Obama is an obvious and abysmal failure as well as an easy patsy, that any putz, even Romney could merely make himself available in the general election and be preferred.
Unsurprisingly this crushing introduction to the real world has caused some on the right to decry the infamy and conspiracy and obvious errors of polling, a reaction that is par for the meshugana course in The Republican Bubble. Such disbelief reflects another persistent canard among the right, one of the political world’s abiding myths pushed relentlessly by conservatives and accepted by even the occasional blue dog Democrat, which is that America is a nation of the center-right, though there is nothing to base this assertion upon other than Republicans saying so, which in the chamber of echoes is all it takes. Whatever affection Americans may demonstrate at times for conservative abstractions in the day-to-day of policies and programs Americans are demonstrably center-left if anything.
No doubt were the country actually center-right, Romney’s serving up of hard shell rightist orthodoxy and ideological purity would be selling like the proverbial hotcakes, rather than regarded as skeptically as meat and milk past their expiration date. Indeed, if this really were a nation of the center-right, or even if Republicans were convinced themselves deep-down it is, Republican candidates for federal office would be amplifying their “makers and takers”, “producers and moochers” message at the top of their mighty lungs, rather than fumbling and mumbling tepid excuses. They would be hard pedaling their voucher plan for the dismantling of Medicare and hyping the privatization of Social Security, which is pined for on the right as wistfully as for the Rapture.
Hell, if Republicans were actually confident America indeed is a center-right nation, rather than launching a purging jihad and a project of neo-Jim Crow they would actually welcome every American into the voting booth.